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Question DetailsAsked on 10/20/2016

when roofing a house in winter, must shingles be preheated

My friend says to get roofing done before winter or the shingles will not adhere as well as done in the summer.

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Answered 2 years ago by Member Services

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Assuming you are talking conventional asphaltic composition shingles.


True - not only in winter but much of fall and spring too in some areas - anytime the roof surface does not heat up in the sun to well over 100 degrees, or on permanently shady surfaces air temp to at least 70-80 degrees or so to get at least a nominal bond.


It is quite rare to preheat the shingles - and of course many contractors apply shingles down to or even below freezing despite much higher manufacturer minimum recommended application temperatures.


Some top-end roofers use indoor storage of bundles to heat them, then tarping and a Herman Nelson (hot air) type heater to keep the preheated stacked bundles warm on the roof during winter work and that can make the shingles warm enough to prevent chipping and cracking during installation. A very few, mostly in very cold regions (Canada/Alaska) tarp the entire building with temporary framing to provide clearance to work, but that is quite rare and mostly only on government jobs where the manufacturer's recommended minimum temperature is strictly enforced by the project engineer - and adds 50% or more to the cost depending on job size, ambient temperature, and chance of strong winds (which mandates stronger tarping supports).


But unless the entire roof surface is kept over about 100-120 or more degrees for a few days after reroofing (which basically non one does), the ashesive tabbing (tar strips on the back) will be too cold to bond to the other shingles, making them more susceptible to lifting and blowback / cracking in high winds until the next summer when natural roof solar heating will soften the asphaltic bonding strips enough for them to stick. And of course by then the roof may have picked up enough dust that the adhesive strips will not bond at all, so I would not count on good tab adhesion at all if installed in the winter.


It is possible to use heated asphaltic adhesive tubes with bubblewrap around the caulk gun while applying "hot tabbing" strips on each shingle before putting the next one over it for immediate bonding - but that will add probably 50% or so to the cost.


Best bet - unless this is a must-do right now job, wait till air temps are in the 60's-70's, so roof surface temps in the sun will be well over 100 shortly after installation.


If you have to do winter installation, I would at least require pre-heating of the shingles to at least 80-90 degrees (like in the garage), only putting a minimal number of bundles on the roof at one time (maybe a half dozen bundles or such on a normal job), and use architectural shingles with narrow tabs and good lateral overlap of the tabs, which greatly reduces the tendency to lift and blowback in high winds. Additional manual "tabbing" with adhesive of course would be preferred but cost usually rules that out, because it adds about one man to the crew requirement (or slows the whole crew up a proportional time if done as the shingles are put down). Most contractors will do tabbing after the roof is placed (or by section) to not interfere with the placement process and to avoid the mess of working around the adhesive while placing shingles - some following along behind, some sending just 1 man a day or few later to lift the tabs and place dabs or strips of asphalt along the tabbing strip location.


Also - make sure application is per manufacturer instructions if it has to be done in cold temps - which may mandate preheating shingles, hand-nailing (to minimize cracking from nailguns), and specific sealant tabbing below temps of commonly around 40-50.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD




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