When it’s cold outside the last thing anyone wants to do is climb up onto their roof to repair tiles or fix the gutter. Yet, unfortunately, these problems cannot wait until the temperatures get a little more bearable in the spring. Leaving issues can cause further damage down the line.
So, if you’re wondering how to fix a leaky roof in winter, or fixing damaged roof shingles in sub-zero temperatures, read our guide for safe winter roof repairs.
Roofing in winter is more treacherous than any other time of year. Whether you’re doing the job yourself or hiring professional help, you want a plan ahead for safety.
You need a strong and sturdy extension ladder that is in good condition. A poor quality ladder can be dangerous at the best of times, but extremely hazardous in cold and icy conditions. Make sure there is always one or two people holding the ladder in place while you are climbing up it.
Plus, you need to be wary about the placement of the ladder. Do not rest it on snow, as this can be slippery and cause the ladder to move while you are up it. Shovel the snow aside and make sure the ladder sits on solid ground. Similarly, remove any snow or ice from your boots.
Also, make sure you extend the ladder beyond the top of the roof for better and safer access.
Inspection And Maintenance
You should inspect and maintain your roof throughout the year. Winter is no exception. Often, rain water in the gutters can turn to ice which might damage the gutter. The weight of the ice might cause the gutter to fall away from the roof. Similarly, gutters might fill up with twigs and leaves left over from fall. Therefore, they cannot do their job properly of draining water.
Ensure you inspect areas of your roof and gutter and clear out any debris to prevent future issues.
You can use a hammer and chisel to remove ice, or a rake to remove snow, leaves and twigs.
Ice dams are a winter nightmare for all homeowners. An ice dam is when the heat of the home causes snow to melt on the roof but when the water runs off the pitched slope, it freezes over the gutters, preventing the rest of the water from draining.
Therefore, water sits on your tiles without draining and can cause leaks into the interior of the home.
It is especially important to clear any ice before it can become an ice dam. Applying electrical tape before winter sets in is one way to prevent ice forming. To remove ice, a pickaxe or salt usually works well. Ensure you practice safety standards while attempting to remove ice. If you are in doubt as to the safety, contact a professional roofer.
Materials And Tools For Winter Roof Repairs
Some materials and tools you might need for winter roof repairs include:
- Replacement tiles
- Roof felt
- Replacement gutters
Flashing And Chimney Repairs
Many roof leaks are the result of chimney or roof window damage. Check the flashing around the chimney or window base. Keep an eye out for cracks or holes in the flashing. It might have even been removed entirely by extreme wind gusts.
Missing or damaged flashing can cause leaks into the interior of the home. Replace the flashing around the chimney or roof window immediately or hire a professional to do the job.
Tile And Slate Repairs
Missing or damaged tiles and slate can cause further, more significant harm to your roof down the line if you do not repair it. Flashing damage and leaks might occur. Even a cracked tile can let water into your home and cause damp, rot and structural ruin.
Ensure you have replacement tiles and the right tools begin fixing damaged roof shingles. Many tiles or shingles have asphalt strips to fix them to the other tiles, but these often require hot temperatures to bond. You can use a torch, or mortar, or mechanical fixtures to keep the tiles in place until the summer temperatures come around.
As mentioned above, gutters are extremely vulnerable to ice, snow and debris in winter. If your gutters aren’t in good working order, you risk further damage to your roof. Make sure you clear any debris, and repair leaking joins or blocked downspouts. It’s not uncommon for rubber seals between joins to disintegrate over time.
Luckily, gutters are relatively simple to install or replace in winter. The best way to repair a leaking gutter joint is to use silicone. If the gutter has a home, you may need to use roofing cement or replace the guttering. R
Most roofs can be replaced in winter. Whether your roof has tiles, slate, metal or wood, the cold temperatures should not affect replacing it. However, make sure you take safety precautions ahead of replacing your roof.
You might have problems using tar to fix roof leak, particularly if you’re wondering how to fix a leaking flat roof in the winter. Tar requires hotter temperatures to bond the roof materials together. Using a dry fix roofing technique, using only mechanical features to fix the roof shingles together, such as screws and clamps.
Dry fix roofing also takes half the time of using mortar, meaning you won’t be out in the cold for as long.