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How To

The Crucial Role of Application Temperature in Roofing Work

May 18, 2023
Master the art of roofing in fluctuating temperatures with our expert tips. Discover the key factors to consider and the best practices to follow when tackling roofing projects in changing temperature conditions.

When it comes to roofing projects, numerous factors contribute to the overall success and longevity of the finished job. One such critical factor that often goes unnoticed is the application temperature. The temperature at which roofing materials are applied can significantly impact the quality, durability, and effectiveness of the roofing work. In this discussion, we will delve into the importance of application temperature in roofing projects and explore how it affects various roofing materials on flat roofs.

1. Adhesives and Sealants:

Commercial roofing projects often involve the use of adhesives and sealants to secure various components and ensure waterproofing. The application temperature of these materials is crucial to achieving a strong and reliable bond. Low temperatures can inhibit the curing process, leading to a weaker bond and potential water infiltration. Conversely, high temperatures can cause the adhesive or sealant to cure too quickly, preventing proper adhesion and compromising the integrity of the roofing system. Following the manufacturer's temperature guidelines and choosing products specifically formulated for the prevailing conditions are vital for successful bonding. Furthermore, temperature can affect the viscosity of the product in the can at the time of application. Too hot, the material will be too liquid. Too cold, it may not even be soft enough to spread.

When ordering your products (Karnak or otherwise) be aware that most manufacturers make different "grades" for different seasons (in our case, we have Summer, Semi, and Winter grade roofing cements). While the final product will perform the same as all other grades (as long as you are using, for example, Winter-grade during the cold months), the ambient surrounding temperature should match the grade of product you are using.

2. Modified Bitumen:

Modified bitumen roofing systems provide excellent durability and weather resistance, making them popular for commercial and residential flat roofs. The proper application of modified bitumen membranes is highly dependent on temperature. Cold temperatures can make the material stiff and challenging to handle, resulting in difficulties during installation. Additionally, inadequate heat during torching can lead to poor adhesion and an ineffective waterproofing barrier. Conversely, excessive heat can cause the material to become too soft, leading to improper bonding and potential slippage. Maintaining the recommended temperature range is crucial for ensuring a successful modified bitumen roofing installation.

3. Metal Roofing:

Metal roofing is known for its longevity, durability, and aesthetic appeal. During installation, the temperature can impact the expansion and contraction of metal panels. In cold weather, metal panels may contract, making them more difficult to install and potentially causing gaps between the panels. In contrast, high temperatures can cause metal to expand, which may lead to buckling or warping if proper allowances are not made during installation. Understanding the anticipated temperature fluctuations and accounting for them in the installation process is essential for achieving a structurally sound and visually appealing metal roof.


Considering the application temperature is a critical aspect of any roofing project. Whether you are using adhesives and sealants, applying modified bitumen membranes, or working with metal roofing, understanding the impact of temperature on these materials is key to achieving a successful and long-lasting roof. By following manufacturer guidelines, utilizing appropriate techniques, and accounting for weather conditions, roofing professionals can ensure that the materials perform optimally and provide the desired protection and durability for years to come. Remember, when it comes to roofing work, the right temperature can make all the difference.

The Karnak Team

Since 1933, our team at KARNAK has been dedicated to producing top-quality sustainable roofing and building solutions that protect and extend the life of building envelopes while reducing environmental impact. As a family-owned and certified woman-owned business, we pride ourselves on our commitment to quality, durability, and personalized customer service. We specialize in liquid-applied roofing systems, repair products, and comprehensive support through detailed documentation and our Q Applicator Program for contractors.

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