Can Your Replace Roof Shingles in the Winter?
November 5, 2022
For roofing companies, winter is the most challenging, demanding season they can work through. Shingle replacement work and roof shingle repair top the list for work. Winter storms with high-velocity winds can be deadly, creating the need for roof shingle replacement. Shingles are made up of many substances. The most common comes from the same material that we pave roads with, asphalt, due to the durable nature of the product. Sometimes your roof will need an asphalt shingle repair because, let’s face it, nothing, no matter how durable, lasts forever. When winter weather wreaks havoc, many different conditions can harm a roofing system. Freezing temperatures that rise above freezing cause thawing and refreezing, and your flashing and other areas of the roof will take a beating. Structural collapse can come from heavy snowfalls, and leaks can be triggered in many ways. Roofing inspections done before the winter sets in can find minor problems that can be addressed before the weather exacerbates the flaws in your roofing system. Weather issues often force a homeowner/business owner’s hand, and roofing work needs to be done at the worst time of year, winter. All roofing contractors counsel customers to stay off the roof at this time of year, even though the repair you are trying to DIY is minimal. Slick shingles make for a rooftop ice rink, and a fall is undoubtedly one danger that can be avoided when you call a reliable roofer to fix your winter roofing problems.
10 Common Roof Shingles Replacement Problems in Winter
- Cold Temperatures
In winter, cold and icy temperatures are a roofer’s nemesis. Ice and snow are hazards the roofers take seriously, and the hazards make for challenging but not impossible conditions.
- High Wind Speeds
Roofing is complex under the best of conditions. Sprinkle in winter weather with high wind rates, and you get a recipe fraught with danger. Gale force winds have been known to pull shingles off the roof in all four seasons, especially in the winter. If your roof is aging out and is worn, shingle loss can be acute during the winter. Winter weather causes delays at airports and for roofing companies because Old Man Winter is undefeated when it comes time for an icy blast.
- Malfunctioning Tools & Materials
Harsh winter conditions are hard on tools and materials that a roofer will use for your roof repair/installation. A compressor for a nail gun and the gun itself will labour when in use during winter months. If you need a decking replacement – a sheet of plywood – taken to the roof, it could be a disaster when the wind blows. When you have winter roofing problems, find a contractor with lots of seasonal experience as they are best suited to work in inclement weather.
- Cold & Brittle Shingles
When it is cold, your new shingles will have less flexibility, and flexibility is integral for installation. Brittle or stiff shingles are difficult to install. Ridge caps, valleys and hips require shingle manipulation during installation and pose problems when it is cold outside. As a solution for stiff and brittle shingles, they must be stored at 22C for 24 hours to create the flexibility required for a quality installation. When a roofer is driving nails into brittle shingles, they can crack and break; also, walking on cold shingles can cause damage to the freshly laid shingles. Your contractor will use an abundance of caution when installing replacement shingles or a complete installation.
- Poor Adhesive Properties of Asphalt Shingles
The adhesive properties of asphalt shingles suffer during the winter. The adhesive properties of the shingles changes when the temperatures dip below 10C, and they won’t stick properly. If you are set on asphalt shingles, a winter installation is not in the cards unless you choose a different shingle material.
- Ice Dams
An ice dam problem is a common winter occurrence. It comes to the fore when the snow melts higher up on the roof, and the water runs to cold gutters and refreezes. Ice damming at your roof edge and in gutters causes extra weight on the gutters, and the stress pulls the gutters away from the fascia. When water (frozen or liquid) is part of the equation, you can see mould and mildew problems start in the attic. If black mould flourishes, your family is at risk of respiratory issues, which we would all like to avoid.
- Dangerous Tree Limbs
Trees make for a handsome vista at any home; let’s not forget that shade helps keep energy costs in check during summer. In the winter, storms can create a ‘sweeping’ action from tree branches that damage shingle granules. The granules help with rain runoff, and when the branches sweep, it is like sanding down your roof, making shingles ineffective. Falling branches during winter storms can create openings for snow and water to enter your attic, so it is incumbent for any homeowner to keep the trees around the house adequately pruned.
- Excessive Snow
A fresh snowfall, the first of the season, is a delight for people who love winter. But for a roof, it is the first of potentially dangerous situations. Snow looks great, but it comes with excessive weight. The more snow that falls, the greater the stress on the roofing structure. An old roof forced to endure years of heavy ice and snow is at risk of collapse; roofing contractors offer a service to remove excess snow. A small investment in prevention can save thousands of dollars later.
- Flashing Leaks
Roofing flashing seals openings for HVAC, chimneys, pipes, skylights, and vents. During winter, your flashing can be compromised, and leaks begin when freezing temperatures recede. Sloped roofs with flashing often see this problem due to the thaw refreeze issues that transpire in the winter. A fall inspection can identify flashing problems before they start, and any homeowner can get out in front of a potential flashing problem.
- Scheduling Delays
Weather interrupts travel and other activities we all enjoy. For roofers, even a slight dusting of snow can affect work schedules. Roofers commonly watch weather patterns for windows of opportunity to work when roof repairs are necessary.
Best Temperature for Shingle Replacement
When the temperature drops below 8C, it is not a good idea to install a roof or repair shingles because the shingles will be too brittle. The ideal temperature for shingle installation is approximately 13C with a touch of humidity and no wind or rain.
Shingle Temperature During Roof Installation
For best results for shingle installation, you are looking for temperatures between 13C and 29C. If it is too cold or too hot, the shingles’ integrity can suffer, making them rife for damage during installation or the first significant weather event.
Proper Shingle Sealing During the Winter
Installing shingles in the winter and summer are two different things. Bonding shingles to the roof is an entirely different thing in the winter due to seasonably cold temperatures. The shingle adhesives are what hold the roof’s cover together. If the adhesive doesn’t take because it is too cold to work, your shingles could be flapping in the breeze or, worse yet and opening for water to enter.
When you have roofing problems, hire a professional, no questions asked. It doesn’t matter what season; professionals with expertise, experience and ability should ascend your roof during times of need. A well-placed roofing inspection before winter can actively identify roofing problems, and solutions can be enacted before emergency service is necessary.
Rely on Integrity Roofers for Your Roof Shingle Replacement
When your roof is feeling the effects of old age or degrading, you know what to do; reach out to us at Integrity Roofers. Shingles wear, crack, curl, loosen or disappear. Let’s not forget flashing can be compromised, and a repair might forestall the problem; you might look at your situation as time for a new roof. Our host of services for new installation and flat roof repairs takes us across the entire Greater Toronto Area. So, we are always with you when you need us most. As for services on offer, we provide:
- A free onsite roof assessment.
- To-specs product installation.
- Highly qualified roofing technicians who are insured.