Hot roof walking is just that. Walking on a roof that is very hot. Usually a shingle roof. About 80% of the homes in the United States have asphalt shingles on them but they can be a metal, slate,clay, etc.
Most homeowners have never been on their roof and don’t realize how incredibly hot it can get. Even when it’s not terribly hot outside, the sun will quickly heat up a shingle roof.
Getting on a roof to prep or paint when it is in this state, hot, poses two major problems.
One is safety concerns. Shingle and metal roofs get hot enough to actually cause burns to skin when touched. The amount of heat radiating up from the roof will quickly overheat a painter standing up there. Often you can feel the heat through your work boots.
The second problem is damage to the roof material. An asphalt shingle roof has a layer of tar which is then coated with colored fine granules. When the shingle gets super hot, the tar softens and when walked on the granules can actually slide off from the pressure of a work boot.
Walking around on a hot roof will cause more damage then a hail storm. We are always careful to not paint in direct sunlight because of “flash drying” of the paint. The siding on a home can be too hot to be coated and expect the coating to cure correctly and we never walk around on a hot roof.