The Must-Know Guide to Roofing in Winter - Digital Roofing Innovations

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The Must-Know Guide to Roofing in Winter

The Must-Know Guide to Roofing in Winter

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Roofing in warm temperatures is the ideal situation. However, roof emergencies still happen during the winter season.

It comes with risks, but it is possible to successfully do roofing in cold weather. In this guide, we’ll show you how it’s possible; including the risks, benefits, and precautions you should take.

Can You Do Roofing in Cold Weather?

The simple answer is yes. As long as you follow planning, foresight, and safety precautions, a successful roof installation is possible for your home. At times, it is even better to install your roof during cold weather!

A successful winter roofing will benefit from using proper technique and awareness. We’ve written this guide to share what we know and help you with any concerns about roofing under winter conditions.

What are the Risks of Roofing in Cold Weather?

While the winter season is just as hard to work in as other seasons, it never hurts to be cautious of possible hazards. Here are some of the few setbacks to watch out for when doing roofing in winter.

Issues with Roofing Materials

Asphalt Shingle Roof

Asphalt shingles are one of the most common roofing materials in North America. However, its durable quality doesn’t last forever.

To replace and install asphalt shingles, the ideal temperature is between 40 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

These materials are best installed during seasons with warm temperatures. Keep in mind that below 40 degrees would be too cold for roofing.

As freezing temperatures begin with the winter weather, asphalt shingles become brittle and promote breakage.

Fiberglass Shingle Roof and Roof Shakes

Fiberglass shingles are popular roofing materials as well. While they are an alternative to asphalt roof shingles, they can still fracture in cold temperatures.

Roof shakes, meanwhile, are wooden shingles. Even these things can break apart as cold weather reaches a certain freezing point.

Sealants and Tar

Another thing about shingles is the strips of sealants that come with them.

Shingle manufacturers usually make thermally-activated shingles. The sealing begins when they interact with heat and pressure. This warmth makes them bond on their own.

Once winter weather dips way below the ideal 40 degrees Fahrenheit limit, shingles can still seal. But, it will have a hard time doing so. A roofing crew must hand seal shingles with a roofing cement to ensure bonding.

The same principle applies to tar. It is still possible to tar roofs during cold weather. However, it won’t dry and seal as well during cold temperatures.

Safety Risk

Winter weather brings some hazards to your roofing project.

Snow and ice can make the roof surface slick and slippery. They can increase the probability of workers sustaining falls and injuries.

The accumulation of ice and snow also makes it difficult for people to see skylights they may fall into. Unseen debris can also trip workers over.

Cold weather conditions can strain the workers’ bodies, as well. Dehydration, hypothermia, and frostbite are all examples of bodily strain occurring during the winter months.

Finally, snow can overload the structure of the building. Besides the weight of a roofing team and equipment, winter snow’s weight may overload the roof structure of your home.

Longer Project Completion

Roofing in the winter may take longer. This is because of increased monitoring and safety precautions.

While this can be a setback for a roofing job, it also allows workers to make sure their work is still high quality. If rushed, performance can be subpar.

Rushing may also lead to workers in hazardous situations and more damage to your home later on.

What Are the Benefits of Replacing a Roof in the Winter?

While replacing a roof in the winter may be daunting, it also comes with benefits. Consider the following advantages for a roofing job in cold weather.

Quality Control

We’ve mentioned before that shingle sealants won’t work as well with cold temperatures.

As you can’t rely on natural heat, you can hand seal them with roofing cement. While the hand sealing process takes longer, it also ensures that each shingle on your roof seals properly.

A successful sealing process contributes to a roof’s durability and longevity. This keeps homeowners safe and secure in homes longer.

Easier Scheduling

Winter is the off-season for many roofing contractors. As the amount of work slows down, more contractors become available for the job.

Scheduling a winter roof installation becomes easy and more efficient.

Workers can also use this time to build business relationships with new clients. They might have had to wait for summer for their roofing job.

Installing Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is a good option for places with a lot of winter precipitation. Its design minimizes snow accumulation. It sloughs off ice and snow when the temperature turns freezing.

This type of roofing doesn’t need sealants, so it’s perfect for a winter installation. Take care not to install it when the temperature is at an extreme low – warmer winter days may cause warbling.

