What are your thoughts on cold weather roofing as a roofing contractor? Do you install roofing in the cold because you need to keep eating? Do you take the winter months off and go somewhere warm? What types of systems do you work with in the cold?
Two issues: Can you keep your workforce motivated and focused on quality. There are temperatures that are low, but your workers can be comfortable (say, no wind) and work safely. The moment they become uncomfortable or can't work safely, they worry more about themselves than their work, and it's a good time to stop.
The second issue is the material you're working with. There are different minimum temperatures for different materials, and if you've below this, you're not going to get a quality job no matter what you do.
The reality for a roofing company like us is that we may have 8-9 months of revenue and 12 months of expenses, so we organize ourselves to have enough money in the bank to pay for 12 months. Since the company is employee-owned, we've worked out what kind of pay system to use to make this happen. If it's of interest, let me know and I'll share some of the details.
It sucks but when the builders keep building you can't fly the coup and go south in these months. Actually as of this moment I've not been this busy with new roofs in several years. I'm working alone and have 4 roofs, 58 sq 8/12, 40 sq 6/12, 45sq 8/12, and a 100sq 6/12, 8/12 over half done.
Then there's three more frameing crews going on the next ones.
My father, two uncles, and two brothers, all having roofing businesses and there all busy now too.
I've seen some studies done on how production and safety relate to cold weather. When it's 32F you can expect 40% more accidents and a reduction in production by about 60%. At 50F accidents are up by 8-12% and production is reduced by 30%.
I can't remember who did the study - but we use these numbers when we do any cold weather work.
The biggest problems I have is ice in air lines, hard starting of gas air compressor, cleaning ice and snow off of roof, and short days.
In the winter if there is no snow to sweep or ice to scrape most roofs take an hour or two longer.
My uncles busiest month of the year in MN for his one builder is January. Some January's he's done 30 roofs with two helpers.
Some years we get very mild winters like the the last couple so it's not that bad to work in.
It's the homeowners buying the homes that depict when the roofing gets done. If a buyer signs in November I doubt he would want to wait until spring to have the roofing done.
Have never seen a new construction crew hand nail. Used to see tons staple but now lots are goin to nail guns.
My brother in law used to sell hail damaged roofs in MN. His company would charge around $300 a square for your average one layer 7/12 tear off. The subs would get paid $64 a square to tear off, shingle, load roof up ladder, and haul away all waste. They also hand nailed all roofs. Some body's making big bucks and it sure isn't the laborers!
Don't doubt... ask. Infact many of them don't even give me the chance to ask, they are asking me. "Can we do this before the snow?" The bottom line is: If it's unsafe for my roofers or the work just won't be quality... we will postpone the work. I'd rather lose a job than have a string of warranty claims. Having said that we like to keep our guys working as much as possible.
We hand nail all asphalt/fiberglass shingles... Period. This discussion can be picked up in another thread I started about hand vs guns.
I'd like to meet your brother in law. Insurance claims can be profitable but you really need to know what your doing. There is a ton of legalities involved.
My brother in law no longer works for CRSI. The contract he showed me was a 36 sq hip roof 7/12 for $12,000!
I've had a few home owners say they didn't care if the shingles were put on it the winter. Unless your roofing over ice or snow it's not that much different than in the regular season.
Once I had a problem with a roof installed in the winter. For some reason the W preform valley wrinkled in several places.
I did one insurance job last year. three layer, two shakes, re-deck, install 30 year laminate $500 per square. I could not believe all the waste from 40 squares of wood shingles! Three 13 yard dump trailers full.
26 guage 16 inch wide 10 foot in length (8 inches per side).
This has only happened the one time. It happened on one valley on the house. It could have been a crooked valley from the framers. It was on new roof installed in Jan/Feb. Was called out for siders putting silicone under the tabs when I noticed the valleys.
Now we use roll valley (california style) roof the small roof first then the larger roof and cut in the valley. This way looks the best in my opinion.
My father has been a roofing installer for 30 years and agrees if installed correctly roofing can be done year round in the northern region.
What do I do if one of my three builders calls me a tells me they have a roof ready? (December to March) I can't turn the job down can I? I have over 150 sqares ready to shingle as of this moment. Taking the winter off will not pay the bills!!!
Why do you use open valleys? Is it code? We use a closed valley, cut off system. This means we roof one side 2' over into the other valley then when we are roofing the connecting slope we let the edge overlap about 1' into the valley. Then we cut off the overlap in the center of the valley. This system works well, and with an Ice sheild under it... it never leaks.
