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Should You Install Asphalt Shingles During The Winter Or In Cold Weather?

Feb 23, 2022 | Asphalt Shingle Roofing, Blog

This is a question not commonly considered by the average consumer. Asphalt shingles become very brittle and fragile to work with during the colder months. Shingle manufacturers typically recommend against installing asphalt shingles when the outside temperature is at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Asphalt shingles become extremely brittle in colder temperatures and therefor much more susceptible to damage from mishandling and improper installation. There is a thermally activated sealant strip that is factory installed on the shingles. This sealant strip typically activates and seals the shingles to each other in warmer temperatures which is often accelerated on warm sunny days. During colder temps, this mastic bond does not reach the temperatures that are needed for it to become tacky or sticky and seal to the other shingles. An unsealed roof is susceptible to wind uplift and could allow dirt and debris to cover the mastic bond preventing it from sealing properly when the weather finally warms up. This is a common contributing factor to wind damaged roofing systems throughout the U.S.

asphalt shingle roofing system during the winter season.
There are a number of extra precautions that should be taken when attempting to install shingles in cold weather.

  • Do not roof load or fold asphalt shingles over the ridge of the roof while waiting for them to be installed. In cold temps the brittle shingles can crack or fracture from the sharp crease of laying over the ridge. They could also hold the shape of being folded or deformed when installed creating peaks and uneven lines. Field shingles should be kept as flat as possible prior to installation.
  • Folding or forming hip and ridge cap shingles could also lead to damage. These cap shingles must be folded to lay over each roof field and seal the seams of the hip or ridge. While cold and brittle, this could fracture/ crack the shingle if they are not warmed up beforehand. This could be done by laying them out in the sun for an extended period of time or preheating them with a heater before installation or storing them in a warm enclosed space. This is not as much of a concern when using better preformed hip and ridge shingles like CertainTeed’s Mountain Ridge.
  • The concept of preheating also applies to shingles being laid over a valley. Caution must be taken not to de-bond or separate the layers of a cold multi-layer or laminated shingle.
  • Since the thermally activated sealant strip cannot properly bond the shingle to the course below, it is typically recommended that you hand seal each shingle. This is especially important on the rake edges. This is EXTREMELY time consuming which is why it is not often done by most roofing contractors during cold weather installations. Many contractors will charge extra for hand nailing and hand sealing shingles due to the exponential increase in the amount of labor required.
  • Remember that like most other materials, shingles will expand in warmer temperatures. You should not butt up asphalt shingles too close together during cold weather applications. You may run the risk of them peaking once the shingles expand when temperatures warm up.
  • Hand nailing or careful monitoring of air pressure on pneumatic nail guns is highly recommended during cold weather installations. As shingles become cold and brittle, it is easier to “blow through” the shingle when nailing with a pneumatic gun. When the pressure is too high the fasteners can tear all the way through the shingle during installation reducing or eliminating any holding power to the roof deck. This increases the chances of shingle blow off in high winds.

Ask your roofer if he understands how to properly install asphalt shingles in cold temps. Have him explain to you the precautions he will take in order to ensure that your roof is properly installed and sealed to minimize potential damage.

If you see your roofer not taking proper precautions during a cold weather installation, then you should ensure that your roof is properly dried in with underlayment and begin looking for another contractor to finish the job in a timely manner before severe weather comes your way.

Lumen Construction Roofing - Best of HomeAdvisor

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5700 Tennyson Parkway #300, Plano

5.0 114 reviews

  • Avatar T. Cutt ★★★★★ 2 months ago
    I worked with Phillip and it was an amazing experience! We had a rainstorm inside the house after a storm and he came over gave us options, followed up, communicated without making me feel dumb for not understanding roofing. 10/10 will … More use this company when we replace the roof!
  • Avatar Samantha Harrison ★★★★★ 3 months ago
    Very professional and thorough roofing company! Michael and Ross were superb in keeping me informed on everything that was being done throughout the entire process! I am extremely pleased with the work that was done. The roof and gutters … More gave my home a complete facelift! Thanks guys!!! I will definitely refer Lumen Construction Roofing to all of my family and friends!Services: Roof inspection, Roof repair for storm & wind damage, Gutter installation, Roof installation
  • Avatar Rohan Kharwar ★★★★★ 3 months ago
    Ross and Philip provided exceptional service. We had been having roof leaks for more than 2-3 yrs in certain spots in the house.We had this inspected by multiple roofers and no one was able to figure out where the water was coming from … More in the house as there were no obvious signs of roof damage. Ross and Philip were onsite multiple times and helped figure out the issue and fix it. They were always very professional, always came on time and above all figured out the problem.
    They definitely went above and beyond.
    Regarding the work, they went over all the steps in detail. The work was clean and neat. We will definitely call them for any roofing issues.

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