Sometimes home improvement, like roofing, come at the worst possible times namely roofing projects in the winter. Roofing in cold weather is a bit more difficult then roofing in warm weather, as the elements play a factor in how shingles are properly laid down and adhere to the roof itself. Because of this different materials and tools are required for roofing in cold weather, as well as things that keep you safe on the roof itself in these conditions.
Making Roof Shingles Stick
Making roof shingles effectively stick to the top of the house in summer is difficult enough as the natural adhesive underneath the tiles must warm to a steady 60 degrees F to properly attach themselves to the roof itself. In cold weather this is obviously an impossibility, so other tools or products must be used to make these shingles stick. An easy, safer but more painstaking way to do this is with roofing cement, which needs to be applied to each individual shingle with the right amount. The other effective, quick but possibly dangerous way to do this is with a nail gun. These can be bought or rented and can be very dangerous, so make sure you know what you are doing and that a nail gun will work with your shingles and on your roof itself.
The most common problem affecting cold weather roofing is ice dams, which is basically a mass of ice that forms at the edge of your roof and prevents snow from melting off the roof, effectively soaking sections of the roof and creating water damage to your house. These are difficult to remove as chiseling or picking it off can damage the roof and melting it off with calcium chloride or rock salt doesn't do the job very quickly. Heat tape or heat cable is an effective solution for dealing with these ice dams as it runs a constant stream of heat through where they are laid out along the edge of the roof, but many fires have started from this product, so make sure you investigate it thoroughly.
Cold Weather Safety
The elements also play a factor in your personal safety when roofing in cold weather. Dressing warmly is obvious as it'll be much, much colder on the roof them down below on the ground. Heavy shoes which can break pieces of ice or grip the roof shingles themselves should be worn, along with thinner gloves so you can actually grip things with your fingers and hands. You should also always have at least one other person with you at all times while you are working so if something does happen to where you are in a precarious position or fall someone can immediately go to get help.
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