Winter Roofing 101- Navigating the Break-In Period of Asphalt Shingles
By David J Cohen – Licensed Roofing Contractor
As winter rolls in, homeowners considering roofing projects often question how asphalt shingles will perform in the cold months, particularly during their initial “break-in” period.

Understanding the Break-In Period

The “break-in period” refers to the time after installing new asphalt shingles, during which they adapt to their new environment.
Warmer weather typically hastens this process, thanks to the sun’s heat and UV rays. However, during winter, shingles can appear bumpy or wavy, reflecting the shape they had in their packaging.

The Impact of Winter on Installation

In colder temperatures, asphalt shingles become less malleable, maintaining their packaged shape longer. This can result in an unusual appearance initially, but it’s a temporary phase. The shingles will flatten and form a proper seal with exposure to heat and sunlight over several weeks.

Performance Unaffected, With Considerations

The performance of asphalt shingles during this period remains reliable, but homeowners in high wind areas should take special note.
In such regions, it’s recommended to hand-seal the shingles, an additional step that might come with extra costs but is crucial for maintaining roof integrity against strong winds.
This precaution ensures that the shingles are securely attached and will perform as expected, even before they fully seal themselves in warmer conditions.

Installation in Cold Weather

Roofing in winter requires certain precautions. Installers often choose milder days, as extreme cold can make shingles brittle. If temperatures are too low, the adhesive may need manual sealing, as the cold delays its activation.

Advantages of Winter Installation

Winter installations offer scheduling ease and immediate resolution of roofing issues, preventing potential damage from worsening.
Long-Term Outlook
Post break-in, asphalt shingles are durable and can withstand diverse weather, from intense heat to freezing temperatures. Regular maintenance, such as debris removal and ensuring proper attic ventilation, extends roof life.
Installing asphalt shingles in winter is feasible with understanding and patience. Recognizing the natural adaptation of shingles during the break-in period and taking necessary precautions, especially in high wind areas, ensures a secure and effective roof. With proper installation and care, your shingle roof will be a reliable protective barrier in any season.