Do Roofers Work in the Winter
As we all know, a year consists of four seasons, and every season has its pros and cons when it comes to roofing. For many, spring is the ideal time for roofing work. The temperature still isn’t as high as during summer, and the moisture level is pretty low. Fall is also kind to roofing contractors, especially if the pleasant summer weather continues and there are no dog days and high temperatures.
While spring and fall are the best time for roofing projects, like a roof replacement, it doesn’t mean that roofers don’t do anything during summer or winter.
First of all, roofers are working people like everyone else. They have to bring home the bacon, no matter what season it is. Snow, cold temperatures, and winter weather in general aren’t ideal, but roof problems mostly can’t wait for better days to come. Leaks occur throughout the year, but most often during heavy rains, winter, and snow. Let’s not even mention emergency roof issues!
Therefore, the answer to the question of whether roofing contractors can work in the winter is YES, they can, and they do! No matter the roof issue, whether they are required to repair part of the roof or conduct a roof replacement, the job must be done.
The difference between roofing projects in the winter months and other seasons is due to extra precautions, but we will discuss preventive measures later in the text.
So What Do Roofers Do in Winter?
The winter season is slower for most roofing contractors, but they are still available for whatever issue occurs on your roof, such as:
- Emergency Roofing Issues
Emergencies happen every day. Maybe a tree fell and damaged your roof, or maybe the snow or rain were so heavy that you now notice leaking. Whatever happened you won’t wait until the spring to fix the issue. Your local roofer can do emergency repairs to prevent the damage getting bigger and worse.
- Snow Removal
If winters in your area are harsh and snowy, your local roofers may offer services like snow removal. They will remove heavy snow from your roof to prevent damage to the structure. Snow can harm your roof’s structure as it can get pretty heavy. Once it starts to melt, leaking can occur.
- Indoor Repairs
Winter is the perfect time for indoor repairs, such as conducting an attic inspection or fixing up the insulation. Taking care of your attic can help you in the long term and extend your roof’s lifespan.
- Planning and Preparing for the Upcoming Season
Most roofing contractors will use winter time to prepare their business for the upcoming season. They plan incoming projects and focus on business development.
Precaution Measures for Winter Roofing
Even in ideal conditions, working on the roof requires caution during the winter. Therefore, taking preventive measures is a must. Some preventive measures are related to using the right tools, while others are connected to safety. The most important precautionary measures for winter roofing are:
- Preparation Is Key
Monitor weather conditions and keep an eye on the weather forecast to avoid working in dangerous conditions such as snowstorms or extreme cold.
- Safety Comes First
A roofing contractor needs to have a fall protection system in place, such as safety harnesses, nets, and guardrails, to prevent accidents on icy or snow-covered roofs.
- Proper Attire
Workers should wear appropriate winter gear, including insulated, water-resistant gloves, anti-slip boots, and layered clothing to maintain body heat.
- Snow and Ice Removal
To ensure a safe working environment, roofers will remove any snow and ice from the work area. This helps to minimize the risk of slipping and provides better visibility for the roofer to inspect the roof.
- Daylight Hours
For their safety, roofers should only work during daylight hours for better visibility and warmth.
- Tool Maintenance
Cold weather can affect the performance of roofing equipment, so make sure they’re maintained properly.
Residential Roofing During Winter
Now you know that roofing companies are pretty active in residential roofing during winter months. No matter the season, the show must go on!
The most common roofing issues regarding residential roofing are emergency roof repairs, leakage issues, and roof replacement. Shingles can be installed during freezing temperatures, but there are special techniques that need to be observed first.
Roof Replacement in Winter
Replacing a roof in winter is possible. If there’s been extensive damage done to your roof and it cannot be repaired, then there is nothing left to do but completely replace it, even if it’s during winter.
If you are in a situation where you have to conduct a roof replacement in winter, one bit of helpful advice is to hire an experienced roofing contractor for this complicated roofing project. Only experienced roofers know how to handle winter roof replacements without consequential problems arising.
Fixing Leaky Roofs in Winter
Even though leaks can occur at any time, roof leakage during winter is as common as falling leaves during autumn. Because of that, a leaking roof is the most common roofing assignment for roofing companies in winter. Leaks can weaken the roof which can lead to costly repairs. Besides, moisture is ideal for mold growth, which can cause you serious health issues and damage the interior of your home. Leaks can ruin ceilings, walls, flooring, and belongings.
