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  1. #1
    Scott Ludtke's Avatar
    Scott Ludtke Guest

    Default Winter Shingling

    I have a simple question in general, and I am seeking feedback from any and all people interested in providing their opinion, expertise, and especially what local building codes say about it. Geographical location is not important.

    * * * * * *

    As a roofer we often times install shingles in the winter. In addition to the cold, there are also the elements of ice and snow that play a role in this difficult endeavor. What I lack knowledge of is whether there are any building codes that govern this practice? I ask this because of numerous concerns I feel are relevant.

    The primary concern is the ice and/or snow that we often shingle over. We do make the best effort to remove all ice and snow, but some times its just not possible. Needless to say, by failing to remove all ice and snow there is the obvious issue of moisture between the shingles, felt and the roof deck. Clearly, once the dwelling attains heat the ice and snow melt and the moisture has to go somewhere? Usually there is no heat until the insulation, drywall, and vapor barrier have been installed, so here we go with "trapped" moisture. Inevitably it is going to be a mold/mildew problem, at least in my estimation.


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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Winter Shingling

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Ludtke View Post
    I have a simple question in general, and I am seeking feedback from any and all people interested in providing their opinion, expertise, and especially what local building codes say about it. Geographical location is not important.

    * * * * * *

    As a roofer we often times install shingles in the winter. In addition to the cold, there are also the elements of ice and snow that play a role in this difficult endeavor. What I lack knowledge of is whether there are any building codes that govern this practice? I ask this because of numerous concerns I feel are relevant.

    The primary concern is the ice and/or snow that we often shingle over. We do make the best effort to remove all ice and snow, but some times its just not possible. Needless to say, by failing to remove all ice and snow there is the obvious issue of moisture between the shingles, felt and the roof deck. Clearly, once the dwelling attains heat the ice and snow melt and the moisture has to go somewhere? Usually there is no heat until the insulation, drywall, and vapor barrier have been installed, so here we go with "trapped" moisture. Inevitably it is going to be a mold/mildew problem, at least in my estimation.
    What do the manufacturers say about installing their products in freezing conditions like you have noted?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
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    Chicago, IL
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    Default Re: Winter Shingling

    AFAIK, there are no specific code requirements, I direct clients to this ARMA tech bulletin: http://www.asphaltroofing.org/pdf/tb1_new.pdf and note that 1) the shingles are more subject to mechanical damage during cold weather installs, 2) the recommendation that the shingles be individually sealed down during cold weather installs and 3) the recommendation WRT open valleys.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 02-04-2011 at 07:34 AM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  4. #4
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    Southern Vancouver Island
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    Default Re: Winter Shingling

    If you're a roofer, you've got a tiger torch. Why not melt that ice? I wouldn't work on ice on a roof but I guess nowadays, everybody depends on a harness and a rope to save them.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  5. #5
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    Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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    Default Re: Winter Shingling

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Ludtke View Post
    I have a simple question in general, and I am seeking feedback from any and all people interested in providing their opinion, expertise, and especially what local building codes say about it. Geographical location is not important.

    * * * * * *

    As a roofer we often times install shingles in the winter. In addition to the cold, there are also the elements of ice and snow that play a role in this difficult endeavor. What I lack knowledge of is whether there are any building codes that govern this practice? I ask this because of numerous concerns I feel are relevant.

    The primary concern is the ice and/or snow that we often shingle over. We do make the best effort to remove all ice and snow, but some times its just not possible. Needless to say, by failing to remove all ice and snow there is the obvious issue of moisture between the shingles, felt and the roof deck. Clearly, once the dwelling attains heat the ice and snow melt and the moisture has to go somewhere? Usually there is no heat until the insulation, drywall, and vapor barrier have been installed, so here we go with "trapped" moisture. Inevitably it is going to be a mold/mildew problem, at least in my estimation.
    Scott, your concerns are warranted. Building codes do govern roof installations. And, building codes also require you to follow manufacturers' installation instructions. Read them carefully, because you will discover a section that requires roofing materials to be installed on dry surfaces. Snow covered (even a little) does not equal dry. A call-back to replace a roof because it was not properly installed will be expensive - and it does happen.

    Fred Comb, ACI
    Mahtomedi, MN
    www.homeinspectionsofmn.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Winter Shingling

    Long time reader first time post. As a long time general contractor in the northeast and now a home inspector in Las Vegas for the last five years you do not not install roof shingles over snow and ice. There are some towns in New Jersey that require you to submit manufaturer installation instructions with permit application. Anyone that goes on a roof with snow and ice needs to sign up for the funny farm. Pun intended.

    Jerry DiGiovanni
    Las Vegas Nv


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Winter Shingling

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry DiGiovanni View Post
    Long time reader first time post. As a long time general contractor in the northeast and now a home inspector in Las Vegas for the last five years you do not not install roof shingles over snow and ice. There are some towns in New Jersey that require you to submit manufaturer installation instructions with permit application. Anyone that goes on a roof with snow and ice needs to sign up for the funny farm. Pun intended.

    Jerry DiGiovanni
    Las Vegas Nv
    Jerry, welcome to posting, nice to hear from you! You say not to shingle over snow and ice, but Scott has a point in his orginal posting, WHY? Granted, I don't think Scott has dropped shingles with humps of snow under them and as he mentioned, he cleaned the deck as much as he could.

