What You Should Do If You Have to Replace Your Roof During the Winter


With the winter season quickly approaching, it’s important to ensure your home is in the best shape possible so it can withstand the Midwest’s bitter cold and snow. Heavy snow and ice can cause serious damage to your home’s roof. To prevent this, it’s critical to inspect it inside and out before winter weather arrives.

If you need your roof replaced, spring and fall are the ideal times to do it, as these seasons offer the best weather for roof work. If you find that repairs just won’t cut it anymore and your roof is in dire need of replacement, however, you may be stuck scheduling a roof replacement in winter. While it is more difficult to replace a roof in the wintertime, it is possible.


Signs Your Roof Needs to be Replaced or repaired

To check your roof for leaks, begin by inspecting your attic or upstairs rooms. Look for beams of light coming through or stains or streaks around the ceiling. Then, carefully look over the exterior of your roof to see if any shingles are curled, cracked, or missing. Check for moss growth on the shadier parts of your roof. Moss can damage the granules on shingles and hold moisture that can cause significant water damage inside your home.


There are several warning signs that it’s time to replace your roof. If your roof is drooping or saggy, you should schedule a replacement as soon as possible. Roofs sag due to trapped water, which can cause boards and other components to rot, undermining the roof’s structural integrity.


Replacing a Roof in the Winter

Shingles are a popular roofing material. They’re economical, durable, and easy to repair. Traditional asphalt shingles can last a couple decades, and architectural shingles can last up to 50 years with proper maintenance. However, even the sturdiest of shingles have a hard time withstanding the harsh Midwest climate. Winter snow and ice dams can wear down the shingles to the extreme, causing you to have to replace it at the most inopportune time.


Any roofing professional will tell you that reroofing a home in the middle of winter is not their favorite part of the job. That’s not just due to the ice and snow. Chilly temperatures make it harder to handle the shingles themselves, and they can become brittle and crack during installation. The sealants used to adhere the shingles to one another are also more difficult to work with in cold temperatures, becoming too hard to spread and apply. This can make it difficult to form an effective, leak-proof seal, which can then allow water to infiltrate your home. There are shingles specially made for the extreme cold, but they are significantly more expensive.


Select an Experienced Roofing Professional

If you must schedule a roofing replacement in winter, be sure to hire the most skilled roofing professional in your area—especially if you’re dealing with shingles. An experienced professional will understand best practices for installing in cold weather, such as hand sealing each shingle to ensure the sealant works properly.


Consider Metal Roofing

You might also consider installing a different type of roofing material. For example, stone-coated steel and other types of metal roofing can be installed any time of year without compromising quality. While steel is generally more expensive than asphalt shingles, the extra investment will help ensure a successful installation as well as a longer-lasting roof. Stone-coated steel roofs can last 40–70 years, holding up against rain and snow and preventing ice dams in the winter.


Getting By Until Spring

When your roof needs replacement, it’s generally best to have it done as soon as possible to prevent long-term damage to your home. When necessary, however, you can take steps to keep your roof from deteriorating further until the weather is more cooperative.

  • Replace any shingles that are noticeably damaged, curling, or loose. This will help prevent major leaks and water damage.
  • Inspect and clean out your gutters on a regular basis throughout the winter season, particularly after snowstorms. You might consider installing gutter guards to prevent large debris from obstructing water flow away from your home.
  • Clear debris from the rest of the roof as well. Leaves and sticks can allow water to seep under shingles.
  • Address loose or missing caulking or flashing to keep everything watertight.


The professionals at Hedrick Construction have more than a decade of experience providing excellent service to Iowa homeowners just like you. Learn more about our roofing replacement services, or subscribe to our blog to keep up to date on our latest home improvement advice.

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