Posted by Allyson Miller on June 29, 2017

Smart survivalist tricks to know when working on hot roofs in summer.


It's hot.

People can fry eggs on their windshield. Traffic cones melt on the road. American Airlines cancels flights out of Phoenix, Arizona because planes can't take-off. 

And, the worst part—being on a roof laying shingles in the blazing sun. One wrong twist of your foot and you just gave a new design to that soft, melting shingle. And thinking about using metal tools...forget about it. 

So, in an effort to celebrate Summer Solstice, here are survivalist tricks from experts in the industry about how to manage working on those hot summer roofs. 

  •  Shingle backwards — If you're shingling a steep roof and the sun's beating down on you, work backwards.  It prevents you having to step on the new shingle and avoid messing them up. If you have a good layout, it should work like a charm. 
  • Wait to let the heat die down — Best case scenario is to get up early, take a break during the hottest part of the day, and come back and finish when it's cooler. Sure, it elongates your project but would you want to risk completely destroying newly-laid shingles? 

  • Carpet scraps —  Your boots are the enemy to malleable, soft shingles. Carpet scraps helps you avoid shifting, scrapping, or messing up shingles. They can also help keep your backside cooler.

  • Water the roof — You might look a little odd to the average passerby, but hookup a sprinkler and place it at the peak of the roof. Getting hit with water a couple times throughout the day takes the cake compared to working through straight heatwaves. 

  • Walk flat-footed —  It's normal to place all of our weight on the balls of our feet, but walk flat-footed instead.  Not that this tip can help you manage the heat, but it saves a little in the frustration department. 

  • Wear bright yellow — If you can't beat the sun, become it. Wearing colors that help to reflect light can keep you cooler. Especially yellow! 

  • Don't leave your metal tools out — Unless you want a nice burn to end your workday, watch where you leave your tools and how you pick them up. Nothing likes to heat up faster than metal on a black roof in the middle of summer. 

  • Water, water, water — You've been told probably six billion times the importance of water when working in the heat. But with water making up 65% of your's sort of a big deal to replenish. Good practice to avoid suffering from headaches, kidney failure, etc. is to take a sip of water (4oz) every 15 minutes.  And make sure the water is cool not cold—test the difference.

  • Be aware if you're feeling these symptoms — Heatstroke can happen when your body reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Make sure you're aware of the symptoms of a heatstroke so you can get water or in the shade before accidents happen.  
    • throbbing headache
    • dizziness
    • changes in behavior (confusions, slurred speech)
    • flushed skin
    • lack of sweat 
    • nausea and vomiting 
    • rapid breathing and heart rate 

The summer's here and it's already breaking record highs. Make sure you're using some smart survivalist tricks to make working on the roof during summer a little easier. 

But these are just a handful of suggestions. What do you do to keep yourself cool, or at least make the job more bearable?