Despite popular belief, it doesn’t rain every single day here in the Pacific Northwest. Instead, the weather changes with every season, which also means that winter brings colder temperatures and sometimes harsh weather such as snow storms and high winds. While below-freezing and snow storms are pretty rare in this area, it is possible to get a new roof during the colder months here—it just depends on the temperature and roofing material.
Roofing in colder temperature isn’t the same as roofing in warm or hot temperatures. In fact, roofing in the cold weather requires special preparations and procedures. Before you decide to start a roofing job in the winter or colder weather, you’ll want to make sure the roofing contractor is experienced in cold-weather roofing.
The background on cold-weather roofing
Roofing in cold weather is unlike roofing in any other temperature. Typically, contractors avoid cold-weather roofing for three specific reasons: weather, adhesives, and tools.
In terms of roofing material, not all roofing material can be installed in cold weather. Prime examples of material that shouldn’t be installed in cold weather are asphalt shingles and rubber roofs. Installing these roofing material in sub-40 degree weather makes them more vulnerable to breakage when they’re being nailed down.
The next reason why contractors avoid roofing in cold weather is adhesives. The majority of roofing materials—such as composition shingles and rubber roofs—require adhesives during the installation process. The problem is that adhesives require some sort of heat source in order to properly and securely fasten the roofing material down.
The last reason why contractors avoid roofing in colder weather is tools. Tools that require air such as compressors and nail guns can be affected by colder temperatures. When you’re compressing and releasing air, the humidity turns to water. In below-freezing weather, there’s a chance that the weather may end up freezing and reducing the airflow that the roofer needs to push the nail so that it’s completely flush with the roofing material. To avoid under-driven nails, the roofer needs to constantly adjust the depth of the gun and also monitor for the presence of ice in the airways.
Installing metal roofs in cold weather
If you’re thinking about installing a new roof in cold weather, your go-to option would be a metal roof. This roofing material can be installed in cold weather without its quality getting compromised. Metal roofs can be safely installed in any weather or temperature—hot or cold—because they don’t require adhesives during the installation process, which is the biggest concern for installing any other roofing material such as shingles during the winter.
At State Roofing, we offer three options for metal roofs: Standing Seam, Ironwood, and Metal Shake. Metal roofs are extremely durable, being able to withstand extreme temperatures and weather such as high winds and snow storms. Because of this, it makes them also an ideal option for the Pacific Northwest. In addition, metal roofs won’t crack in colder weather, even if they’ve been mishandled during the installation process.
Installing rubber roofs in cold weather
In an ideal world, rubber roofs shouldn’t be installed when the temperature outside is below freezing. Nails and adhesives are used to install rubber roofs, and as we mentioned earlier, freezing temperatures can hinder the performance of the nail gun. In addition, adhesives need a source of heat to properly bond. If the temperature is below freezing, there’s also a higher likelihood that the adhesive would freeze. Getting rubber roofs securely fastened is required to avoid any risks for leaks or the potential of the material blowing off during a windstorm.
However, rubber roofs can, in fact, be installed during cold weather if and only if you’re working with a contractor who is experienced in cold-weather roofing. In cold weather, roofing contractors need to take special precautions when installing rubber roofs. With that said, prior to making any commitments to installing a rubber roof, make sure to ask the contractor how they would approach installing a rubber roof in cold weather.
An experienced contractor should be able to lay out a step-by-step plan to roofing in cold weather. Such steps should include keeping the adhesive warm during the installation process. A red flag would be if a contractor tells you that they can install a rubber roof in cold weather using the same process as they would if it were 60 degrees out.
At State roofing, we offer two recycled rubber roofs: the Euroslate and Euroshake. Both are great for the Pacific Northwest because this material is less likely to bend, rot, curl, or absorb moisture.
When it comes to roofing in cold weather, roofing contractors will typically avoid moving forward with the job until the weather warms up. This is because the most common roofing material contractors work with is asphalt shingles. This material becomes brittle in cold weather and requires adhesives during the installation process, which then needs a source of heat to ensure they’re fastened securely. In addition, you also run the risk of the adhesive freezing if the temperature gets cold enough. Your best option for cold-weather roofing is a metal roof due to the fact that they won’t require adhesives during the installation process. However, if you’re looking to install a rubber roof, you can get them installed in cold weather, but you just have to make sure to do some extra vetting with contractors. Rubber roofs shouldn’t necessarily be installed in cold weather because they require adhesives, but it can be done if the contractor takes special precautions.
Looking to get a new roof or learn more about cold-weather roofing? Give us a call at (360) 205-3100, or fill out our contact form for further inquiries or to request a free estimate in the Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Bellevue, Snohomish, or surrounding areas.