What Temperature Does it Have to be to Fix Your Roof?

It is not unusual for me to be quizzed by folks as to what temperature it is ok to paint on the exterior of one’s home.

Many may think this is a valid question as even the most novice of homeowners would realize that 25 degrees (Fahrenheit) seems too cold to paint outside, but is 45 degrees ok?

These days, my answer to that question (given today’s technology and our trial & error in the field experimentation since 1995) would ideally be daytime highs of at least 40 degrees [assuming the moisture content of whatever is being painted is 15% or less and long term (3+ days) overnight lows are projected to be 15 degrees or above, though I personally am comfortable with 35-40 degree daytime highs].

While the question of ideal minimum exterior painting temperatures may seem like a common question, particularly at certain periods of the year, one that although not as frequent, is one we certainly get asked about is what temperature does it have to be to fix your roof?

As you might imagine, there are a number of ways to answer this question.

If after a bit of digging, the actual question is at what temperature does it need to be to replace the roof (a traditional shingled roof) instead of simply ‘fixing’ it, the answer from me could be slightly different.

We have done whole roof replacements in January with the temperatures in the teens during the day and absolutely no issues occurring down the line.

In fact, as crazy as it may sound, these types of colder temperatures are actually quite comfortable working weather when replacing a roof as well.

There is no secret that replacing a roof is enormously arduous work.

With the temperatures being colder, and the amount of physical exertion that is needed in roofing, these types of what would normally be thought of as freezing temperatures are actually quite welcome.

Obviously, there is a limit, we probably would not be replacing a roof if the temperatures were in the single digits with a negative windchill factor.

But contrary to what one may initially think, there is flexibility to replace a roof in temperatures which most would view as quite cold, as the sun hitting the roof does a surprisingly impressive job, even in colder times of the year, heating up the roof shingles to a degree where the product properly takes.

Though we are ok with installing roof shingles when the temperatures are a bit lower, do keep in mind that the roof shingles may take a bit longer to fully settle than at times of the year when the temperatures are a bit milder (i.e. you may have shingles that although watertight, may cosmetically have a slight ripple appearance until the temps heat up a bit and allow the shingles to fully achieve their permanent appearance).

In terms of what temperature is ok for conducting an actual roof “repair”, my answer will vary.

If we would be doing a repair that was in-line with similar action as is done when replacing a shingled roof – examples being reflashing a chimney, installing a skylight, etc. – my answer would be in-line with that of replacing the roof.

If we would be doing a repair that was in-line with a product which had to be “applied” to achieve some type of a patch or a sealant, my answer would be in-line with that mentioned at the beginning of this article when reviewing the ideal temperatures for exterior painting.

There are exceptions to this.

Rubber roofing repairs, as an illustration, should not be conducted unless the daytime high temperature is expected to be in the 50s (except in extreme emergencies when you may not have a choice and a bit of ‘dice rolling’ may be necessary) as the glue needed to properly tack down a rubber roof truly needs temperatures to be a bit higher than other application-type products whose minimum temperature requirements are a bit lower.

Roofing, whether replacing an entire roof or conducting a needed repair, is no easy task and colder temperatures at certain periods of the year definitely may complicate things.

However, it is important to realize that in many circumstances a repair may not have to be held off until a “warmer” time in the calendar and that they can often be properly conducted in colder temperatures than one may initially realize with long term successful outcomes.

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