Many roofers will tell you that you have to wait until the spring or summer months to make those necessary repairs to your roof, or that it’s impossible to replace a roof over the winter. 

Though not an ideal time, it is possible to repair or replace your roof this winter. Roof repair can be an arduous task, taking up both time and energy. Additionally, it can be challenging let alone dangerous to tackle in the cold weather. This is why if you live in a state like New Hampshire, (where the weather can be unpredictable) and plan to have work done on your roof in the next couple of months, it’s best to call in the professionals. Ensuring timeliness, and accuracy to get the job done right. Whether your roof is leaking, or ice dams have formed from snow accumulation, you may not want to wait to get the repairs you need. That is why we’ve put together a guide to help you through this winter and how you know when it’s time to call in a roofer.

roof-replacement-winter

How Shingles React in Certain Temperatures

Shingles remain softer, more pliant, and easier to work with during the spring and summer. In contrast, they are harder and more challenging to install in the winter when the temperature drops below freezing temperatures. 

This is because shingles lose flexibility in the cold, making them stiffer and more difficult to cut. The temperature of the shingles and humidity of the air can also affect the pneumatic guns used to secure the nails. This is why it is best to secure your roof in the warmer months.

Optimally, roofing contractors will also more easily handle a roof when the weather is above freezing. However, just because that remains to be an optimal situation, doesn’t mean that they can’t install a roof during the winter. With gentle care and more focused attention and time on the roof, contractors can use a different pressure setting for the pneumatic guns, and be able to overcome some of the more common issues with working in colder weather conditions.

As many homeowners have asphalt shingles on their roof, they tend to encounter a heightened sensitivity to attaching shingles in the cold. The sealant used for these shingles is the main culprit of this situation, and is specifically attuned to being activated by heat and sunlight to seal and prevent wind from getting underneath. As a result, homeowners avoid attaching shingles to their roof in the winter, because they won’t activate as quickly. Some may not even activate until the spring. This is when shingle manufacturers would recommend having each shingle hand-sealed. Being a bit more tedious, many will hold off until the spring to take care of their roof. However, this can do more damage than good, if you’re not careful. Having a trained professional inspect your roof is key to preventing further damage and expenses down the road. 

If you are a do-it-yourself type of person, we have indicated steps to help you in installing your roof safely and properly as outlined below.

The Process of Installing a Roof Properly

Read this step by step method for a simple roof installation:

  1. Plan ahead- Determine what the weather will be like to ensure safe and non-slippery conditions to work on your roof. Safety is priority. Be sure to take the proper precautions if you plan to install or repair the roof yourself. 
  2. Deck Preparation- Be sure the deck is smooth and securely fastened to the roof trusses. Also, check to make sure it is dry, there are no holes or gaps, and it is clean (free of debris). Essentially aim to have it look immaculate when starting.
  3. Install the drip edge to the eave– Work from the bottom up of the roof. First install the drip edge, followed by an ice protection membrane to help avoid ice dams from forming in the winter. Also make sure you have adequately installed the insulation in the attic and that it has proper ventilation, as ventilation is another reason why ice dams may form. The ice protection membrane overhangs the eaves by 1/4″-3/4″, and any valleys on the roof should be flashed with an ice and water membrane to add water shedding protection at this time.
  4. Underlayment- For further protection, use asphalt saturated felt or synthetic roof underlayment. Roll out the underlayment. When going up the sloped edges of the roof (rakes), the drip edge goes on top of the Underlayment to create a clean roof edge and increased wind resistance. This is opposite of going underneath if the drip edge is along the eaves of the roof. Here is a diagram to further illustrate the importance of doing this and how it looks when done properly.
  5. Cover the joints and valleys- Cover the roof with felt paper, using staples grouped close together (no further than 12” apart).
  6. Install the shingles- Start from the bottom and overlap as you go. 

Is Your Roof Currently Leaking?

How can you tell if your roof is leaking right now? Below we have a brief set of ways to spot roof leaks in your house.

Be on the lookout for water stains running along the ceiling or down the walls. This is one of the first visible signs that your roof may be leaking. The sooner you deal with the leak, the less issues you have a chance of running into. Problems such as: mold, rotting framing, sheathing, damaged ceilings, and destroyed insulation may occur if the leak goes untreated.

Examine the roof- Track the leak by looking uphill from the stains, and search for anything that projects from the roof (such as chimneys, roof vents, dormers etc.). Often the leak will be from a penetrated area of the roof.

Why this winter may worsen any moisture conditions…

This winter in particular has been warmer, and wetter in New England. The warm weather causes the roof to expand, while the cold causes it to contract. With the winter we’ve had, there have been more noticeable changes in temperature. The random snowfalls followed by warmer conditions have created moisture damage for many homeowners forming a common problem. 

Simply put, the snow building up on the roof, can lead to ice dams forming. If the snow is left to freeze, the ice that is left behind can melt under the warm weather seeping under the shingles and refreeze during the next snowstorm. When the ice is trapped underneath the shingles, leaking occurs. Dripping will occur in the attic, insulation, and possibly your living areas!

Contact the Professionals at Conde Roofing

Roof repair and insulation can be a challenge, especially if you can’t wait until the spring to tackle it. If this is your situation, don’t hesitate to speak with a professional today who can help guide you through the process of repairing and in extreme cases, installing a new roof. Their expertise, backed by years of experience and certification, can help in dire circumstances. Especially if you need to install a new roof and need the careful and attentive detail of a roofer who is dedicated to making sure that every shingle is placed on securely.

At Conde Roofing, we assess your roof repair needs and will work to keep you dry, warm, and protected from the elements by providing you with top quality care from a team of fully trained professionals. Schedule a consultation today, and make an appointment to ensure your roof is taken care of this winter and ready to go by spring.