Why you shouldn’t change your roof during winter

Most roof coverings installed in Toronto, Ontario are asphalt shingles. First off what are asphalt shingles?

There are a couple different type of shingles but we’ll focus on fiberglass 3 tab shingles which are the ones that are most commonly used for re-shingling a roof. The fiberglass shingle is encased in asphalt and then has lots of small little granules on it. It’s basic structure or form is fiberglass, what makes them waterproof is the asphalt and what makes them durable is the granules.

There are many different installation methods depending on your region. In Florida where winds are high they use 6 nails per shingle to decrease the chance of it flying away. In Ontario we generally use 4 nails per shingle as we don’t have crazy winds (or at least that often) like those Florida folks. We are also required to have the first 3 feet of our roofs to be protected with eave protection. That’s basically additional waterproofing layer on your roof.

Now to get to what we all came here for, “Why you shouldn’t change your roof during winter”. There are several reasons not to re-shingle in winter but mostly it’s all because of the cold. Shingles become difficult to work, break and don’t seal during winter. Shingles freeze and installation becomes a lot more difficult, match that with the installer being outside in the cold and dreary dead of winter and you have a recipe for disaster. If an installer swings their hammer and misses where they need to hit a shingle can literally have pieces break off. The shingles also come with a strip at the bottom of each one these strips are supposed to melt in the summer heat and basically glue itself to the next shingle it’s laying on. Oh but that’s right its’ -10 outside and there is no summer heat to do any of that. Never mind the fact that a lot of installers do not bother to rip the protective piece of plastic off these shingles never allowing them to seal to the next shingle, but that’s just poor workmanship.

All of these factors: breaking shingles, stiff and difficult to work with material, general temperature and work moral and that the shingles wont be able to seal to the next one. Are all problems that could potentially cause you to have problems with your brand new roof.

We usually recommend to wait until spring or summer and hire professional installers that will do the job right even if it does cost a little bit more money. Sometimes it’s not possible to shingle in the winter like on new homes. The house isn’t going to sit doing nothing for 4 months and work on the inside can’t start until the roof is waterproof. That’s why on next home inspections we take time to look in your attic and at your roof to note any defects or potential future problem areas.