Be sure to keep the snow away from your entrances with a properly installed snow guard.

Investing in Safety

Waiting for warmer conditions to build a new roof for your home may end up in a pricier roof repair. The cold season may end up aggravating preexisting conditions with winter storms.

Leaks, broken shingles, and other damage shouldn’t wait for repair until spring.

Preventing Ice Dams

Winter is also the time to keep damage from ice dams at bay. Ice dams are common, overlooked problems during winter.

After a heavy snowfall, you may find chunks of ice sticking to your roofs. During warmer winter days, water seeps into the gutters.

Once ice traps it in again, it may drain inside your house. It can loosen shingles, tear off gutters, and damage your home.

When doing winter roofing, one may take precautionary measures such as deicing. The deicing process can slough off the build-up of ice.

This guarantees a safer place for roofers to work. In turn, this can also prevent damage from ice dams.

Whether it’s a roof replacement or preventative maintenance, roofing in the winter is a step towards safety. After all, home safety and security are both priceless.

What Are the Precautions to Take in Winter Roofing?

Once you’ve decided to take on a winter roof job, you now face both the risks and benefits. To maximize safety and prevent any injury, we’ve prepared a list to guide you through every step.

Work with Experienced Roofing Professionals and Contractors

Experience and skill go a long way. Winter roofing is risky work, so homeowners should make sure to have the help of an experienced roofing contractor.

Get in touch with reputable roofing companies in your area to ensure high-quality materials and results.

Take Deicing Steps

Free the roof surface of a build-up of ice and frost. Not only does this get rid of icicles and ice dams, but it also ensures a safer roof surface. Roofers are risking injury on slippery ice on your roofing project.

Deicing also gets rid of the added weight that snow build-up can have on your home. It might also reveal previously unseen debris. If this happens, remove these possible hazards from your roofs.

A team of trained roofers should be exercising proper caution and using the right roofing equipment when deicing.

Use Fall Protection Equipment

Sometimes, taking extra caution isn’t enough. Even with the strictest precautions, slick and slippery roofs can cause injury to your team of roofers. For assured safety, here are some systems contractors can use:

  • Guardrail Systems – surrounds the perimeter of the home to help prevent falls
  • Safety Nets – regulated mesh systems situated below roof sites to catch any falling roofers
  • Personal Fall Arrest (PFA) Systems – body harnesses that attach to a roof anchor
  • Warning Line Systems – rope, wire, or chain barriers that surround unprotected areas
  • Safety Monitoring Systems – a technique that roofers train in to recognize fall hazards
  • Hard Hats – OSHA requires these to make sure no material falling off the roof kills workers.

Always test gear and its weight limits. This extra safety protection can save time and ensure zero accidents on site.

Also, make sure you have a fully functional telescopic ladder that can stand up to winter conditions.

Keep Equipment Warm

Materials can under-perform in cold temperatures. Different types of roofing shingles, for example, are susceptible to breakage during winter.

Solve this problem by warming up equipment. You can choose to store them in a heated garage, warehouse, or buy a Hot Box.

Hot Boxes keep temperature-sensitive materials heated for your convenience.

The Standard Hot Boxes can store roof materials between the temperatures 100°F and 120°F. This way, you can transport equipment easily and work with no issue.

To Sum It Up

Doing work on your roof during winter requires a lot of care. The cold weather presents many setbacks that have to be taken into consideration before a roof is installed, replaced, or maintained.

Warm temperature is ideal for roofing all around the world, but we can’t help weather changes. Roof working conditions and some materials aren’t always suitable for freezing temperatures.

For quality not to be compromised, a roofing contractor may take longer than usual to complete the project. Such weather also amplifies safety hazards.

The benefits, however, can outweigh whatever challenges chilly temperatures can have. Homeowners waiting for a whole season to pass before repairing their roofs may be making a costly mistake.

Some of the advantages of roofing during a winter temperature are easier scheduling time and home security. Almost all the hazards are preventable once one takes the right precautions.

Experienced, reputable contractors can help you every step of the way. These contractors, despite any chilly temperature, will know how best to prevent accidents. They can deliver quality work for your home.

Final Words

Should you decide to take on roofing during winter, we recommend going over the information presented to you in this guide. Know where you stand in choosing what’s best for your home.

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