Why We Don’t Roof In the Winter

Why We Don’t Roof In the Winter

It’s cold!

You might have ice damming. Or you have a roof that needs to be installed for insurance reasons or to sell a property. Or you got started thinking about replacing that leaky room once and for all – but too late in the year.


Roof Iowa works year round helping our customers, but we do not repair or install roofs in the winter for several good reasons: the safety of our people, the tools’ capacity to perform, and the shingle product itself.


First and most importantly, we will never risk the lives of our people! Every life is precious. And sadly we do come across some people that do not understand. A ladder + ice and freezing temps = substantial risk of falling (i.e. death, paralyzation, broken bones to name a few).  The risk of death for a roofer is 3X the risk of a police officer – and that is in normal temps! There are some contractors willing to take this risk, but our team is too important to us to risk their lives in the winter.  It is also imperative to install on an appropriate surface — and snow and ice are not appropriate. Roofers need to reach the bare deck, especially in new construction. Any kind of precipitation will cause the slope to be slippery, adding to the level of hazard and reducing the speed and comfort of any roofing team. Don’t forget about those temps when roofing is already a physically demanding job. Would you run a marathon carrying an extra 15 pounds of gear? Wearing a winter jacket, pants, boots, hat, etc., can add another 15 pounds to your body weight. Because of the need to use our fingers precisely when installing or repairing and bend our toes for grip and traction, we could only wear small gloves and boots. For most roofers, it is uncomfortable below freezing… again and not to mention dangerous.


Second, the roofing crew uses many different tools.  Compressors and nail guns can be affected by the temperatures – these tools are vital to use when installing. When compressing and releasing the air in your system, humidity will turn into water. If the temperature is freezing, the water may freeze in the airlines and reduce the airflow that the installer receives on the roof. Nails need to be installed flush with the shingle, not overdriven or under driven. No one wants nail leaks right off the bat with a new roof!


Third, the shingles are not supposed to be installed in cold temps for a couple reasons. Can they be installed? The short answer is yes, but, again, with risk. The asphaltic material in the shingle may lose its flexibility and resistance as the temperature goes down. This causes them to be brittle and break. Temperatures below 26 degrees can shatter the shingle. It will become harder to bend the shingles and to cut them straight. Being more “brittle,” they’ll be more likely to be overdriven by nails when using regular pressure in the system.


New shingles also need thermal sealing, which requires outdoor temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. All shingles are equipped with a self-sealant strip, a line of glue that activates with the sun and tabs the shingles together, preventing the wind to catch them. This glue activates at different temperatures depending on the manufacturer and the manufacturer may specify. If it is too cold, guess what? The glue will not adhere. Heat is also required to soften the adhesive and allow the shingles to bond after installation.  If the shingles cannot bond and seal, you are looking at the potential of wind blown shingles as well as leaks. When it is consistently below 40 degrees, for quality and warranty sake of your roof, we advise against installing shingles.


Winter brings a list of demands for your home, but we advise that homeowners attend to these before the temps drop below 40 degrees: Check your insulation. Get those leaks repaired. Clean out your gutters. Have a chimney specialist make sure your chimney is in good working order.


It is always best to have your roof properly maintained to check for vulnerable spots and seal damaged areas before the winter, and Roof Iowa is always here to help!  We are voted Ankeny’s Best Roofer many years in a row as well as a Des Moines Metro Best Roofer.  We have been awarded as a Master Elite and Certified Green Contractor as well as an Angie’s List Super Service award winner. We thank you for your trust!


Copy Right Roof Iowa LLC 2019

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