As with most homeowners you probably put off roof repairs as long as possible. Then winter rolls in and stresses a weak point in your roof and you suddenly find yourself with a roof leak under a foot of snow. Should you have your roof repair in the middle of winter or tarp it over and wait until spring or summer?
Can You Repair Your Roof in Winter?
In fact it is possible to have your roof repaired or even replaced completely in the middle of winter. Although there are many factors and conditions that should be taken into account, the fact is professional roofing companies are much less busy during the winter. This means they may be able to schedule and complete your repairs within days rather than waiting weeks for a crew.
Contractors have idle crews during the winter. In an effort to hang on to experienced crews some roofing companies will even provide discounted rates for winter months and provide the same warranties for work completed during warmer months. Though more precautions must be taken for winter repairs, most contractors will not charge additional fees.
Why Wouldn’t You Repair Your Roof in Winter?
While roof repair is possible in cold, dry weather, wet or snow covered shingles will affect the quality of the finished job if the proper precautions are not taken. Moisture will become trapped within the sheathing or underlayment.
Manufacturers typically specify temperatures above 26 degree for installation of their products. Installing shingles below 26 degrees can be problematic. Adhesives may fail and shingles can become brittle and prone to damage when nailed improperly. Care must also be taken installing the underlayment which can also become brittle and easily damaged. In addition, cold temperatures will delay the thermal sealing of new shingles. Removal of old roofing material is typically done in smaller sections to ensure it can be replaced quickly if the weather suddenly turns bad.
Safety is a concern as well. It is obviously far more dangerous to maneuver and work on steep pitched roofs in icy or windy conditions. All of this will affect the pace of the job.
So Should You Wait for Spring?
The easy answer to that would be ‘yes’, however, winter weather only makes a roof problem worse. Fluctuating temperatures cause old brittle shingles to curl. Shifting snow loads will cause those curls to crack, introducing new leaks, or worsening those already present. In addition, ice dams are more easily formed on these damaged roofs. Ice dams are formed when ice or snow melts from shingles then refreezes and accumulates at the roof edge, facia, and gutters. As ice dams build up they can introduce moisture under the shingles, facia, and sheathing, extending the damage beyond shingles to include wood work.
Ignoring the problem and waiting till spring is almost sure to make a bad situation worse and cost you more in the long run. Never go on the roof yourself, particularly in winter months. You can easily become injured or cause greater damage to the roof. The best course of action is to have a professional roofing company inspect the damage, or roof condition, and recommend a course of action.
A good contractor will watch the weather forecasts and schedule installations or repairs during favorable conditions. They may determine the best action is to install a tarp with proper tie downs and wait until more favorable weather in the spring. Or if sufficient periods of dry weather and warmer temperatures are in the forecast, they may recommend a quick repair or replacement. Remember during winter months contractors are less busy and can make quicker scheduling decisions. They could complete that repair in a single day.
If you choose a good contractor they will help you arrive at the best plan for your situation. Whether you have a massive leak and a long term forecast for snow, or a huge ice dam threatening to pull down your facia, an experienced roofing contractor can provide a short term solution or a permanent repair regardless of weather. And if you like to roll the dice and hope to take advantage of a discounted roof replacement mid winter, there are roofers that will take your bet.