Weather Covering For Roofing Projects

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Old 12-22-2015, 05:30 PM   #1
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Weather Covering For Roofing Projects

Howdy gents

Ever since I started roofing about 15 years ago, it's seemed to me like there's gotta be a better way to roof in the winter. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we don't get a lot of freezing temps, we just get rain. LOTS, sometimes. For the last few years, it's actually been relatively dry all winter.. so much so that we've been in a drought up until recently.

And recently, we've broken monthly rainfall totals all across the region. It's NASTY out there. Suffice it to say we're not getting any tear-offs done.

So I am once again revisiting this idea I've had..... roof tent.

How could you make it work?? In commercial roofing, we use stanchions to put up 200lb safety line... how would this be TOO MUCH different? Yes, wind would be a horrible enemy.. but it still seems like you could construct something sturdy enough to do it.

We currently have the absolute perfect candidate holding in the queue- it's 64 squares of gable-to-gable apartment building. Hardly even any penetrations. It's a week late now, for weather.

I'm thinking you'd roll the edges of a nice thick mil tarp around a piece of static cord, use some kind of rigid stanchion that's 5' high or higher that can be bolted into the roof, and just clamp the absolute crap out of the corded tarp, nice and tight, to your stanchions.

Doesn't need to last long - just long enough to get it opened up, cleaned up, and underlayment put down.

Thoughts? Anyone ever actually done it?
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Old 12-22-2015, 05:53 PM   #2
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Re: Weather Covering For Roofing Projects

Here in Northern Maine, you don't roof in the winter - unless you don't know any better. But I have thought of doing something similar. I once did a shed dormer with another carpenter where we covered the roof with a huge tarp. We propped it up at the ridge and nailed down the edges. Thankfully, things cleared out the next day or so. But we gained a day....and a few saw cuts in the tarp!

But I would do something like you said. Make a ridge high enough to walk under and then bring it down to the ground. Or the top of scaffolding. Kind of like camping, but what a tent! We won't talk about wind gusts yet......


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Old 12-22-2015, 06:18 PM   #3
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Re: Weather Covering For Roofing Projects

Originally Posted by bkb0000 View Post

Thoughts? Anyone ever actually done it?
I've tented various parts of building exteriors, including roofs. Wind is the biggest problem. If you make it high enough to stand up under, you can get a couple thousand pounds of uplift or side force on it. I hold it in place with screws through wood battens. If you use a rope and wind gets up over 10 MPH or so, there's a good chance you're going to get flattened against the roof. Personally, I wouldn't do it again, but if I did, I'd make a light weight rigid frame I could move across the roof as I went, and screw it to the roof as I went. A 2 1/2" or 3" screw every 2' has worked well for me, but I only do a 10' strip at a time (20' wide tarp). Bigger than that, and any wind makes it really tough to handle - it'll take you right off the roof. Use something that light will get through, or you'll be working with a headlamp on.

Keep in mind you have to cut the underlay long so you can put it over the trailing screw holes when you move it.

This was very much not fun, but it's possible.
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Old 12-22-2015, 07:46 PM   #4
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Re: Weather Covering For Roofing Projects

Roof tents are nothing new but you generally need specialized scaffolding and trusses if you insist on genuine safety...which you should be. It ain't as simple as hiding under a tarp

Talk to your local scaffolding company, they'd be thrilled in quoting it out.

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Old 12-22-2015, 09:09 PM   #5
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Re: Weather Covering For Roofing Projects

If your just looking to keep the building dry, its not hard to have a tarp attached to the ridge and just roll it down as you go. Roll it back up on your way up.
It sucks but does the trick, I would only consider it in very dire circumstances, ie roof has to be done by xx date.
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Old 12-23-2015, 06:38 AM   #6
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Re: Weather Covering For Roofing Projects

Have you seen the tents they use for termite work.

Seems like there would be a similar type that you could pump air in there and create a dome. Probably wouldn't hold up under snow load. Maybe not even the weight of rain, but it gets my mind going when we are on a project and loosing days. I just think, "If we had a big dome, we could keep on working."

I know it would not be in the budget, but I guy can dream.
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Old 12-29-2015, 08:42 AM   #7
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Re: Weather Covering For Roofing Projects

I've seen them on new construction sites before. The ones I've seen were just roof jacks with the foot board and then some simple framing from 2x4s. One at the edge and one at the peak and then one or two more in the middle depending on roof dimensions. Plastic sheet over the top and down the sides. Then they either pump heat in there or have a propane heater right up on the roof.

It really didn't take them long to set up and was pretty sturdy from the wind. They used the reinforced plastic that masons use. Then just moved up as needed and when done with one side they set it up on the other.

I've never had the need to do something like this before. Don't do much new construction roofing and if I do its in the summer. And I don't think this method would work good for a tear off.
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:10 PM   #8
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Re: Weather Covering For Roofing Projects

Why not just felt as you tear off? Tear off from the top down felt as you go. When you get to the bottom your dried in and ready to start shingles.


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