If your facility needs a new roof and you’ve put it off because of other priorities, there’s no need wait until spring for an installation. Commercial roofing systems can be installed in the wintertime. However, you should be confident that the contractor knows how cold weather will affect both the overall roofing situation and the products that will be used during the installation. Here are a few considerations:
- Single-ply commercial roofing systems are typically delivered to the job site in rolls. Manufacturers should have packaging and shipping options available that enable the contractor to roll the membrane out on the roof surface smoothly and evenly, no matter how long the roll has been waiting in the cold to be installed.
- How will the new system be applied to the roof deck? Mechanically attached systems (those fastened to the underlying roof substrate with screws) can be installed virtually year round. However, roof systems that use adhesives have a much narrower temperature range – usually above 40 degrees Fahrenheit – in which they can be installed effectively. In fact, even storing the adhesives in cold weather can permanently damage them and make them unusable.
- Once they’re laid out on the rooftop and attached to the deck, adjacent membrane sheets are joined using glue or hot-air welding (which melts overlapping membrane sections together). In cold weather, glues simply do not work. When it comes to welding, some membrane types have a very narrow temperature range in which they can be welded securely, virtually eliminating a cold-weather installation. By contrast, PVC membranes remain flexible and can be welded effectively even in very cold temperatures, significantly extending the installation season.
- Even roofing systems that use hot air welding during installation will require some amount of caulking and sealing. Those products should be kept warm right up until they’re used to ensure good “flow” and sealing effectiveness.
- Roof edge details, whether made from plastic or metal, expand and contract with temperature changes. If they’re installed during the winter, consideration must be given to their placement and how they will behave when the temperature changes. Long lengths of edge details that are abutted during a winter installation could become a problem as they expand against each other when the weather warms up.
- Roofs can be especially dangerous in the winter, not only because the roof surface is more slippery, but because snow can hide hazards, including skylights and weak areas of the roof deck. Contractors and building owners need to take extra caution by thoroughly surveying the rooftop before sending crews up to do an installation.
If you’re in the market for a new roof installation – either during these waning days of autumn or the winter months – we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your project with you. Please contact us at your convenience.