Asphalt shingles are a popular roofing material due to their durability, affordability, and ease of installation. The best roofers know that installing a new roof, using asphalt shingles, in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius) is critical for a variety of reasons. The top reasons we list below. followed by what to do if you must install an asphalt shingle roof during cold weather.

1. Adhesive Activation: Asphalt shingles have a self-sealing adhesive strip on the back that activates and bonds the shingles together when exposed to the sun’s heat. Warmer temperatures help this adhesive bond the shingles securely to the roof, creating a watertight seal. In temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the adhesive might not activate properly, leading to poor adhesion and potential shingle uplift during high winds or heavy rain.

2. Flexibility: Asphalt shingles become more flexible and easier to handle in warmer temperatures. Cold weather can cause shingles to become brittle, making them prone to cracking or breaking during installation. Installing shingles in warmer weather ensures they remain pliable, allowing roofers to work with them more easily and reducing the risk of damaging the material during installation.

3. Proper Nailing: Roofing nails are used to secure shingles to the roof deck. In warmer temperatures, the shingles are more pliable, allowing the nails to penetrate the material accurately and securely attach the shingles to the roof. Cold temperatures can make shingles rigid, making it difficult to drive nails effectively, leading to improper fastening and potential wind damage.

4. Sealing Integrity: Asphalt shingles rely on the heat from the sun to help them settle and form a tight seal. Adequate sun exposure allows the shingles to seal together, preventing water infiltration and enhancing the roof’s overall durability. Installing shingles in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit ensures they have the opportunity to properly seal and provide long-lasting protection against the elements.

5. Manufacturer’s Recommendations: Most asphalt shingle manufacturers specify in their installation guidelines that shingles should be installed in moderate and warm temperatures. Following these guidelines is essential to ensure the shingles perform as intended and meet the manufacturer’s warranty requirements. Installing shingles in temperatures below the recommended range may void the warranty.

In summary, installing asphalt shingles in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit is essential to activate the adhesive, maintain shingle flexibility, achieve proper nailing, ensure sealing integrity, and comply with many manufacturer’s recommendations. By adhering to these guidelines, homeowners can ensure the longevity and effectiveness of their roof, providing reliable protection for their homes.

Now is definitely the time to ensure your roof is ready for the winter! Although installing asphalt shingles at temperatures below 40 degrees can be challenging, it isn’t impossible…

The Northern Kentucky – Cincinnati area winter months inevitably bring weather conditions that are not conducive to installing certain types of roofs. Doing so requires additional work, materials, and planning all of which increase the price of getting a roof installed.

Extra Steps: When You Must Install Asphalt Shingles In Cold Weather

To address the challenges cold weather creates, roofers need to take additional precautions and use specialized materials designed for cold weather installations. Some common practices and considerations for installing asphalt shingles in cold weather include:

  • Specialized Adhesives: Roofers may use special adhesives that remain flexible in cold temperatures, ensuring proper bonding of shingles.
  • Hand Sealing: Roofers might need to manually seal the shingles using roofing cement or adhesive in areas where the sealant strips might not effectively bond due to cold weather.
  • Sun Exposure: Installing shingles during the warmer parts of the day when there is some sunlight can help soften the material and improve flexibility.
  • Proper Storage: Shingles should be stored in a warm area before installation to prevent them from becoming too brittle.
  • Nailing Techniques: Roofers may need to adjust their nailing techniques to avoid overdriving the nails, which could damage the shingles.
  • Quality Control: Roofers should be particularly vigilant during cold weather installations, ensuring each shingle is properly sealed and nailed to prevent issues in the future.

Shingle Manufacturer Requirements & Guidelines For Cold Weather Installs

Following the specific guidelines provided by a roofing material manufacturer is crucial, as they often include recommendations for installation in different weather conditions.

For example GAF recommends the following when installing Asphalt shingles in Cold Weather…

AnyWeather Roofing is a certified GAF Master Elite Roofer in Cincinnati

During installations in cold weather, installers should:

  • Store shingles in an area that is heated above 70°F the day before installation. This will make the shingles more pliable and easier to install.
  • Adjust the sealing time depending on the slope of the roof. The roof’s orientation and level of exposure to sun and heat exposure can also affect the timing. Shingles may need to be hand-sealed if the temperature is too low to activate the adhesive promptly.

Leak barriers such as GAF StormGuard and WeatherWatch help prevent water from entering through the roof deck, protecting homeowners from water damage caused by ice dams.

Before installing either leak barrier, it is important to ensure that the roof deck is dry and air temperatures are between 45°F and 120°F. In the event that installation is absolutely necessary in colder temperatures, we recommend you follow these guidelines:

  • Ensure that the substrate is clean and dry, and that there is no ice, frost, dew, moisture, dust, or dirt present.
  • Store membrane rolls and adhesives overnight at a minimum temperature of 55°F prior to application.
  • Keep materials as warm as possible by gradually removing them from the heated storage as they’re installed. The membranes must be at least 45°F at the time of application when the air temperature is below 40°F.
  • Pre-cut barrier rolls into lengths of 10 to 20 feet.
  • Immediately back nail every 18 in. (46 cm) in the top selvage edge of the sheet. This prevents slippage before the sheet adheres to the deck.
  • Press the membrane firmly onto the substrate and hand-roll the overlapping area to ensure adhesion.
  • Discontinue installation if the membrane is not adhering to the deck or the overlaps are not adhering.” – Installing Timberline Shingles in all seasons

For all the reasons above, the AnyWeather Roofing team highly recommends our customers wait to install a new roof until the weather provides optimal conditions.