Historically, many of our clients would often have their roof’s replaced in the middle of Summer, and specifically towards the end of July and into August. Most homeowners believe this to be an ideal time because generally speaking, the weather outside is warm, the replacement can be timed during a vacation or just plain seems easier to manage “outdoor” projects like roofing.
However, more and more homeowners are booking roof replacements during the Fall, specifically during September, October and November.
Why Summer Isn’t Always Great For Roof Replacements
Summer brings with it the biggest source of roofing related delays: rain storms. Nothing is going to stop progress on a roof, or cause more rescheduling to occur than a rainy day. You simply cannot put up a roof while it’s raining outside because one of the things your roof does is protect your house (specifically attic) from moisture damage from the outside.
All of the materials are built (whether that be asphalt shingles, standing seam metal or even slate roof tiles) primarily to be waterproof. Otherwise everytime it rains you’d be dealing with a build up of moisture damage leading to huuuuge problems including rot and mold.
So during the roofing process, your house is extra vulnerable to moisture (which is why a professional roofing company will only ever remove the same amount of the old roof as they can replace in a day, and if there is a cause for delay will have tarping to prevent moisture damage). As a matter of fact, it’s often drier to install a roof when it’s snowing outside versus dealing with the rain. Not that it’d be a particularly enthusiastic install while it’s freezing outside (and freezing temperatures make sealing more difficult), but nonetheless it’s still drier than rainy seasons.
Reason #1: End of Summer is the best time to inspect your Roof
There are two key times you should really inspect the condition of your roof: one, after winter has ended so you can see any damage from ice that may have been caused. The other is at the end of Summer after summer showers have passed. The extra wind and rain storms throughout Spring and Summer can leave just as hefty a toll on your roof, whether that be through hail storms, high wind events, debris being blown onto the roof and impacting it or plain ole’ moisture damage from an undetected break in the sealing.
At the end of the day, you’ll save money by booking a roof replacement when you’ve detected problems before they become failures. While the roofing contractors like us certainly are happy to charge for the emergency rush replacements and repairs (which often involve quite a bit of re-scheduling and priority material ordering), it’s really in your best interest to be able to have it scheduled appropriately so you don’t have to pay emergency expenses.
Reason #2: Fall has the best overall weather conditions for re roofing
The absolute best day to install a new roof is when it’s clear outside and the temperature is somewhere between 45 and 70 degrees. This is especially true for asphalt shingle installation because asphalt shingle’s have seal strips that will melt by themselves properly and create a strong seal when the temperature is in that range (known as thermal sealing). Plus, crews will be in a better mood because they aren’t at risk of heat stroke and you’ll be avoiding the proper sealing issues that can come with winter. In the winter extra steps have to be taken to properly ensure that there’s no issues with sealing due to the colder temperatures.
Reason #3: Any existing roof leaks or other problems only get worse in the winter
Minor problems have a way of becoming catastrophic during the winter time because the weight of heavy snows adds up. This causes any existing holes or leaks to simply get bigger and as a result, get worse. You’re then opened up to the danger of ice dams and end up with a disaster waiting to happen, putting you squarely back in the expensive “emergency roof repair” bracket.
Ice dams are easily the most common problem in roofing during the winter, and they’re caused by accumulating snow on a slanted roof. These usually happen when the insulation in the attic isn’t proper for the home. Essentially what happens is the warmth from the house comes up through and melts the snow on the roof.
However, because there’s usually more snow on top of the melted snow, what happens is the slushy stuff isn’t warm enough to melt all of the snow, so it simply flows down the roof, underneath the snow blanketing your roof.
Then, the melted snow enters into your eaves and gutters, the water freezes again and turns into ice all along the gutters. So if you see a ton of pretty icicles forming around the perimeter of your roof during the winter, that’s caused by ice dams. This means that the rest of the snow on the house can’t drain properly and ends up causing you leaks.
Summary: ice dams are bad. You don’t want them. You especially don’t want them when you have a known problem, such as a leak, on your roof.
Reason #4: Shingles get brittle in the winter
The colder it gets outside, the more brittle shingles are and the harder they are to work with and install properly. As we all know, living around Albany, Troy, Schenectady and Saratoga, it gets pretty darn cold in the winter.
Most shingle manufacturers (like GAF, Owens Corning and IKO) are going to recommend that their shingles be installed in at least 26 degrees Fahrenheit because it’s much easier to break a cold and brittle shingle while it’s being installed and fastened onto the roof.
So what that means, is that rather than being able to rely on a faster-paced nail gun to securely fasten the shingles, they’re likely going to have to be hand nailed. Hand nailing makes the roofing process slower, more complicated and more expensive for you in labor cost.
If you’re wondering: “but winter is the slow season for roofers, doesn’t that mean I’ll get a cheaper price?” Not necessarily, while winter is always slow for any roofing company, oftentimes other projects take the place of roofing, such as more exterior siding projects or even insulation work. This is also a time when a lot of commercial work ends up being processed for completion. Plus, the more brittle temperatures are often going to come with an increase in labor cost or a trickiness in the scheduling because of pre-booked work (making it harder to schedule if it’s an emergency).
Reason #5: Re roofing in autumn means better insulation in the winter
A newly installed roof in the fall means that you’re prepared for the increased heating bills that come with winter. With the roof operating at peak effectiveness, you won’t have to worry about any of the before mentioned problems of winter, or major heat loss from holes in your roof and insulation.
That means you can start getting your money back on your roof right away.