Winter roof repair seems counterintuitive to the human instinct for survival. After all, why risk life and limb going up on a snow and ice covered roof when spring will eventually arrive?
The reality is that roofing problems don’t take a break between October and March. As such, roofing in cold weather is a necessary evil. Any property owner unwilling to risk further damage that would otherwise result from putting off repairs understands the necessity of fixing known roofing issues right away.
Can Roofing Be Done in the Winter?
Winter roof repairs are not only possible, they are also fairly common. From basic shingle repairs to complete roof replacements, roofers can work just as many hours during the winter as they do in the summer. They just have to work smarter and more safely.
It goes without saying that major roof repairs are more difficult throughout the winter season, but even small repairs can be challenging in cold weather. The one thing common to all cold weather roof repair jobs is necessity. Property owners and roofers have to work together to determine if a repair is absolutely necessary rather than waiting for spring.
Common Winter Roof Repairs
Shingle repairs are the most common of all winter roof repairs. Because of the flexible nature of asphalt shingles, they are prone to all sorts of winter weather conditions – including wind, snow and ice accumulation, and the ever destructive freeze-thaw cycle. Within the general category of shingle repairs are numerous, easily correctable problems:
- Missing shingles
- Cracked shingles
- Lifting or peeled back shingles
- Popping nails/loose shingles
The good news about shingle repairs is that they are fairly easy to complete. The bad news is that letting such repairs go can lead to serious damage to both surrounding shingles and underlying structures. Simply put, just a single bad shingle can become a major headache if ignored.
Other common roof repairs that can be done in cold weather include:
Gutters are prone to damage from ice dams, icicles, tree limbs, and high winds. Repairing damaged gutters is necessary to protect against further roof damage and possible erosion around the base of the structure.
Winter weather can do a number on old or improperly installed flashing. Repairs are necessary to prevent moisture from getting underneath shingles or accumulating around chimneys, vents, etc.
High winds and the freeze-thaw cycle can damage chimneys where they meet roof structures. As such, chimney repairs are fairly common during the winter.
High winds and falling tree limbs are enemies of roof vents. When winter weather causes damage to vents, it is not wise to leave repairs until spring, as proper ventilation is key to preventing condensation and ice dam build up.
Squirrels and rodents looking for a warm nesting place can damage roofing by chewing their way in the attic spaces. Any holes these animals create allow moisture into the structure.
Roof Replacement in Winter
It goes without saying that winter is not the ideal time for full roof replacement. Having said that, there are times when what appears to be a minor problem is actually a symptom of a much more significant problem requiring full roof replacement. In the winter or otherwise, a roofer’s recommendation for full replacement indicates there are serious issues that require immediate action. Waiting to address any roofing issues only invites more trouble.
A major concern for winter roof replacement is worker safety. Weather conditions can make roofs more slippery while colder temperatures make it harder to work. Even when safety is not a concern, there can be temptation to cut corners on winter roofing projects just to get the work done quickly. When hiring a professional roofing contractor in winter, make sure the company is a name that’s reliable and trusted.
Why Winter Roof Repairs Should Be Fixed Immediately
This post began with the idea that winter roof repairs run contrary to the natural human tendency toward self-preservation. What property owners must understand is the seriousness of roof issues during winter weather. The fact is that there is more to winter weather than just snow and ice. The combination of fluctuating temperatures, windy conditions, and colder weather conditions can easily turn a minor roofing issue into a major roof repair in short order.
Cold weather roof repair may not be ideal, but it should not be avoided. Any roof that shows signs of damage or degradation that could lead to condensation, leaks, or structural problems should be addressed right away. Otherwise, winter conditions will only exacerbate the issue.