Updated: Feb 23
In areas that experience freezing cold temperatures early in the year, winter weather is known for creating a variety of hazards, such as ice storms and heavy snow, which can impact your property, especially your roof.
You may need to urgently hire a team of roofing contractors to assist you with a winter roof replacement, regardless of the temperature.
But does cold weather put an end to the roofing industry entirely during the winter months, or is winter roofing a service that is accessible to homeowners in need?
You'll be relieved to know that roofers work year-round, even during the winter season. So if you find yourself experiencing a roofing emergency in a period of extremely cold weather, you'll still have access to the help you need.
Let's take a look at how a professional roofing contractor gets their job done despite the hazards that come with the cold temperatures.
Are Roofers Able to Work in Cold Weather Conditions like Snow and Ice?
There's a reason that roofers are busiest in autumn, when the temperatures are mild, and it's easier to climb on top of the roof without the risk of slipping due to rain or snow. But is roofing work seasonal?
Not necessarily. Roofers can still work year-round, even in the dangerously cold weather conditions that occur when temperatures fall below a certain point.
However, the risk of ice dams, freezing temperatures, and excessive snow means roofers have to be extra careful to provide clients with the services they need while also looking out for their own safety and well-being.
Is It Ok To Replace a Roof in Winter?
Just because the extreme weather makes it a little more challenging to do roofing work doesn't mean that the pros can't do it at all. As long as the contractors take the necessary precautions, it is perfectly fine to replace a roof in the winter.
How Do Cold Temperatures Affect Roofing Work?
Unlike during periods where warm temperatures prevail, winter roofing brings along many associated hazards, and roofers have to adjust their approach and consider many different factors to keep their work safe and effective.
Let's take a look at some specific ways roofing specialist might alter their work style to account for challenges like potential snow build-up and dangerous ice dams that come along with below-freezing temperatures.
Increased Personal Safety Risks for Roofing Contractors
Working on top of a roof is already quite risky due to the height and irregular surface. But working on a roof that's covered in snow and ice is a different story altogether. Contractors will need to take great care not to harm themselves.
Reduced Efficiency of Tools
The extreme cold can cause some necessary roofing tools, such as nail guns, to be unable to work at all. Because of this, contractors will need to use different equipment that may be more challenging to work with and keep materials hidden from the elements when not in use.
Longer Turnaround Time for Completed Jobs
Because of all the changes to the process that need to be made to get the job done safely and correctly, it can take a little longer to repair or install a roof during this season. But the increased quality and safety are more than worth the extra time.
What Extra Precautions Do Workers Take When Working in Cold Conditions?
The increased risk associated with performing a roof inspection or fixing a roof leak during periods of extreme cold or inclement weather means roofers have to make just a few tweaks to their approach to stay safe.
Let's see how experienced contractors adjust their strategies to provide quality work while avoiding obstacles like frost build-up and sections of nearly invisible ice.
Warm clothing is a roofer's first defense against harsh freezing temperatures. To keep their body working and protected from the elements, a contractor must have a few essentials in their wardrobe.
Winter-rated work boots are essential for keeping the feet warm and protected both from work-related harm and from the extreme cold. It's also important for workers to wear layers and make sure to choose an outfit that provides ample coverage of the body and hides exposed skin from the chilly air.
Extra Caution to Avoid Hazards
Snow removal is a common winter consideration when performing roofing work. An excess of snow built up on the roof surface can cause problems for people working on top of it. That's why roofers need to clear surfaces before starting a job in the winter.
A freshly cleared roof is much safer for contractors to work on, and a deck surface that's free of slippery ice is ideal for maximum security and comfort.
Once they've spent the extra time putting any excess snow out of the way, they'll have no problem fixing all kinds of roofing problems, such as roof leaks caused by moist interior air drifting from an improperly ventilated attic.
How Cold Is Too Cold For Roofing?
Roofing work becomes too challenging to be worth it when the temperature drops below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Some companies prefer to avoid work when the temperature is under 40 degrees, just to be safe.
Learn more about How Much Weight Can a Roof Hold?
How Do Different Roofing Materials React to Winter Weather?
All different kinds of roofing material have their own unique properties, and as such, they can react in different ways to the cold. For this reason, some roofing materials are ideal to use during the winter.
Read on below to learn which kinds of roofing material can handle a harsh winter climate and which you should avoid until milder weather comes along.
Unlike most materials, such as shingles, tile, and metals, rubber roofs are absolutely not able to be installed in freezing conditions. A roof designed to be covered with rubber material requires a special sealant to keep it in place. When temperatures are low, the substance won't work properly, and the sealing process cannot occur.
If you need to have a new roof installed in the winter, and you're absolutely married to using asphalt shingles, this is technically possible. However, shingles are not ideal for use during this time as they can experience certain problems due to the climate.
Shingles tend to break easily when temperatures are low, making it difficult to install asphalt shingles during the winter. Additionally, shingles are traditionally sealed using heat application. If it's too cold outside, the shingles may not be able to adhere properly to the roof.
Metal is the perfect material for a flat roof installed in a cold climate. Metal roofs are more durable than many other materials, and most weather conditions do not affect them negatively. So if you need to have a roof installed in December, January, or February, metal is the best option for you.
Should You Have Work Done on Your Roof in the Winter?
Regardless of the circumstances, you and your family must always have a fully functioning roof over your heads to keep you safe and protect your property from harm.
So when you need help with your roof in the winter, even in less than ideal weather conditions, rest assured that a roofing contractor is always available to offer assistance. Get in touch with your trusted provider of roof repair services to ask about all of your winter roofing needs.
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