Winter roof repair

Hiring a pro to install your new roof in the off season could save you time and money. (Dreamstime)

Dreamstime

Replacing your roof represents a serious investment of time, commitment and money. So, unless you're responding to a roofing emergency, the real answer to the question "When is the best time to install a new roof?" is "anytime you've planned ahead, thought everything through and know you're not making a rash decision." That said, time of year does play an important role in roofing installation. And you might be surprised what you can accomplish in winter.

HOW DO SEASONS IMPACT ROOFING WORK?

Summer offers ideal roofing weather, but that comes with a price (literally). It's the busiest time of year for professional roofers, so you may have to wait longer for a reliable contractor. And prices for both labor and materials may also be higher.

Materials suppliers tend to increase their costs in the spring. So, if you get ahead of that change, you'll get better prices than you would have if you'd waited a few more months. Roofers can do their jobs in the colder weather so long as it's not raining or snowing. And even the best roofing contractors tend to be less busy in the winter months. That means you may get a good deal, and be able to begin work sooner, if you hire someone in the wintertime. Just be sure to ask your contractor what measures they'll be taking to prevent slips and falls in potentially icy weather. Also, ask what steps they'll take to ensure your materials remain in good condition.

Keep in mind: Sealants apply at different rates in colder temperatures. And your roofing contractor should take that into account. Of course, getting ahead of the unpredictable spring season means you'll have less concern when it comes to unexpected storms and moisture messing up your roof installation project.

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHETHER YOU NEED TO REPLACE YOUR ROOF?

The most important decisions regarding roof replacement come long before the work is done. Sometimes, a roofing problem can be solved with spot repairs, while other situations call for a full replacement.

Consider these questions before deciding whether to replace your roof:

How old your roof? If your roof is more than 20 years old, a replacement is a good idea.

What is the condition of the shingles? Curling, buckling and missing shingles are a sign of imminent roof replacement.

Can you see shingle granules in my gutters? Shingles lose more granules near the end of their lifecycle. Inconsistent or darker colors on the roof are another sign that granules are wearing away.

HOW MUCH WILL YOUR ROOF REPLACEMENT COST?

Roof replacement costs vary quite a bit depending on materials. You might shell out as little as $5,000 for a basic asphalt roof and as much as $25,000 or more for higher-end materials. For this reason, you should consider your roofing options carefully and avoid rushing into the decision when possible. You're going to pay a lot of money and have to live with the outcome for decades, so take the time to get it right.

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Paul F. P. Pogue is a reporter for Angie's List, a trusted provider of local consumer reviews and an online marketplace of services from top-rated providers. Visit AngiesList.com.

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