Customers who are scheduled to have their roofs replaced in the fall often ask us if their roofs will be okay if the shingles are installed in the cooler temperatures. There is no specific industry guideline for what the temperature must be for shingles to be installed properly. While warmer weather is ideal for shingle installation because the asphalt needs heat to relax and lay flat, sealant is activated by heat, and the shingles are more flexible in warmer weather, there are additional factors to consider.
The Type of Heat Transfer: It is important to keep in mind the different types of heat transfer. It is common for people to use the air temperature as an indicator of whether or not it is warm enough to install a roof. However, air is actually a poor conductor of heat. More important is radiant heat, which is more influential in activating the seal strip on shingles. Surfaces, such as your skin or your roof, are heated by the sun even on cool days. So, if it is 30 degrees and sunny out, your roof may be over 100 degrees. This can allow your roof to seal even in cool air temperatures.
Improvements in Sealants: In addition, sealants in shingles have greatly improved in recent years. Materials and substances have been added to sealants to reduce the temperature that are needed to activate them. Manufacturers have made these changes to reduce the number of warranty claims that are filed from cold weather applications.
Situational Effects: If the shingles do not seal on a roof immediately, they typically will in the near future as the sun heats the roof. However, if a roof is on an acreage or in the country where it is exposed to high winds or high levels of dust, the shingles may have a difficult time adhering. In the case of these extenuating factors, waiting until warmer weather may be wise.
If you choose to have your roof completed in cooler weather, it is important to ask your contractor the following questions:
- What type of workmanship warranty do you offer? Do you provide this in writing? Asking this is important. With a written workmanship warranty, you can be protected for future repairs if a roof was installed when the weather was too cold.
- What is your relationship with the manufacturer? It is important that the contractor has a close relationship with the manufacturer. If problems do arise, they can help ensure that the manufacturer treats you right.
- Would it be okay if we wait until spring? The contractor you are working with should say yes (even if you plan on installing the roof in the fall). If they insist that you install the roof now, they may be short on money and trying to get any income they can. This foreshadows the problems to come – if issues do arise, they likely won’t have the resources to take care of you.
Long story short, if you have a serious roofing concern and the roof needs replaced immediately, you can rest assured that your roof will be fine if it is replaced in cooler temperatures and you have chosen a contractor that warranties their work.