Submitted by Kit England, Rio Blanco Roofing & Restoration in San Antonio
Two schools of thought exist on what is the best time of year to install a new roof. Some roofing contractors say any season is okay, while others beg to differ, spotlighting fall as the optimum time to install a new roof.
Another issue related to new roof installations or repairs is the choice of roofing materials. Not all types of shingles can be installed and expected to perform well under rainy- and cold-weather conditions.
But if perfect fall days have bypassed you, and you’re already facing rainstorms without a new roof, take heart. The right roofing contractor can perform emergency services, and give you a new roof without voiding the warranty.
In this blog, we’ll talk about the misconceptions homeowners—and even roofers themselves—hold about the application of certain roofing materials and the weather conditions under which they may be asked to install a new roof.
Can a Roof be done in the winter months?
A Dire Scenario
If a homeowner waits too long into the latter part of the year to do a roof inspection and / or get repairs, or a new roof put on their home, they’re in for a shock. Instead of finding out about leaks and holes in advance, they wake up one morning when it’s pouring down rain to discover—Jeezus!—their ceiling is leaking nonstop. Forget about the new roof they’d been planning on; a crisis has erupted, and there’s no time to waste. Now they’ve got to pick the first contractor they can get their hands on. And the worst of it is the rainy season is the busiest time of year for the roofing industry. So, they’re left scraping the bottom of the barrel to get a half-decent roofer to their home as fast as humanly possible.
Methods to manage the leak(s) are available but we’re not going to go there. We’re more interested in preventing you from getting into a fix in the first place. We’ll only say this much. Put out as many buckets as you need and pray—hard.
Now there are those contractors, who insist they can install a new roof during the most inclement weather. But here’s the rub. A roofer worth their moxie will not attempt to install a new roof in the middle of a hail storm! (or at least a misty downpour). They will instead shore up the holes in your roof, using a tarp to prevent more water from entering your home.
Once the storm cells have passed through, and a reprieve of dry weather arrives, a good roofing contractor will track the weather patterns to find the days around which they can install a new roof. Scheduling for those dry days can be tricky because they may have other projects in the pipeline simultaneously.
At best, roofers can install a roof at a minimum of one day, depending on conditions weather-wise, the choice of roofing material, the outside temperature, or a combination of any or all these factors.
We want to emphasize once again a knowledgeable contractor will not try to install new roofing while it is raining. Any contractor that tells you they can install a new roof no matter the weather conditions is talking through their hat. And trying to make an extra buck at your expense. You need to arm yourself with the information: unless roofing materials are completely dry they will not seal correctly to form the bond necessary to prevent leaks from happening.
Now you’ve got the skinny on what roofing contractors you can and cannot trust to install a new roof during the storm season, we’ll move onto what roofing materials can and cannot be used in the rainy season.
Flat and Sloped Roofing Materials
The choices are limited to basically two for winter installations: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO). These products require mechanical installation and use hot-air welding to seal the seams. They can be installed in temperatures under 40 degrees.
One other possible choice is a rubber roof. But its limitation is it must be installed at 40 degrees or above. This is because the sealant material will become frozen, preventing it from bonding. Once again, a roofing contractor that gives you the line they can install a rubber roof in very cold weather conditions is not protecting your best interests. They are going against the manufacturer’s cautions, and a real risk of roof leaks developing can lead to your warranty being voided.
Asphalt shingles are the favored choice for sloped roofs. But precaution must be exercised while handling them under cold weather conditions, as they can bend and crack. Another problem with asphalt shingles is their inability to bond fully while the weather remains cold. Due to the delayed response in bonding properly they can easily be blown off the roof or leak. Yet another issue with asphalt shingles is their vulnerability to ice dams, which can form under the roof’s eaves. Products to avert an ice dam leak are available but they too need enough warmth to adhere to the underlayment.
Metal is the best of all roofing materials to use during winter. No risk of cracking, and engineered to permit contraction and expansion as the temperatures vary.
With all the foregoing being said, pick your roofing contractor carefully. That means checking to see they are licensed to work in your area, are bonded, and have a track record of satisfied customers.
At my company, Rio Blanco Roofing in San Antonio, Texas, we do a lot of metal roofs. These are by far the best, most durable and long lasting roof type out there. But no matter what kind of roof you have, the key is to get a quality roofing company who can identify the proper roof type and conditions for your specific home. It is important to get several bids to find the company that you trust and that knows what they are doing. Remember, installing a new roof is one of the most important, but costly things you will do as a home-owner. It is crucial that you not only hire an experienced roofing contractor, but also one who will give you the truth about what is best for your situation.
Kit, a carpenter by original trade, has been in the building and remodeling industry in San Antonio and the surrounding areas for more than 35 years as a home builder, general contractor and roofing specialist. Kit is and has been licensed # H-923990 in the State of Texas #H-923990 and many other states as an insurance property claim adjuster for over ten years and holds the prestigious Haag Engineering Certification as a roofing condition inspector. Kit England started Rio Blanco Roofing & Restoration, in his home town of San Antonio, to provide excellent quality workmanship, great value and exceptional customer service to our clients. We are an accredited BBB company, a GAF Certified roof installer and a Certified Green Roofing contractor. We’ve been screened by Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, NetworX, Yelp, Porch and other home improvement referral services and invited to be on their approved vendor lists.
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