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Since winter tends to be a slower time for the construction industry, you may consider taking advantage of the situation to tackle a home improvement project in the coming months.

Usually interior remodels are associated with the winter season because inclement weather and limited daylight aren’t as big of issues when working indoors. However, that doesn’t mean that exterior renovations—such as a roof replacement or repair—are out of the question. You can do roofing work during the winter in Delaware, but the better question is, should you?

Can you replace a roof in the Winter?

In some cases, you don’t have a choice when it comes to roofing in winter. If the structure was severely damaged in a storm or a tree fell on your house, you’ll want to repair or replace the roof for the safety and wellbeing of your household and protection of your home’s interior. The condition of your roof may also be a contingency for continued homeowner’s insurance coverage or selling your home. In these situations, finding a qualified Delaware roofing company and finishing the job is the only solution for getting your home up to par even during the winter.

However, if you have the option to wait a few months, it’s worth evaluating the common concerns associated with roofing in cold weather before making a decision.

Issues with Roofing Materials

If you’re using asphalt shingles for your Delaware roof, they may present a challenge during the winter months. First, they lose some flexibility and become more difficult to cut in extreme cold. Second, humidity and the temperature of the shingles can impact how pneumatic nail guns drive the nails when securing the shingles. That means the pressure setting may need to be adjusted to prevent under- or over-driving the fasteners when installing the new roof.

The Right Temperature for Sealant

As a general rule, new asphalt shingles need to undergo thermal sealing. The sealant or adhesive on the back, which is activated by heat and sunlight, prevents the wind from getting under the shingles and lifting them, making your roof susceptible to leaks. Although the conditions and temperatures needed to activate the sealant vary by manufacturer, you typically need several days—even weeks—with temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for the shingles to adhere correctly on their own. They won’t seal in below-freezing temperatures.

Finding the right window of time to install your new asphalt shingle roof is important, especially as the average temperature in Northern Delaware from December to February is 34 degrees. The average winter temperature in Central Delaware is 36 degrees, and in Southern Delaware, it is 37 degrees. Without the combination of thermal heat and pressure to help the sealant work on its own, shingle manufacturers recommend hand-sealing each shingle to help them bond properly and prevent them from blowing off. Hand-sealing is more time-consuming, but on the plus side, it ensures each shingle is bonded correctly from the start.

When it comes to metal roofs, you don’t have to worry about the same problems. Metal doesn’t use heat-activated sealant to adhere to your roof and water can’t travel upward. In terms of materials, winter won’t impact the installation of a metal roof.

Safety Precautions During Winter

During the winter in Delaware, rain and snowfall can make it untenable for construction crews to work outdoors. At the very least, the slippery surface of your roof comes with inherent risks, and ice dams pose another issue. These less-than-desirable conditions require the team to devote extra time and effort to safety precautions while still executing a proficient roof installation. In addition to higher temperatures, you should wait until there will be a few days without snow or rain in the forecast for a more efficient process. Here is how long it takes on average to tear off and replace a roof depending on the type of material used:

  • Asphalt shingles: One to three days
  • Flat roof: Two to three days
  • Wood shakes: Three to four days
  • Synthetic slate: Three to five days
  • Concrete tile: Eight to nine days
  • Steel sheets: Three to four days
  • Natural slate: Six to seven days

Inclement weather and the shorter days during winter may impact how long a roofing repair or replacement takes as well as the cost.

Successfully Replacing Your Roof During Winter

While harsh winter conditions create challenges to roofing in the winter, they’re not insurmountable. Whether you need to replace your entire roofing system or repair certain areas, the key is finding a qualified roofer in Delaware who has experience working during the winter months to help with your roofing project.

Most importantly, they will implement the proper procedures when working on your damaged roof during cold and potentially wet winter days to avoid accidents and to support the overall safety of the crew. Additionally, they will know how to work with the materials to ensure the installation is done properly. If they hand-seal each shingle, that can even bolster the longevity and durability of your new roof.

At Bromwell Construction Company, we can work around the challenges of roofing in the winter to help you with an emergency replacement or repair. We install asphalt shingle roofs, flat roofs and Dec-Tec roofs, using the best practices and procedures for each type of project. Our roofers in Delaware can install a new roof in just one day! 

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