Q: Is it OK to install a new roof while it’s raining? I’m having a new roof installed over 20-year-old OSB (oriented strand board) sheathing. It started raining during the install. Good news is that they did a section at a time, so the OSB was exposed to fairly light rain and drizzle for about a half-hour before peel-and-stick membrane was installed. Is that a problem?
Sailor K., Tampa, Fla.
A: A reputable contractor keeps tabs on the weather and won’t begin installing a roof if it’s raining or expected to rain. Doing so puts workers at risk of falling off a wet roof and unnecessarily exposes your home to damage for which the contractor might be held liable.
That doesn’t mean that an unexpected rain or drizzle won’t occur during the roof replacement. If it starts to rain or drizzle, the roofers should act quickly to cover your OSB — most likely with a tarp.
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One of the roofing pros we spoke with says mist won’t affect OSB any more than the humidity that OSB absorbs on a hot day. OSB isn’t extremely sensitive to small amounts of water because resin and wax is manufactured into the layered product. Also, the edges of the panels are treated with a sealant to resist moisture penetration.
That said, pros say a new roof should never be installed over wet wood or a wrinkled barrier. Doing so goes against the building codes in most communities, and the shingles won’t adhere.
When a roof deck is exposed to water and absorbs enough to swell, it should be allowed to dry before any roofing material is applied, to avoid trapping moisture under the roof material that could cause the edges to swell or buckle.
If your contractor discovers damaged decking while installing your roof, it should be sanded or replaced before the new roof is applied. The contractor should also properly vent the roof.
Because many states don’t require roofing contractors to be licensed, experts recommend checking your local building codes or meeting with a building inspector before hiring a roofing contractor. Read reviews and check references to find an experienced roofer who does quality work and carries liability insurance. Before you hire anyone, ask what precautions the roofer will take if it starts to rain while the roof is being installed and come to an agreement before the job begins.
Staff writer Cynthia Wilson contributed to this report.
Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on Angieslist.com to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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