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Ten tips for roofing in cold weather

Winter is coming! While it’s still possible to carry out roofing jobs, there are a few things you need to take into consideration when working in cold weather.

1. Get warm! Seems obvious, but make sure you are well protected from the cold. There is a Scandinavian saying that states: "There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing".

2. Safety first. The risk of accidents increases in cold weather due to ice, snow, less daylight, etc. Therefore, extra care should be taken when walking on the roof.

3. How to tell when it’s too cold for roofing? If temperatures are below 4ºC, or there is a lot of snow or ice on the roof BE CAREFUL and follow recommendations stated below.

4. EPDM and TPO membrane panels usually relax within 30 minutes of placement. Cold weather application extends this waiting time. Also, when folds are present in the membrane, it will take them longer to dissipate.

5. TPO membranes become more rigid in cold temperatures. To help them relax, remove the outer wrapping and leave the roll in the sunlight as long as possible first thing on the day of installation. This will enable the darker bottom ply of the membrane to absorb as much heat as possible and increase the membrane’s flexibility.

6. Cold temperatures change the physical properties of adhesives, sealants, primers, and coatings. Warm storage areas (at room temperature) are required to keep them at useable temperatures. The quantity of material that is brought onto the roof should be limited and kept in insulated boxes, eventually with an internal heat source.

7. When liquid materials are cold, their viscosity increases, which may cause solvents and solids to separate. This separation can make mixing and dispensing difficult. Only bring materials from storage to the roof 1 to 4 hours prior to application.

8. Drying times of adhesives, primers and sealants depend on ambient conditions. Cold weather will extend their drying time. To check for appropriate dryness, perform "touch-push" tests, touching the surface with a clean dry finger. The adhesive or primer should feel tacky but not string to the finger.

9. In cold weather condensation risk is high. It’s always highly recommended to do a test splice to determine the suitability of seaming and adhesion. Surfaces must be dry and free from any contamination before application.

10. If it’s too cold to work on the roof, why not join one of our seminars? The winter season is ideal to polish your skills and learn new ones!