Can You Replace Your Roof During Winter?

Posted by Roofco March 18, 2019

It’s in the middle of winter and you realize that your roof is leaking, or a shingle is missing.  The leak damage is alarming—the kind that warranties a replacement. Now what? Do you get a roof replacement in the middle of winter? And is this even possible? Replacing the roof during winter is but, a little intricate. Here is why…

Asphalt shingles, thanks to their fair pricing, are the most common type of residential roofing. Here is what happens when your roofer tries installing this type of roofing during winter: asphalt shingles become brittle which makes them susceptible to cracking during the installation process. If water gets into these cracks (and it most likely will since it’s winter) it freezes causing the cracks to enlarge, which obviously spells trouble in the future. Again, when temperatures drop below 40 degrees, self-adhesive has trouble sticking. If you choose another type of roofing, say fiberglass shingles, you’re not safe either. Fiberglass shingles are also prone to cracking during winter, and so do shakes.

The other reason why replacing your roof during winter is not ideal is for the simple reason that winter is a bitterly cold season. If you’ve worked in the cold, you know only too well that no one wants to be out there for too long.  Regardless of how tough your contractor is, they aren’t immune to frostbite. You don’t want your roofer rushing through the installation just to protect their fingers from freezing. Roofing is one of those physically demanding jobs. To allow their fingers and toes to bend, roofers wear very small boots and gloves so you can imagine how torturous this can be when you’re dealing with temperatures below 20°F.

So, is it impossible to get a roof replacement during winter?

While replacing the roof is not ideal during winter, some situations demand an immediate replacement. If your roof can’t wait till summer or fall, here are some things to note:

  • You will need to work with your contractor to select a window period of the best time in the winter season. This may mean picking those days where the forecasts predict no snow. Also, those days where temperatures are expected to be above 20 degrees.
  • Your roofing project will take longer for reasons mentioned above, that is; shingles are hard to work with at this time, the contractors will need more breaks to warm up and hard sealing may be necessary.
  • Some contractors will decline roof replacement offers during winter so you should be prepared to get a few declines. Of importance is to get a roofer who is comfortable and confident to install in winter. Not just comfortable but also experienced.

What’s the best time to replace your roof?

Compared to winter, spring and summer, fall provides the perfect weather for roof replacement. Experts agree that roof replacement is best done when the temperatures are between 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  Ideal temperatures during fall provide better thermal sealing of asphalt shingles. Again, cooler fall temperatures are also more comfortable for roofers so, naturally, they’re likely to put on their A game. Installing your new roof in the fall prepares it for the imperils of winter weather. When your roof is in great shape, the only thing you’re left to think about during winter is getting a reliable ice dam removal company to deal with mother nature’s gift of snow and ice dams.