HomeWork: Roofing contractors need to work in the winter months just like anyone else, and some roofers prefer the cooler conditions compared to summer.

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Q: My roof is leaking badly, and repairs haven’t worked. Can I have my roof replaced during winter?

A: Yes! Roofing contractors need to work in the winter months just like anyone else, and some roofers prefer the cooler conditions compared to summer, when it can get very hot up there. Waiting until spring to deal with that leak will just make the problem worse, putting your home in danger of developing more water damage, possible rot and even mold. Scheduling a roof replacement now will not only lower the risk of damages, but will also keep you and your family dry and warm all season long.

Replacing a roof in the winter also means you will get the best prices, as well as your choice of the best roofing contractors. This is because work can be limited during the winter season and contractors must compete for work, and may lower their prices to get the job. You can also beat the material price increase that happens every spring. And because business is slower in the winter, the roofing contractor you choose might be able to install your new roof in a matter of days or weeks, as opposed to months. For many homeowners, this quick timing is reason enough to have a job done in the winter.

Northwest winters are typically very mild compared to other parts of the country, so the temperature rarely affects the proper installation of most roofing products. And a qualified contractor will not recommend a product that shouldn’t be installed if it is too cold out.

Homeowners and roofing contractors’ main concern while re-roofing in the winter months is how to tear off a roof and keep the rain from getting in. Experienced contractors will tear off only a section or sections of the roof that can be properly dried-in right away, eliminating any risk of water damage. Even though it does rain a lot, there are plenty of dry gaps in Northwest winter weather that allow for a qualified contractor to make progress with minimal risk. With access to weather apps and radar on mobile devices, contractors on site know exactly how much time they have before the next precipitation sets in.

Many roofing material choices that can be installed safely during winter. The most common types are asphalt shingles and cedar shake, along with many styles of metal roofing. Metal roofs aren’t vulnerable to damage from the cold, which means that the installation process isn’t affected in winter. Asphalt shingles can be installed during winter as well, although roofers must take certain precautions to prevent the shingles from breaking or not adhering properly. Synthetic felt underlayment installed under the roofing material acts as a weather barrier and vapor retarder and does not buckle like asphalt saturated felt when exposed to precipitation.

For low slope or flat roofs, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and thermoplastic olefin (TPO) flat-roof systems can also be installed safely during winter. However, flat roofs are more difficult to dry-in, and work should be scheduled only when there isn’t any chance of precipitation.

Don’t let winter weather stop you from re-roofing your home. Factors that warrant immediate re-roofing are extreme leaking, excessive shingle blow off, a compromised roof structure, or repair attempts that have failed, to name a few.


Scott Morrison is the owner of Tekline Roofing and a member of the Master Builders Association (MBA) of King and Snohomish Counties, and HomeWork is the group’s weekly column. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to homework@mbaks.com.