An experienced roofing contractor will know how to prepare and secure your roof before conducting a roof inspection to find the cause of the leak—after that, repairing it won’t be a problem.
How Do Leaks Occur in Winter?
The most common reasons for leaks that occur during winter are:
- Ice dams can cause winter leaks by blocking drainage when melted snow freezes at the roof’s edge.
- Icicles can indicate poor insulation and ventilation. While they may not cause leaks, they often accompany conditions that lead to ice dams and leaks.
- Poor ventilation in the attic can lead to water damage that looks like a leak. This happens when humid air from inside your home rises and condenses on cold surfaces. Ventilate your attic regularly to prevent this from happening.
- Heavy snow can cause damage to a roof over time. This pressure can make any existing problems with the roof even worse, leading to leaks. To prevent this, remove snow from the roof if possible.
Emergency Roofing During Winter
Besides leaking issues, one more common roofing issue during winter are emergency roofing services. A sudden and urgent roof problem can occur due to a falling tree or some large debris that destroys both the roof and sidings, preventing them from functioning correctly.
Regardless of the cause, if you need emergency roofing services, you must immediately call a trustworthy roofing contractor with work experience in winter so that the problem can be solved as soon as possible and your roof can be restored to its original function.
Installing Shingles in Cold Weather
The shingle roof installation method is slightly different in winter. Precautions are taken to compensate for the colder weather to ensure that the new roof performs as expected. The temperature can significantly affect the installation. In cold temperatures, asphalt shingles can become brittle and more prone to breaking or cracking. The self-sealing adhesive strip on the shingles, which is activated by warmth, may not seal properly in cold weather. The traditional felt underlayment can also become stiff and may not lay flat, posing additional challenges to a secure installation.
The ideal temperature range for installing asphalt shingles is between 40°F to 85°F (4°C to 29°C). Some newer products, like synthetic underlayment and specialized cold-weather adhesives, can make winter installation easier, but the general guideline is to avoid installation in temperatures below freezing whenever possible.
Metal Roof in Cold Climates
As for metal roofing, metal roofs can be installed regardless of weather conditions and temperature. Metal roofs are known for their durability, longevity, and their ability to withstand extreme weather. However, installing them during winter brings its own set of challenges.
Since metal as a material expands and contracts with temperature changes, it’s crucial to accommodate this thermal movement through proper installation techniques to prevent deformation or damage. To prevent dangerous amounts of snow from sliding off, consider installing snow guards or snow rails. These devices help break up and slow the descent of snow and ice.
Commercial Roofing During Winter
Commercial roofing has the same issues as residential roofs during winter, so it isn’t unusual to have leakage issues or severe damage that needs immediate repairs or replacement. The only difference is in the material and roofing techniques used.
The main roofing techniques for commercial roofs are EPDM roofing and TPO roofing.
EPDM and TPO roofing systems can be installed during winter, but since adhesives are used, minimum temperature limitations need to be considered.
Pros and Cons of Installing a New Roof During the Winter
When it comes to installing a new roof during winter, here are our top 4 pros and cons.
1. No need for waiting lists; you can find plenty of roofing contractors available for work during the winter. They have more time because people don’t need them as much. This usually means they can be on your roof in no time.
2. During the off-peak winter season, some roofing contractors may offer discounts to attract new customers.
3. Installing a new roof before the harshest part of winter – usually in the December and January months – can prevent potential damage caused by snow and ice accumulation.
So don’t wait for December/January, especially if your existing roof is already compromised.
4. Extremely cold conditions are challenging, but if your area’s winters are moderately cold, this can be ideal for some roofers.
1. Icy or snow-covered roofs increase the risk of slips and falls for roofers. Wearing cold-weather gear can also make it harder for them to move and do their jobs.
2. Shorter daylight hours in winter reduce the available working time each day, which can extend the planned duration of your roofing project.
3. Extremely cold temperatures can be a problem altogether. Some materials, such as asphalt shingles, shouldn’t be installed when the temperature is below 40°F (4°C), which can prolong the project’s end date even more.
Can I Install a New Roof in the Winter?
In conclusion: roofers don’t hibernate during the winter! You can freely contact them if you notice that you have a problem with your roof. Of course, prevention is always better, so here are some tips to prepare your roof for winter.
If you end up needing a roofing company in Woodbridge, NJ, Fortified Roofing stands ready to help!