Can a New Roof Replacement Be Done in the Winter?

Winter Roof Replacement

Many home owners may find themselves in need of roof replacement work to be performed in the Winter months.

Possibly, they may wonder whether getting a roof replacement during the winter season is a good idea.

“Perhaps it is better to wait until the Spring when things warm up? After all, roofing contractors probably don’t want to be on the roof when I don’t even want to be outside.”

Whereas the concern about the quality of roof replacement work done in the winter deserves a detailed answer, and the concern about the roofer is thoughtful, I believe the answers provided for the first concern will be enough to show that most roof work doesn’t have to be put off, and well, as far as the second concern goes, if everybody thought that way, roofers would lose their jobs.

Concerning full roof replacement

We need to consider roofing projects as broken down into three major categories:

First, we’ll consider flat roofs, followed by shingle roofs, and then finally “hard roofs” (roofs that are neither flat nor depend upon a tar strip to help the individual pieces adhere to one another). Many flat roof replacement systems are “temperature dependent” by design. “Self adhering” systems are the prime example. These roofs cannot be installed under certain temperatures as determined by the manufacturer.

However, two other major flat roof systems remain in the residential roofing category.

There are those which utilize a torch to adhere them to a base surface, and those which are mechanically attached. Either one of these systems can be installed without thought being given to outside temperatures. Mechanically attached systems can be installed without thought being given to “burning down your house”, a nice feature of the mechanically attached system.

One such system is “Dura-last” which is specially designed to “enclose” the fasteners during installation. The details of the roof (seams, skylights, etc.) are completed with the use of a “heat gun”, a much safer method of installation.

Shingle roofs are the most likely to suffer as a result of a winter-time roof replacement, but this is dependent upon a number of factors.

First, one ought to consider the immediate surroundings of the house to be roofed.

“Is this an area where a large quantity of dust is likely to deposit itself between my shingles before Spring temperatures adhere them together?”

If your house has a lot of construction going on around it, you might want to postpone your winter time shingle job. Otherwise, there are no worries here in replacing your roof.

Second to be considered is the roofer you have selected to do the job.

“Does he take care to set the pressure on his nail guns so as to not overdrive the fasteners? Do those using nail guns on his crew habitually “shoot high” to prevent a low nail?”

If he can’t look you in the face and confirm that he understands the effect of temperature on winter-time roof replacement of shingles, than he ought not roof your house.

If you are sure of your roofing contractor, not worried about dust, and are installing a shingle that exceeds wind speeds in your area (30-year architectural shingles by Atlas–their Pinnacle series, are lifetime rated and withstand gusts up to 130 MPH), then a winter time installation is fine.

Consider for a moment how many roof replacements are performed in the winter by subcontractor crews on dusty construction sites with 50 mph rated shingles, and you will see that attention to the above details can result in your getting a good roof despite the variables.

“Hard roofs” or those made from metal, slate, composites, cedar shakes, etc., do not rely on their relative “seamlessness” after installation or a “tar strip” to hold them in place, but are rather dependent upon the fasteners themselves (nails, screws, clips). These roofing systems can all be installed in the winter, though some of them require modifications to be made during installation.

As an example, composite slate or “fake slate” and shakes can be nailed on with a gun in the warmer months, but must either; a) be hand nailed in the colder months or b) warmed up inside just prior to roof replacement installation. Metal roofs requiring roofers to carry large panels around on the roof can be tricky in high winter winds.

Whatever the case, these roofs can be applied during the winter months without any necessary loss of life to the system as a whole or increased likelihood of problems later.

From the above, you can see roofing is a trade in which adjustments often have to be made for variables in weather, but it is not a trade which comes screeching to a halt during the cold season … any more than it does when the risk of rain is higher day-by-day or when it is 95 degrees outside (approximately 160 degrees on the roof!).

Roofing Contractors are people who are used to extreme weather. Feel sorry for them if you want to, but don’t let that keep you from giving the good ones a job.

If you still have questions about winter roof replacement, please contact me (Mike) at (303) 681-9199.