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Many homeowners are in need of roof repairs during the winter. But homeowners often question whether or not they can have a new roof installed in cold, wet, snowy winter weather.
Roof repair can be completed in cold, dry weather, but the quality of the finished product may be adversely affected by wet, snowy shingles. Many manufacturers of all roofing shingles have detailed requirements concerning the temperatures at which their materials can be installed – usually 26 degrees Fahrenheit or above. While it may be possible to install roofs in temperatures lower than 26 degrees Fahrenheit, many extra precautions are needed. For example, adhesives may freeze during flat roof (EDPM) installation. When installing composition shingles, roofers need to be careful not to damage the shingles when nailing them into the roof. Shingle makers do not change their warranties based strictly on installation temperature. This means that your new 30-year dimensional shingle has the exact same warranty as a roof installed at any other time of the year. New shingles need to undergo thermal sealing, which can take several days of temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. According to one of Cincinnati’s most experienced installation foremen, Terry Littleton of Roof Time, the best tip is that no roofing guns should be used at temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Littleton says, “At Roof Time, we hand-nail all our winter installations at no additional charge to our homeowners.”
All steep slope roofers must be careful not to damage the underlayment, which can become brittle in cold weather. Only 30-pound felt (or better) should be considered as underlayment, and all underlayments should be installed using cap nails and not staples. For complete re-roofing jobs, make sure to ask your roofer not to remove more roofing than can be replaced on the same day. Winter in Ohio and Kentucky tests your home and roof in ways unlike any other time of year.
The most common winter roof problem is ice dams. Ice dams occur when snow that has accumulated on a slanted roof melts and then forms icicles that hang from the eaves and gutters. Professional roofers can help you with drip-edge flashing techniques to prevent ice dams. Improper amounts of attic insulation can also cause ice dams. Speak to your roofer about the various options for preventing ice dams.
In general, winter conditions only make a bad roof situation worse. As winter temperatures fluctuate, your shingles expand and contract, causing curling and cracking in older shingles. When older roof shingles curl and there is a wet, heavy snow, the weight of the snow causes some of those curled shingles to crack. This could lead to a leaky roof. Also, when the roof is already wet, heavy snow freezes can cause even more damage. Old roofs hate cold winters. A good roof contractor watches the weather and schedules roof installations between the bad weather days. In Cincinnati, there are many days with bright sun and temperatures in the upper 50s. Last February, there was a four-day stretch where the temperature reached 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Roof Time was able to have its two roof crews install a total of four new jobs in that time frame.
Roofing contractors are less busy in the winter than in the summer. What this can mean for homeowners is that the roof contractor you choose might be able to install your new roof in a matter of days as opposed to waiting weeks or even months. For many homeowners, quick timing is reason enough to have a job done in the winter. But as noted above, roofers need to use extra caution while repairing roofs during the winter. Professional roofers know that safety always comes first.
Many roofing companies offer winter discounts for roofing repairs and re-roofing jobs during the winter. Some roofs are in such poor condition that the homeowner cannot wait until spring to repair it. For the same reasons that you will be able to receive faster service on a new roof during the winter, you will also receive a better price than you would during the warmer months. According to Sandy Feltner of Roof Time, their estimators are instructed to discount a winter installation by as much as 25 percent over the same type of spring job. Roofing contractors want to keep their crews busy and will offer steep discounts to avoid lay-offs. By March, roofers begin to fill up their job boards, so their goal over the winter is to hang on to their skilled labor force.
Most professional roof installers will provide you with the same labor warranty for a roof installed during winter as a roof installed any other time of year. For example, Roof Time offers a long-term labor warranty in conjunction with the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association guidelines, without regard to the time of the installation.
For a free rooftop inspection, complete with color digital picture and a written record of the findings, contact Roof Time in Cincinnati at 513.528.TIME and in Northern Kentucky at 859.341.TIME.
Written by Dale Shoemaker of Roof Time LLC
Contact Roof Time:
Greater Cincinnati Office (513) 528.TIME
Northern Kentucky Office (859) 341.TIME
Get a roofing estimate from Roof Time