Roofing in cold weather doesn’t seem to be such a good idea, at least for some homeowners. Even with the immediate need to repair or replace the roof, many still ask their roofers if it can wait until the spring or summer. After all, it makes more sense to get this project started when the weather is generally pleasant. As it turns out, asphalt shingles can still be installed successfully in cold weather as long as roofers follow safety measures and apply changes to the usual roofing practices.
At Northeast Gutters and Remodeling, we take pride in being a GAF-certified residential roofing company. As such, we make sure to adhere to the manufacturer’s specifications when it comes to roof installations and repairs. Below are some of the various precautions we take when we repair or replace GAF roofing systems in cold weather.
Ideal Temperatures for Shingle Handling
Remember that there are no specific instructions on when or where asphalt shingles should be installed. As long as the GAF-certified installer takes the appropriate precautions, roof repairs or replacements can be done during periods of extreme temperature. For easiest handling, however, roofers must follow the recommended temperatures of above 40 degrees in cold weather installations and below 90 degrees in hot weather roofing projects.
Potential Issues During Installation
However, there are issues that GAF-certified roofers have to be wary of when they handle asphalt shingles before or during installation. In very cold weather, for instance, the shingles may become brittle, which means they’re more likely to be overdriven by nails when using regular pressure in the roofing system. If compressed to a certain degree, they could potentially crack or break. They also lose their flexibility and resistance, making them difficult to install. Some shingles may also suffer from what is known as a “cold curl” in which the edges curl up due to their exposure to frigid temperatures.
What GAF Roofers Do to Ensure Easier Installation
Fortunately, as certified roofing contractors, they see to it that they follow GAF’s suggestions to ensure a smooth installation and prevent issues that may arise during cold weather. Here are some of them:
- Emphasize Proper Storage
Proper shingle storage is essential for a quality roof. Otherwise, the product won’t look aesthetically pleasing after installation. It also runs the risk of being replaced sooner than would be expected. While there is no shelf life on shingle products, GAF roofers are advised to store them in a heated area above 70 degrees for at least 24 hours before use. This will make them more pliable and easier to install. When there’s precipitation like rain or snow involved, the shingles must be covered by a protective covering like a tarpaulin. Ventilation is key to allow air to circulate into the product.
- Avoid the Racking Method
Racking is a roof installation method in which shingles are installed straight up on the roof rather than being installed using the traditional stair-step method. It requires the lifting or bending of the shingle to place the last nail. GAF doesn’t recommend this technique, especially if the shingles to be installed are laminate or designer types. If done during cold weather, some of the shingles may crack or break along the bend either immediately or at some point after the installation.
- Hand-Seal the Shingles
Asphalt shingles are equipped with a self-sealant strip, which is a line of glue that activates with the sun and tabs the shingles together. It activates at different temperatures as specified by the manufacturer. However, it may specify that in case the shingles aren’t tabbing properly due to temperature, the shingles may be hand-sealed. According to GAF, this method is recommended when installing on roof pitches that are greater than 21:12, in high-wind areas and during cold weather. With this procedure, the installer applies roofing cement underneath every shingle with a caulking gun before pressing it into the cement. Hand-sealing of shingles may be required if the temperature is too cold to activate the Dura Grip™ Adhesive strip underneath and ensure their durability.
Roofing work under cold weather conditions comes with risks. Snow, or any precipitation for that matter, renders the roof slope slippery. This increases the potential hazard for accidental injuries and impedes the crew’s progress and comfort. The cold outdoors is also something these roofers have to consider. Roofing is already a physically demanding trade in and of itself, and working outside below freezing temperatures – on top of the residential property, no less – can be uncomfortable.
Also, there’s the matter of using different tools and equipment that may be affected by frigid temperatures. A compressor, which is often used with the nail gun, may have frozen water inside the airlines. This happens when humidity turns into liquid water while compressing and releasing air from the equipment. The lack of compression due to the ice formation inside the airlines prevents the compressor from doing its job, leading to overdriven or under-driven nails. Keep in mind that nails should be installed flush with the shingle. It requires extra attention from the contractor and additional effort from the crew in checking for humidity and ice in the roofing equipment they use.
The urgency of the roof situation can sometimes outweigh these risks. In most cases, however, it would be more sensible to wait until the temperature is above freezing. Nevertheless, GAF-certified roofers are equipped with the knowledge and training to perform roofing work in cold weather conditions. They go to work wearing personal protective equipment for their safety while on the jobsite. The contractor sees to it that the crew is comfortable enough to install shingles under such circumstances and that they follow the precautions or apply countermeasures to ensure the roofing project’s specific goals are met.
Northeast Gutters and Remodeling provides a complete range of services for all your residential and commercial roofing needs, including new roof installation, roof replacement and snow and ice removal. We can also perform a gutter installation to complete your new roofing system. No matter the time of year, our team of professional roofers is committed to providing top-notch roofing products and high-quality craftsmanship you come to expect from a GAF-certified roofing contractor.
Whether you’ve recently experienced storm damage or are concerned about other issues with your roof, schedule a complimentary inspection with us today! Call (860) 899-7878, or fill out our contact form to request an estimate.