Roof Installation Advice for Cold Weather

January 24 2019 0comment

Roof Installation Advice for Cold Weather

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With temperatures once again plummeting here in the UK this is bad news for those of us who work outdoors in the construction industry, especially Britain’s army of roofing contractors who often need to work at height during some of the coldest conditions.   The extreme cold brings with it some challenges to overcome, the most important of which are protecting workers and protecting roofs. 

We gave some advice on protecting workers for employers and employees when the winter began so today we’re going to look at what needs to be done to ensure that roofs are protected during the cold spell.

Roofs should always be installed to the BS 5534:2014 Standard which was created to ensure that roofs are more secure during extreme weather conditions.  This requires that:

  • All single lap tiles be fixed mechanically with a certain degree of clipping required on most roofs.
  • Mortar alone is no longer considered sufficient to secure tiles and their fittings to the roof – ridges, hips and verges must also be mechanically fixed.
  • A new fixing specification is necessary for each project to make sure that the roof is as wind-resistant as possible.
  • Any dry fix systems must comply with BS 8612 or have BBS certification.

Other advice and recommendations to consider include:

  • When deciding on which ridge roll product to use, the size of the holes or ventilation features should be taken into account.  Smaller holes will minimise the chance of snow getting through and still meet the requirements of British Standard BS 5250, the Code of Practice covering the control of condensation in buildings.  Make sure a strong adhesive strip is used for maximum security.
  • Mortar should not be used in temperatures lower than 2° as it will be vulnerable to frost damage.  
  • Membranes must be installed to BS 5534 requirements and laps should be sealed to prevent water or snow from entering.
  • Tile vents should include trays which channel water and snow away from holes in the membrane where the vent goes through.  When trays are not used, water running down the roof will enter the hole where the vent is.
  • Don’t rely on a breathable membrane as the sole source of ventilation – breathable membrane does not mean that no other ventilation is necessary.  Some type of supplemental ventilation will be necessary in order to comply with BS 5250.
  • Using a full roof system from a single manufacturer will ensure that all of the different components have been designed and tested to work effectively together. 

The UK winters are long and often quite harsh meaning that protecting ourselves and our homes and buildings from the effects of rain, wind, snow and ice is just part of being British.  We may moan about the cold (and the lack of proper summers on occasion), but we have some of the most stringent safety laws and building regulations in the world which means that we’re tough enough to withstand everything the weather gods have to throw at us.


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