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Is it OK to install a roof in rain?

Dear Angie: Is it OK to install a new roof while it’s raining? I’m having a new roof installed over 20-year-old (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/drizzle for about a half-hour before peel and stick membrane was installed. Is that a problem?

— Sailor K., Tampa, Fla.

Dear Sailor: 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 they may be held liable.

THE OSB TREATMENT

That doesn’t mean that an unexpected rain or drizzle, as you indicated, 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.

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.

UP ON THE ROOF, WATCH OUT FOR WET OR WRINKLED DECKS

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 out before any roofing material is applied to avoid trapping moisture under the roof material that could cause the edges to swell or buckle.

They should also make sure to properly vent the roof.

CHECK BEFORE YOU HIRE A ROOFING CONTRACTOR

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.

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