With winter comes a drop in temperature and sometimes harsh weather such as snow. These elements don’t make for an ideal roofing environment. Luckily, we rarely experience extremely low temperatures or snow storms during winters in the Pacific Northwest. Unlike the rest of the country, it is possible to get a new roof in the winter here.
The thing to keep in mind is that winter roofing is not the same as roofing during any other season. It takes extra preparation, special procedures, and a lot of patience. To ensure that your roof is installed in a proper fashion, you’ll also need to ensure you’ve hired a roofing contractor that’s experienced in winter roofing.
Why winter roofing is typically avoided
Winter roofing is complicated. Contractors are typically hesitant to install new roofs during the winter for three reasons: weather, adhesives, and tools—all of which are intertwined with one another.
Some roofing materials such as asphalt shingles or rubber roofs need to be installed when the temperature outside is above 40 degrees. Installing them when it’s less than 40 degrees makes them more vulnerable to breakage when they’re being nailed down.
Another reason why winter roofing isn’t common is because of the adhesive. Almost all roofing materials use some sort of adhesive during the installation process, but almost all adhesives require some sort of heat source to properly fasten the roofing material down.
Next are the tools. Compressors, nail guns, and similar tools that require air can be affected by colder temperatures due to the fact that when you’re compressing and releasing the air, the humidity will then turn to water. If the temperature is below freezing outside, that water may end up freezing and reducing the airflow that the roofer needs to push the nail so that it’s 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 rubber roofs in the winter
At State Roofing, we offer two types of recycled rubber roofs: the Euroslate and Euroshake. Both rubber roofs are ideal for the Pacific Northwest’s constantly changing weather as the material is less likely to bend, rot, take on moisture, or curl. They’re a fairly new roofing material that was developed to curb used tires from being tossed in landfills. Today’s rubber roofs contain approximately 95% recycled materials, and whenever a homeowner installs this material, they’re diverting about 250 to 1,000 rubber tires from the landfills.
However, in an ideal world, rubber roofs shouldn’t be installed when the temperature outside is below freezing. Both nails and adhesives are used when installing rubber roofs, and without heat, the adhesive won’t be able to properly bond. Even worse—if it’s below freezing outside, there’s a higher likelihood of the adhesive freezing. A rubber roof needs to be firmly sealed to avoid any risks for leaks or the potential for the material to blow off the roof if there’s a windstorm.
These factors shouldn’t deter you from installing a rubber roof during the winter. An experienced roofing contractor has to take special precautions when installing rubber roofs in colder temperature.
Prior to making any commitments to installing a rubber roof, make sure to ask the roofing contractor how they would approach installing a rubber roof in the winter. An experienced contractor should be able to lay out a step-by-step approach to winter roofing such as keeping the adhesive warm during the installation process. It should be noted that an inexperienced contractor may tell you that they’ll be able to install the rubber roof just like any other day, regardless of what the temperature is outside. If you ever hear a roofing contractor say that, it’s a red flag that they are either inexperienced or don’t have very high standards for their work.
Installing metal roofs in the winter
Unlike rubber roofs, metal roofs aren’t picky when it comes to weather. This roofing material can be installed in the winter without compromising quality. At State Roofing, we offer three different metal roofs: Standing Seam, Ironwood, and Metal Shake. This roofing material is an eco-friendly option that is also ideal for the ever-changing weather in the Pacific Northwest. They’re highly durable and can withstand everything from extreme heat to severe snowstorms.
The reason why metal roofs can be safely installed in any weather or temperature is because, unlike shingles, they don’t require adhesives during the installation process, which is the biggest concern for installing any other roofing material in the winter. The next concern is material integrity in the cold weather. Luckily, metal roofs won’t crack in the colder weather, even if they’re mishandled. In terms of winter roofing, metal roofs are your best bet.
Traditionally, roofing contractors try to avoid doing installations in the winter. This is primarily due to the fact that the most common type of roofing material is asphalt shingles. Unfortunately, this roofing material becomes brittle in the colder weather and requires adhesives during the installation process. In below-freezing temperature, you run the risk of the adhesive freezing, which won’t allow the material to properly bond. Rubber roofs, on the other hand, shouldn’t be installed in below-freezing weather either because they too use adhesives during the installation process. If you’re looking to install a rubber roof in the winter, make sure to confirm with the roofing contractor that they’ll be taking special precautions to ensure your rubber roof is installed correctly. When it comes to winter roofing, metal roofs are your best bet because they can be installed in any weather.
If you want to learn more about winter 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.