    I am from the midwest and often needed to shingle in the winter. Sometimes you leave at night with a dry roof deck and come back in the morning with 6 inches of snow. BTW a torch does work well to remove ice... You can't abandon the project until spring, progress needs to happen.

    I agree winter shingling is not a good idea, the shingles never want to seal properly.

    Randy Gordon, construction
    Michigan Building Inspector/Plan Reviewer

  8. #8
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
    Mitchell Toelle Guest

    Default Re: Winter Shingling

    Door Guy,

    Could please speak to the various manufacturers requirements regarding surface conditions during installation? Do you find that the majority of manufacturers recommend or require a "dry surface" prior to installation of their product? If so, wouldn't this answer the OP's question, regardless of the "difficulty" involved in ensuring a dry surface?


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Winter Shingling

    Quote Originally Posted by Door Guy View Post
    Jerry, welcome to posting, nice to hear from you! You say not to shingle over snow and ice, but Scott has a point in his orginal posting, WHY? Granted, I don't think Scott has dropped shingles with humps of snow under them and as he mentioned, he cleaned the deck as much as he could.

    I am from the midwest and often needed to shingle in the winter. Sometimes you leave at night with a dry roof deck and come back in the morning with 6 inches of snow. BTW a torch does work well to remove ice... You can't abandon the project until spring, progress needs to happen.

    I agree winter shingling is not a good idea, the shingles never want to seal properly.
    Door Guy.
    I never abandoned a job. Most of the time time I would get in and out on a roof job in one or two days. Would always check wheather forcast befor strting job. If forcast was good it was a go. If foc ast was bad it was a no go.

    Jerry DiGiovanni


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Winter Shingling

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry DiGiovanni View Post
    Door Guy.
    I never abandoned a job. Most of the time time I would get in and out on a roof job in one or two days. Would always check wheather forcast befor strting job. If forcast was good it was a go. If foc ast was bad it was a no go.

    Jerry DiGiovanni
    Jerry, that's fine when your just doing a roof, just look at the forecast (if you can trust it) and then plan accordingly. When you doing a complete house you don't have that option. We built a house once that started just before Thanksgiving with a temp. of 50 degrees, poured the basement and the next week the windchill was -20 below. Man that was a cold winter!

    Randy Gordon, construction
    Michigan Building Inspector/Plan Reviewer

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Winter Shingling

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell Toelle View Post
    Door Guy,

    Could please speak to the various manufacturers requirements regarding surface conditions during installation? Do you find that the majority of manufacturers recommend or require a "dry surface" prior to installation of their product? If so, wouldn't this answer the OP's question, regardless of the "difficulty" involved in ensuring a dry surface?
    Mitchell, actually often times when it's cold and snows, material stay dryer than when it rains. The snow is frozen and doesn't stick when it's really cold, it sweeps or blows off quite easily. I personally think cold is almost as bad or worse than wet? What do you think?

    Randy Gordon, construction
    Michigan Building Inspector/Plan Reviewer

  12. #12
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
    Mitchell Toelle Guest

    Default Re: Winter Shingling

    Door Guy said: "I personally think cold is almost as bad or worse than wet? What do you think?"

    I think that whatever material I was using, whether roofing material, cementous material, caulking material, finish material.....I followed what the manufacturers recommendations were. If that, in regards to this subject of roof covering, was to ensure a certain criteria for temperature or moisture, then I would either wait or provide for another means of obtaining that criteria. Torch or other means of drying, torch or other means of sealing tabs, etc...... So much to consider regarding these factors. To the OP....read, read and read again...then offer advice to your Client or follow manufacturers recommendations..


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Winter Shingling

    Been holding off on a comment to see what happened with posts first.
    30+ yrs in contracting is basis for opinion. Been there.

    Have had to shovel snow off roof to get to shingle. Job was a full tear off and 50 % new deck (subroof). No choice to come back since house was going to closing in 7 days.

    Bottom line deck surface has to be dry. How do you get that. Tarps-tarps-tarps. With a tear off, I work in sections that I can complete that day. If not completed it's tarped along with the rest of the roof. Winter roofing is tough with short daylight hours. Gutters with ice and roof with ice damn, if its in the way it gets torn off and replaced. Cost higher but its the cost of winter and bad weather.

    What ever you have to do, you can not go over wet materials. For two reasons, 1) totally bad idea, 2) Against manufactures guidelines for installation. Number 1 is more important than number 2.

    In all practical application in the real world the shingle not able to seal them selves is off set by the fact that the shingle is so stiff they will not blow off. I never had a problem, but always was prepared to be back to replace any damage as the result of them not being sealed down. Which added to the original cost of the job as quoted.

    If you have to do a roof in bad weather then you have to do more work and alot more preparation and prevention. But it all adds to the cost.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Winter Shingling

    We did mostly new construction. When it would snow we wouldn't work for a few days and cabin fever would set in, plus the builder would start harping so we would go out and shovel it off the roof, felt paper and all. Start fresh off the dry deck and repaper.

    Three tabs wasn't to much of a problem it was the thick dimensional shingles that gave the problems. They where very brittle and did not like to bend. We would leave our caulk tubes laying on the dash facing the sun.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

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