Get the homeowner knowledge and expertise you need before tackling an asphalt-shingle winter roof repair yourself, because making a top-rated selection out of your options of local roofing companies can be a much less expensive choice in the long run.
First, you’ll want to prepare your materials and tools if the project is within your skill set. Then, remove snow and ice from the damaged area of your roof. Make sure you wear appropriate clothing so you can be comfortable while working, and take warm breaks inside your house if needed.
Here’s how to accomplish the task ahead of you…
Shingles, Cement, and Tar Versus Local Roofing Companies
You can replace shingles in the winter, but you have to add something to bond them together. There’s a tar strip on each shingle that makes it stick to the shingle next to it so you can nail shingles to the roof.
These strips keep shingle tabs from flying off in windy weather. Winter winds can wreck shingles if they’re not stuck together. It needs to be about a 60-degree day for the tar strip to work, which is something local roofing companies are very familiar with.
You also need to add tar or roofing cement to each shingle in the winter to keep them together until the tar strip is activated in warmer weather. In winter, hot tar seals gaps and holds things together. If you want your shingles and other repair materials to be workable in cold weather and not break, keep them indoors until the very last moment when you use them for repair.
You can also use rubberized products for winter repairs, which are usually liquid. As long as they’re elastic enough, these products won’t shrink when it gets cold, which can cause gaps in materials or separation from shingles. Fortunately, there are many rubberized products that won’t do that. Until you need them on the roof, keep them inside your warm house as well.
Local roofing companies are all too familiar with the sensitive task you are about to embark on in the cold, and they have the right expertise to get the job done if you feel you can’t finish.
Repair Tools Versus Local Roofing Companies
If you’re doing the repairs yourself, you’ll need a torch to get the tar hot enough to stick to the roof.
However, just “activating” asphalt shingles with a torch is another option. Just make sure you don’t damage the shingle while you’re doing it.
Be Careful, Careful, and Even More Careful
Even if you’re just looking over the condition of your roof before you decide what to do, you’ll want to make sure you plan ahead for safety. Make sure your extension ladder is sturdy and in good shape. Take it from the professionals — safety, according to many local roofing companies, happens to be their top priority on any job no matter what season or type of weather their employees are working in.
Hold the ladder in place with a helper or two, whether family or a good friend. It’s important to place ladders correctly in the winter. You should shovel snow off the ground so the ladder rests on bare ground. Remove any snow or ice from your boots and boot-tread as well. If you want to get on the roof safely, extend the ladder several feet above the edge.
Here’s a fact many homeowner-repair types don’t know: In 2018, more than 580,000 ladder-related injuries required medical treatment according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, as noted by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Additionally, about 97 percent occurred at home or on large properties. The most common injuries are cuts, bruises and fractured bones. However, some injuries are more severe.
Local roofing companies know all about these homeowner accidents and are here to help you with a safer option instead. Nonetheless, follow these specific ladder safety tips if you happen to find yourself inspecting or repairing your roof:
- Using a ladder in winter: It’s hard to climb ladders when it’s cold. You’ve got to have stability and balance. Besides making sure snow is cleared on the ground, realize that it might be difficult to stay steady if you’re wearing bulky winter clothes. Also, slippery conditions can trip you up. It might be a good idea to shed a layer before climbing a ladder if you’re wearing thick gloves, a puffy jacket, or heavy coveralls. It’s important to check boot tread and ridges before stepping on the first rung of your ladder since they sometimes hold snow or debris. Also, don’t get tripped up by a light frost layer on the ladder. Keep from stepping on outdoor ladders during cold and wet weather if possible (wait until it’s clear outside). If you have cheap or free access to alternative tools — such as cherry pickers, scissor lifts, or a forklift with a work platform — it could be beneficial to go this route instead. Using slip-resistant boots, safety harnesses, or guardrails are all safe options as well, depending on the steepness of your roof.
- Winter hazards you shouldn’t ignore: Adapting new safety habits isn’t always necessary for winter ladder safety. You should take precautions whenever you work on a ladder. For example, if it’s snowing and icy and you absolutely have to be inspecting your roof due to the issue at hand, pay more attention to the ladder surface. To make sure extension ladders are safe, check them after they’ve been left out overnight in cold temperatures.
There’s Nothing Worse than Ice Dams
Ice dams are the most common winter problem, and local roofing companies are very familiar with them. Remove ice from your roof if you can. There are a few ways to do this. Using electric tape works well, but you have to apply it in those exact areas before winter starts. Pickaxes also work, but you may damage your roof unintentionally. The easiest and safest way is to put ice-melting salt on the edge of the roof.
Timing, planning, and preparation are important. Autumn is the perfect time for winterizing your roof. A roof that’s ready for harsh winter weather is an important part of winterizing a home. You can prevent expensive repairs caused by ice dams and leaks by performing routine roof maintenance before winter sets in.
Believe it or not, you can use material such as old pantyhose or another similar option. Just fill the pantyhose or something else that you use with ice-melting salt, which contains calcium chloride, or rock salt. Lay them perpendicular to the ice dam.
Or you can contact one of your top-rated local roofing companies right away if you can’t safely remove the ice yourself.
Here’s the Bottom Line
Many homeowners think they can tarp their roof in the winter and wait for spring to come while their roof is damaged. That’s not true. If you need to fix your roof, you can do it in the winter.
Keystone Roofing and Siding is here to educate consumers and homeowners about the health and safety regarding one of their most important assets. Please contact us with your questions or to set up an appointment.