As the cooler weather of fall sets in, it’s a good time to remember that adhesives don’t respond well to cold temperatures. This may slow certain jobs or inhibit adhesive work early in the day, but the consequences of ignoring a manufacturer’s recommendations for application temperatures are severe.
The industry standard recommendation is to apply adhesives in temperatures that are 40 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. However, water-based adhesives can be even more temperature sensitive. When in doubt, it’s best to wait until you’re certain that temperatures are appropriate. Making a borderline call can be a mistake because:
- The substrate upon which you’re applying the adhesive is often below 40 degrees even if the air temperature is well above that. Metal holds cold and doesn’t warm as quickly as the air.
- Ambient moisture further degrades the effectiveness of adhesives. If it’s a cool and foggy, hazy, misty or even overcast day, it’s best to skip any adhesive work.
No adhesive on the market works well under 40 degrees, and there are no shortcuts. Keeping your adhesive indoors and warm is a good practice any time of the year, but it doesn’t help keep it at the appropriate temperature during application. Freezing temperatures damage adhesives, so it’s important to store them correctly, but regardless of the adhesive’s temperature at the time of application, it will quickly cool to match the surfaces it’s applied on and the air temperature.
Here are a couple of ideas to help ensure your adhesives are correctly applied and that you can keep your jobs on schedule during cooler weather.
- Use an inexpensive portable electronic thermometer to check the temperature of both the air and all substrate surface temperatures. Check everywhere that adhesive is being applied.
- Take advantage of the time you can’t apply adhesive to work on project details like welding or flashing. You can even get a start on the cleanup process. Keep your team busy—as long as they’re working on anything that doesn’t involve adhesives.
Why It Matters
If a roof isn’t adhered correctly, it’s likely to cost you time and money, usually right away. That’s because improper adhesion is easy to spot, no matter what material is being used. When it’s inspected after installation, the roof won’t pass or meet warranty requirements. This means that any section affected must be cut out and replaced as soon as possible. It will require all new material, and if the substrate and insulation are affected, it could add to an already painful bill—an expensive proposition. Following temperature guidelines and avoiding risks will always pay off.
For more tips on roof installations, contact FiberTite.