roofing adhesive in winter

Managing Roofing Adhesive Temperatures In Cold Weather

It’s been cold out there! But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to complete commercial roofing projects that require temperature-sensitive adhesives — you just need to be creative.

Last winter, when our team was re-roofing the terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, we used a multi-step process to keep roofing adhesive temperatures consistent during re-roofing.

The air was freezing so even transporting the adhesive from one warm place to another could create enough of a temperature change to cause the adhesive’s physical properties to change. Cold adhesives become rigid and unworkable since the adhesive is what holds down the membrane.

Storing, transporting and applying adhesives during winter

Step one in managing the temperature was to store the adhesive in our temperature-controlled warehouse in Norcross. Step two was to transport it in a pre-warmed van to a temperature-controlled mechanical room at the airport that’s near the rooftop access point. Step three was to transport it from the mechanical room to the roof in an insulated cart we built by modifying a roof cart with roofing insulation. Step four was to keep the adhesive in the cart, moving it across the roof as we worked.

We would bring out just enough adhesive from the mechanical room that we would be able to use before it began cooling off.

Constraints we can’t control

But even this elaborate process wasn’t 100% foolproof. We still had to delay installation if temperatures outside were too low, and we could only work in the daytime on sunny days (we often also work at night on major projects). Our team spent a lot of time analyzing the ever-changing weather so we could manage our workflow around it.

The extra effort was worth it because this adhesive, Firestone’s I.S.O. Twin Pack™ Adhesive, has no harmful HCFCs (Hydrochlorofluorocarbons), CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons), or smelly VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that would disturb or concern airport users. These are the specifications required by the airport for all of its roofing applications.

So while it’s true you definitely have to jump through some hoops to manage roofing adhesive temperatures in the winter, it is doable! Feel free to contact us if you want more details about our process or re-roofing.

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