Sure roofing can be done, I am not saying it CANT. I am saying that the shingles won't seal... but builders usually don't care about this. They care about production. As you notice I said usually only builders and GC's want roofing done in the winter.
When my builders call me and it's below freezing or wet I tell them NO. No without question. It's unsafe and guys will rush and when guys rush accidents and mistakes happen. I too have a decent work load waiting to be roofed, but if you roof in less than 32 degrees you void your manufacturers warranty.
I budget myself every year so I don't have to earn a penny from January 1st to March 1st and I won't suffer for money. That's part of the business.
We use closed valley. W/I then apply paper a couple inches from point of valley on both sides. Next 18 to 24 inch roll valley metal (fairly thick). Then the smaller roof gets shingled and the ends go about 12 inches past the point of the valley on the other roof. Then the bigger roof gets shingled and the shingles get cut in the valley. We used to primarily use open W perform valley and cut a few inches on either side.
Last September my wife and I drove out to Maine. Houses are roofed a little different on the east coast. Noticed a lot of homes had 36 inches of exposed metal on the eaves and at least a foot and half of metal showing in the valleys. This would help the snow fall off easier, have never seen a home in the twin cities done like that. Also could not believe all slate roofing, rarely ever see it around here. One of the main upgrade shingles in this area is shakes. Most homes in the million dollar price range have a upgrade laminate shingle.
I've never heard that you can void the shingle warranty if installed below freezing. A call to Certainteed is in order to see what they have to say about it. That means my father and i have done hunderds and hundreds of roofs out of warranty.
How many people work for you in the summer? You work in the windy city?
Noticed good workers are very hard to find around here.
Good workers aren't hard to find, if you pay them Our guys are very good workers. Most speak english on a 4th grade level because they are immigrants, but that's no problem. They work hard and get paid well.
Guest, why don't you register and join in on the fun full time?!
GAf was the manufacturer that told me their shingles should not be installed below freezing, and my supplier told me the same holds true for all shingles.
A quick search of the certainteed web site turned up... nothing. Their installation instructions give no specific tempratures. I sent them an e-mail asking them though. I'll keep you posted.
OK I sent an e-mail to all the major manufacturers, and so far here is the response:
TAMKO doesn't recommend a specific temperature for shingle application. Our
application instructions state: "In cold weather (below 40°F), care must be
taken to avoid damage to the edges and corners of the shingles."
Thank you for selecting TAMKO Roofing Products.
There is no minimum temperature. Just be careful not to strike the
shingles hard with anything, as they get more brittle the colder it gets.
We also recommend putting a spot (1" in diam.) of asphalt roofing cement
under the corners of each tab, to ensure they seal properly.
Thanks for writing Certainteed.
I try to hire US citizens, kind of afraid to get in trouble with some illegal aliens. Talk to some guys who pay there imigrants $8-10 an hour, cash of course. Most Mexicans are very hard workers by what I've been told. My helpers won't even get on the roof for $10 an hour. I trained my brother how to roof a few years back. He started at $10 and worked his way up to $25-30, then he whent on his own. Other than that I've not yet had a worker who was worth spending the time to train to roof. Now my buddy of ten years is laying shingles and doing ok.
Man, was it cold today on the roof. Never got above zero with a 20mph wind all day. My eylashes froze towards the end of the day! We were putting on Landmarks which really sucked.
For cold weather roofing IKO Dynasty is the best I've used.
One of these days I'll have to register. Can you choose your own password? Sick of some forums were you have to try to remember some 10 letter password every time you post.
This summer I had a guy from Mexico (been here 10 years with green card a drivers license) help bundle shingles for me. He may have been the hardest worker I've seen yet plus the homeowner paid his wages!!! One of the other hardest workers I've seen was actually a Woman??? She worked for my father when I worked for him and she could bundle shingles for both of us. On average we could put on 5-6 sq an hour together and she never skipped a beat. When she had us set up with shingles on the jacks she would even through us shingles!
Grumpy? I didn't see that post on hand nails vrs. nail guns. post a link.
BTW, not working today -16 actual tempature with a decent wind and it's snowing a little.
Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum
A forum community dedicated to professional construction and remodeling contractors. Come join the discussion about the industry, trades, safety, projects, finishing, tools, machinery, styles, scales, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!