Working outdoors during winter can be challenging, even to those with experience doing so. As well as the cold and wet weather itself, there’s the effect that those colder temperatures will have on the products you’re using.
Here, we’re largely talking about those foams, gels and sealants, which will reliably become that little bit more viscous when it’s cold outside.
If you’re a DIYer, it’s usually best to wait for more favourable conditions before proceeding on a project of this type.
But if you can’t wait, then consider bringing in a professional tradesperson with the necessary experience and equipment. They’ll be able to bring in high-quality adhesives in bulk, and thereby save you the trouble of having to store the stuff you haven’t used.
The substance that binds a project together is a potential point of failure, and thus it’s worth ensuring that it’ll be able to withstand changes in temperature.
A poor-quality adhesive will tend to crack and become brittle when it gets cold or lose its adhesiveness when it becomes too hot. This is particularly important in projects which are going to be receiving direct sunlight, like roofing tiles. Bear in mind also that temperatures can fluctuate wildly from one time of day to another – even here in the UK.
Drying times will also be extended by cold weather, often considerably. You might find yourself waiting for up to two days for the material to dry.
The same applies to powdered adhesives, of the kind you might use for tiles.
If you’re using flashing tape on bitumen, then you might find that you can’t get a decent bind when the weather is cold. The solution here is quite straightforward: you’ll need to bring the surface to temperature, ideally using a heat gun.
Acrylic-based sealant should ideally be avoided entirely during winter. They will come out thicker in cold weather and need longer to dry. This will make them vulnerable to rainwater. If you must use them, then be sure that they’re adequately protected – unless you want to go through the hassle of re-applying them.
Paints which aren’t designed for exterior use will tend to crack and peel away from the wall after just a few freeze-thaw cycles. Look for something with silicon additivities, which will lend the material the plasticity it needs to resist this sort of behaviour.
If you’re dispensing heavy-duty paint using a spray-on can, then you might find that the weight of the paint settles at the bottom of the can, resulting in a thin, watery consistency when you’re applying it.
Warming the can will alleviate this; use a bucket of warm water and dunk the can prior to use.