That roofing problem has been staring at you all fall (or even earlier). A few shingles missing, a loose gutter, unattached flashing, ponding water—you know what the issue is, and you know you should get it fixed. Yet, you get busy and keep putting the repair off…and before you know it, December has arrived, and your roof isn’t fixed.
Winter brings a perception of added urgency for DMV homeowners—worries about snow, wind, and ice are naturally in the back of your mind. The season does bring challenges to roof repairs, but the best contractors (which, by the way, aren’t as busy in the winter and can often schedule a repair sooner than in other seasons) usually can overcome these challenges…to a point. The nature of the repair and the type of roof will dictate if you can wait out a repair until spring. Here are some guidelines that DMV homeowners should know when determining if they will hire a roofer to perform a winter repair:
In Case of Emergency…
Minor roof repairs might be optional during the winter. Emergency roof repairs are all but mandatory. If you wake up one January morning and find water is leaking from the ceiling, call a contractor right away to fix the problem. Simply put, an urgent repair in the winter is just as urgent during the summer—and maybe even more so. Ice can play havoc on a damaged roof; leaks can freeze, unfreeze, and freeze again and do more damage to your house than just the roof, and unchecked ice dams can bring down loose gutters. If you sense a winter roof repair is urgent, call a professional right away.
Metal Roofs: Yes!
Emergencies aside, which roof repairs are possible and advisable during a DMV winter? Again, much depends on the type of roof. Let’s start with metal roofs, which benefit from not cracking during cold conditions. By virtue of being metal, this type of roof is already designed to handle expansion and contraction—it can be repaired and installed in subfreezing temperatures. Metal roofs naturally shed water and ice, so if a repair must be made, you generally won’t be worrying about too much snow atop your house; in other words, you do not have to wait for a thaw to order the repair.
Shingled Roofs: Perhaps?
Asphalt shingles from a quality manufacturer are a solid roofing choice for your home. In the winter, however, some caution is in order when repairing such a roof. Asphalt shingles can easily break during cold temperatures, so care must be taken when they are being handled. Moisture must not be trapped underneath the shingle, which is naturally trickier during a season when your roof is usually wet. But the biggest issue with repairing a shingled roof during winter is the seal, which might not adequately take during colder weather and leave the shingles susceptible to wind and leaks. Heat from the sun is required to melt the seal strip, but if you encounter a week of gray after the repair, you may end up with an improper seal. Asphalt shingle roof repairs in winter can be achieved, but you need a competent contractor to do so, and don’t be surprised if you pay more than you would in another season.
Flat Roofs: It Depends
The adhesives needed for some types of flat roofs, including rubber (EPDM), modified bitumen, and peel-and-stick, will freeze in cold weather and shouldn’t be installed or repaired during the winter. The glue won’t bond, the seal won’t seal, and you may find yourself with a bigger problem than the original fix. However, PVC and TPO flat roofs are applied differently—the roof itself is mechanically installed and the seams are sealed with hot-air welding equipment. Obviously, if your flat roof is not conducive to winter repairs, switching to PVC or TPO midseason might be the only—and expensive—alternative, but it’s still preferable to a leaky house.
Is there a roof repair with your home you keep putting off?