Winter poses a big challenge for most roofers. Cold temperatures and snow pose hazards to your safety as a roofer, you and your crews morale, and the performance of your tools and materials. Many roofers who work in highly seasonal environments need to ask themselves what they are comfortable doing throughout the winter, as well as how to find clients and keep busy during the off season.
Can I Replace a Roof in Winter?
Most roofers do not do full roof repairs in the winter, both because it is a risky and difficult task and because most home owners choose to wait until spring. But what do you do in the case of an emergency? In some cases leaving a damaged or leaking roof until spring can cause huge issues for the customer, and its necessary to get the job done as soon as possible. In these cases, there are a few important factors to consider regarding if it can be done and how.
The first and most important is the safety of you and your crew. A roof can not be replaced if covered by snow and ice, and shovelling and ice-breaking to reach the roof itself can be a long and exhausting task. Not only that, but the surfaces under all of that ice and snow is bound to be slippery. For this reason it is imperative that proper safety protocols are followed, ensuring that your crew is properly harnessed in and are wearing the appropriate clothing to stay warm throughout the job. An extra level of caution must be used when working through snow, ice, and cold temperatures.
The second factor to consider is that the functionality of some tools may be affected by the cold weather. The airlines in nail guns for example can constrict in freezing temperatures, meaning you need to constantly be monitoring the depth adjuster of the gun. This does not make roofing in the winter impossible, but again it requires an extra level of caution and attention.
The last factor is that many shingles types do not cope well with cold weather. Asphalt shingles for example become much harder and more brittle in cold weather, and will require more pressure to be properly nailed down. In addition to that, the self-sealant strip on the shingle that allows the shingles to tab together may not be effective in cold temperatures, meaning each shingle may need to be hand-sealed. Other shingles such as fiberglass shingles and shakes can fracture or break apart in temperatures below freezing. These risks increase the amount of effort and time it will take to complete the project.
In some emergency cases, the importance of repairing the roof outweighs the risk and inconveniences of roofing in the winter. Monitoring tools regularly, wearing comfortable and warm clothes, and storing shingles somewhere warm before starting the job are all important practices in making winter roofing more effective. In non-emergency cases, it is advised to find a temporary solution and then wait for temperatures above freezing before starting the job. This brings us to the next questions roofers need to ask themselves – how am I going to keep myself and my crew busy during the off season?
How Can I Keep Busy in the Off Season?
Depending on your location and the experience of your crew, you may be able to work all year round. In some areas that experience harsher and longer winters, however, it may be nearly impossible to find work, especially work that you feel comfortable doing. In these cases, there are still many ways to keep busy during the off season.
Some roofers choose to head south for the winter, especially to areas that often experience natural disasters where work is plentiful. The downside of this is that work in these areas is often extremely competitive as many other roofers are doing the same thing. In addition to that, it requires you to leave home for long periods of time, which is not an option for some.
Even if full re-roofs aren’t possible to complete, there are often other odd jobs available. Many roofers offer solutions such as eavestrough maintenance, siding installations, and even christmas light installations. Some choose to take a few months off rather than continue working, but if this isn’t an option for you, finding odd jobs to keep you busy is a necessity.
The off season is also the perfect time to catch up on things you don’t have time to do during the busy months. For many this involves things like doing proper maintenance on your shop and vehicles, getting organized for the busy season, and working on your marketing and website goals. Developing a functional website that is going to bring in more business for you during the on and off season is imperative for growing your business. You may not have time for this during your busy months, so winter is the best time to focus on your marketing strategies.
Where Do I Go From Here?
If business is slow for you right now or you’re wondering what to do to keep busy through the winter, contact us and we can help. We specialize in helping you build your business online, and developing functional strategies for marketing and generating new business. You may not be able to get on the roof right now, but rest assured that there are still plenty of other ways to build your reputation and clientele. Contact us today to find out how!