When is it too cold to install roof


Winter temperatures might have your fingers feeling frozen and your crews cold, but does that mean your bottom line has to freeze, too? Should you press pause on roofing bids and business? The answer to this question depends in large part on the roofing systems and products you're using. Learn about the temperature thresholds of common low slope roofing systems, plus tips for safer roofing in winter. You can keep your season rolling with GenFlex!   


Cold Temperatures Affect Roofing Materials

Similar to how low winter temperatures cause everything from water to motor oil to thicken and sometimes freeze, cold weather changes roofing materials, too. Low temperatures alter the physical properties of roofing adhesives, sealants, primers, and coatings, and the handling characteristics of roofing membranes as they become more rigid in the cold.  While low temperatures might change certain materials, the cold doesn't have to put an end to your roofing season as long as you use the right products for the job and follow specific storage and application recommendations  


What's the Right Material for Roofing in Winter?

A successful roofing project in winter starts with specifying the right material.  “In situations where roofing work must take place in unfavorable weather, such as when construction project sequencing requires roofing work be conducted in late fall and winter, building owners and designers should consider specifying roofing products and/or roof system types that are not as sensitive,” advises the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). GenFlex Seam2Seam™ EPDM SA and Quick Jet Spray Adhesive are two such winter-ready roofing products.  Seam2Seam™ is a seamless, self-adhered EPDM rubber membrane that can be installed in temperatures as low as 20 °F (-7 °C) and rising. Its Secure Bond adhesive technology eliminates the need for seam tape and buckets of bonding adhesive. Installation is fast and easy — something your roofing crew will be grateful for on a cold winter day!  In situations where you aren't working with an SA membrane, there's Quick Jet. Quick Jet is an LVOC spray adhesive that can be used in temperatures as low as 25 ˚F (-4 ˚C). Its portable, resealable canister is easy to use and covers 1,000 square feet completed. Just make sure you properly store the Quick Jet canister between jobs, and bring it up to 70 ˚F before use.   Once you know you're working with the best roofing material for the building, customer, and season, educate yourself. “You need to be aware of the temperature and moisture-related limitations of the products and systems you use and install,” notes the NRCA. The best way to do this is to read the manufacturer's installation instructions and cold weather guidelines. When in doubt, reach out to your local sales rep.


Product NameCold Temp BenefitSizePart Number
GenFlex Seam2Seam™ EPDM SA

Application 20 °F and rising; No seam tape

10'X100′ Roll
10’X100’ Roll
GenFlex EZ TPO PEEL & STICK™Application 20 °F and rising; No seam tape10’X100’ RollW59GSA1610
GenFlex One Step Insulation AdhesiveApplication 20 °F and rising; No blush750 ML Kits,
4 kits per carton
GenFlex TPO Bonding Adhesive LVOCApplication 20 °F and rising; No blush5 GALW590030398
GenFlex EPDM Bonding Adhesive LVOCApplication 20 °F and rising; No blush5 GALW590010174


Tips for Safer Roofing in Winter

Talk to your crew about the chilling dangers of roofing in winter, especially those new to your team. Health risks of roofing in the cold can include hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot. The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) recommends the following tips for working in cold weather.   

  1. Dress warm, with inner and outer layers that can be removed. Wear a hat or hood that covers your ears and a knit face mask. Check that your gloves and boots are insulated, waterproof, and hole-free. 
  2. Clear ice off of everything. Remove ice from all equipment and work surfaces before getting started.
  3. Hydrate with the right liquids. “The colder it gets, the more energy you need to use to stay warm,” and the more likely you are to become dehydrated, notes the CPWR. While you might be tempted to load up on coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, you should actually avoid liquids with caffeine. Caffeinated fluids can cause your body to lose heat. Instead, drink plenty of warm soups and sports drinks. 
  4. Stay alert and listen to your body! Take breaks. Watch for symptoms of cold-weather illnesses and injuries. Work with a buddy so you can spot signs in one another, too. 


In the end, it's not too cold to install a roof when you're equipped with the right GenFlex materials and know-how. Extend your roofing season and lay more square feet with Seam2Seam™ EPDM or Quick Jet Spray Adhesive. Learn more and find GenFlex products near you today. We have roofing experts on staff to help you do more in the winter months.