Gray hexagon shingles with text: Can Shingles Be Replaced or Installed in the Winter?

Can Shingles Be Replaced or Installed in the Winter?

Can you replace a roof in winter? Most people know that winter is not ideal for replacing or installing a new roof. This is true in most areas of the country. But what happens if your roof gets damaged or you get a leak during the winter, and a complete replacement is the only viable solution? Is it even possible to get a new roof in winter?

The simple answer is yes; your new roof can be installed in the winter. However, it depends on the how harsh winter gets where you live. For example, in Indianapolis, winters are often very wet. Rain, sleet, and ice are common, and these make for conditions that are not ideal for roofing work.

Best Weather Conditions for Roof Installation

Roof replacement or installation can be done during any season. Nevertheless, most professionals agree replacing or installing a roof when the temperature drops below 40 °F is not ideal.

Extremely cold temperatures can significantly affect the outcome of your roofing project. The ideal temperature and condition to install a roof is around 55 °F with mild humidity. Also, there should be as little wind as possible and no rain or snow.

While a roof replacement can be executed in less ideal conditions, the process may take longer than expected. Roof replacements take a day but extreme weather can undoubtedly prolong that time period.

Conditions for Replacing or Installing Your Roof in Winter 

Three main elements play a role in installing roofing shingles as far as weather conditions are concerned. These include:

Tool Performance in Cold Temperatures 

Roofing in cold temperatures can be difficult since freezing temperatures can affect the most important tools like air compressors and nail guns. Your nail guns depend on compressed air; if the air is humid, it converts into water and freezes in the airlines. This compromises the airflow that drives the nails.

Reduced airflow increases the risk of overdriven or underdriven nails. As such, roofers have to pay extra attention.

Shingle Performance in Cold Weather

If done carefully, shingles can be installed in cold weather. However, cold weather can be bad news for your shingles. This is mainly because some of the material loses the ability to bend in cold temperatures. When shingles become more brittle, the chances of being overdriven by nails are high.

Because the materials may be harder to bend and cut, your roofers may experience difficulty using the racking method throughout the installation. Also, it’s challenging when laying shingles on the ridge caps, hips, and roof valleys, because these sections need a great deal of shingle manipulation. 

To prevent shingles from turning brittle, ensure they’re stored in a heated area at least 70 °F for a minimum of 24 hours.

Poor Adhesive Properties of Asphalt Shingles 

Asphalt shingles also have poor adhesive properties when it’s extremely cold. Shingles contain a strip of sealant activated by warm temperatures, usually experienced in late spring and summer. The sealing strips have no problem bonding with the roof’s surface in spring and summer.  

However, when the temperature drops below 40 °F, the properties of these adhesives change, making it difficult for shingles to stick to each other. In cold temperatures, the roofers must hand-seal each shingle to ensure the seal bonds effectively. While this might prolong the installation process, it provides every shingle is properly sealed.

High Wind Speeds 

Besides snow, rain, and freezing temperatures, the winter season is characterized by high wind speeds. Roofing in these conditions is already challenging, and adding wind makes it more difficult for roofers to execute their work. Strong and aggressive winds can rip off roofing materials from your roof.

Human Needs in Cold Weather 

Human needs are at the forefront when it comes to roofing. Roofers working in unsafe conditions are likely to cut corners. Ice-breaking and shoveling on a roof are difficult and dangerous jobs. And if tools aren’t working correctly, waiting until the weather is warmer becomes an issue.

If you need a new roof in the winter, some roofing contractors will take precautions and say no if repairs can hold your roof together until spring. Snow or rain would render the job unsafe since keeping footing on a slippery top is hard.

What’s more, there’s a need for agility and the use of one’s fingers to install a roof properly. The roofing crew can only wear thin gloves, which makes it to get the job done in temperatures at or below freezing.

Bottom Line

Having your roofing shingles replaced in the winter is possible. While materials and tools have sub-optimal performance, the right roofing contractor can get the job done in weather above freezing and not raining or snowing.

If you need help with your roof replacement project in Indianapolis, contact Moss Roofing to schedule your free consultation. Our roofing experts take every precaution to successfully install or replace shingles in the winter. We value customer satisfaction and take pride in delivering high-quality roofs when called upon.

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