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Our Guide to Winter Roof Replacement

16 November 2019

Our team answers homeowner questions every weekend on WCCO 830 AM from 9:00 am-10:00 am.  Have your most pressing home improvement questions addressed by calling or texting 651-989-9226.  Here’s the must-know information our COO, Andy Lindus, shared on 11.16.19.

As the temperatures continue to drop, a common inquiry homeowners have is about how late into the year asphalt roofing can be installed.  The answer to this question relies more on the air temperature than the actual date.  The best winter roofing results occur when temperatures are at least in the 30’s.  While it is possible to install a roof at even colder temperatures, the hand sealing of shingles is necessary in order to prevent roof leaks.  Special care must also be taken to prevent shingles from cracking during installation.

putting shingles on roof

Before committing to a roofing contractor, it’s wise to see examples of their past projects, read their online reviews, and speak with homeowners they have done work for.  This will provide a more complete picture of the type of craftsmanship to expect.  Working with roofing storm chasers can have detrimental effects.  If they do complete the work, it’s commonplace for them to botch or skip necessary elements of a roof.  One example is the drip edge.  While a drip edge can be added after the fact, it will not be of the same caliber you would have received when the roof was originally installed.  This is because a long-term roof is the culmination of all elements working together simultaneously.  For example, a west facing gable end, or peak of the roof, is deeply impacted by wind driven rain because weather moves west to east.  Oftentimes, during the shingle removal process, even roofs with a roof edge have evidence of rot along the roof rake because the wind driven rain can penetrate the roof edge and become trapped.  Quality contractors familiar with the extreme Midwestern climate are prepared for this and have strategies to outmaneuver this scenario.  Process includes running the ice and water shield up the roof rake, followed by a layer of underlayment, then install the roof edge, and use another piece of ice and water shield to seal the roof edge to the underlayment.  This procedure ensures that even if wind-driven rain does penetrate that side of the roof, it does not come in contact with bare wood, causing expensive dry rot.

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Reliable roofers also understand the importance of plugging holes created by old, unnecessary box vents during the re-roofing process.  Simply putting tar paper and shingling over the old opening instead of putting a solid material over the top creates soft spots in the roof.  This is particularly concerning because a homeowner or future contractor can unknowingly walk on this soft spot and puncture the roof.

A sign that the roofing contractor you’re considering is trustworthy is if they’re taking the time to inspect your attic for areas of improvement.  Quality roofing contractors have an array of diagnostic tools that can be utilized to identify and stop air leaks that contribute to ice dams.  They understand the importance of proper ventilation and will not claim that the addition of insulation alone will create a more comfortable home.  Focusing on insulation alone can cause more harm than good because a colder area that has the ability for air to circulate through is being created.  With less heat being able to reach the attic, condensation and frost will begin to form.  Eventually, the frost and condensation will melt, coming into contact with attic’s insulation, rendering it useless.  In addition, mold growth quickly ensues.

attic

Reputable contractors often suggest cellulose insulation over fiberglass because it has the chance to settle and develop a protective crust, slowing attic air flow.

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