When Is Roofing Season?

October 31st, 2014

One of the questions most often asked by homeowners is: When is the best time of year to install a new roof? For established roofing companies the season really doesn't matter. Roofers, for the most part, are quite adaptable to weather changes.

The best time of year to install a new roof can vary from state to state and region to region. However, it’s possible to install a new roof as long as the temperatures are above freezing, and the chance of wind and rain is low. This reduces potential interruptions for the roofing crew and the lowest risk of water damage and leaking during installation. In several states replacing or repairing a roof can be done in any month. In southernmost states, even during the coldest months of winter, the temperature rarely stays below freezing for any extended length of time.

In spring, two to three days of 45 to 50 degree weather with sunny skies would be good for a roof installation. Shingles won’t seal unless they warm to an ambient temperature near 70 degrees. That doesn’t mean it needs to be 70, because solar radiance will heat the shingles even if temperatures are in the 40s. However, springtime can be a challenge due to rainfall. If a yard is soggy, it can be difficult for a roofing crew to avoid making ruts in your lawn. They have to drive the crew trucks near the house to collect old shingles during a tear-off.? Murphy’s Law may happen and it might be necessary to install a roof in cold weather. Some roofing contractors will install a roof when the temperature dips as low as 40 degrees if the sun is going to shine all day. Shingles must have time to “thaw” if they have been stored in freezing temperatures. Manufacturer instructions for cold weather installation must be followed precisely or the result could be a costly shingle blow off.

Cold shingles may crack on the back when nailed to the deck, and that can cause roof failures and leaks. This varies depending on the shingle material. Fiberglass shingles are more susceptible than organic shingles. They should be installed on a warm roof deck so the plywood will not quickly expand and contract. That can cause nails to back out and break the seal of the shingles.

There is debate among roofing pros about cold weather installation. Many roofers will install a roof even when it is near freezing. They store the shingles in a warm place and bring them out in smaller batches during installation. However, some contractors just won’t install in low temperatures because, with certain brands, each shingle must be hand sealed. Since the chance of failure increases greatly when a roof is installed in below freezing weather, these contractors feel it's better to just not risk it.

But if conditions demand that a roof must be installed in temperatures below freezing, be sure your roofing contractor takes precautions to avoid roof failure. Nail guns can’t be used because it's common to "blow through" brittle shingles with a high-powered nailer. The roof must be hand nailed. However, this will take more time and that will increase your labor costs. Also since the seal strips will not seal in such cold conditions, they must be manually sealed with cold weather adhesives. This will also increase costs because it will take more time and require additional materials. Roofing contractors in Alaska enclose an entire house with a tarpaulin tent and heat it with propane heaters. That takes a very large amount time and, always remember, time is money. Are you prepared to pay for this extra time? Could you find a way to wait a few more weeks for better weather?

In summer months there will always be a number of extremely hot days. Crews avoid walking on roofs during extremely hot conditions to keep from damaging the shingles. Yet even during the hottest days of summer, roofers can still install a roof. It may be important to match your schedule with that of the roofing crew. In the spring and fall, roof work starts around 8:00 a.m. and goes until 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. During hot summer months, roofers usually start work early in the morning and often end by 2:00 p.m.

Weather is a leading factor to consider when deciding the prime time of year to install a new roof. But the best way to know when is to have a professional roofer conduct an inspection now to find out the remaining life span of your current roof. This information will give you the time to carefully consider what type of replacement roof would be best for your house.