How to stay busy as a roofer in cold weather

How to stay busy as a roofer in cold weather

Kevin Taylor, Training and Technical Support Manager at Marley, says the winter months present additional business building opportunities for roofing contractors.  

As the cold weather seems to continue, many car or van drivers think nothing of taking the time to keep their vehicles ‘winter ready’. A ‘to-do’ list could include a new battery, ensuring winter screen wash levels are topped up, tyres are checked, and the ice scraper is at the ready. They are commonsense and simple actions that ensure cold weather driving is stress-free.

Roofs on the radar

But many householders would also be giving themselves peace of mind if they applied the same thought to undertaking similar checks on their roofscapes. Ensuring the roof is maintained properly and is winter ready can mean, for example, that small and easily solved roof issues do not escalate and become a highly inconvenient and expense problem.

So, while roofing contractors may see a reduction in the number of new roofing projects starting during the winter months, there are ways they can proactively position themselves to generate business opportunities across repair and maintenance.

Added value service for roofing contractors

There are four key roofing areas that contractors should concentrate on when it comes to undertaking a pre-winter roof check.

When complete, the check findings will enable contractors to have informed conversations with homeowners and agree on any remedial or ongoing maintenance actions which could be needed. Roofers are in the unique position in that they can access an often-out-of-bounds area of the building and act as expert eyes that homeowners can rely on.  

1. Roof Tiles: Checking from a safe position, contractors can assess whether there are any missing or cracked roof tiles, ridge tiles, hip tiles, or other fittings. It is important to get any cracked or missing roof tiles repaired as soon as possible as any water or snow getting into the roof at that point can track down the roof timbers and cause inconvenient and expensive damage to ceilings and internal walls.   

2. Lofts: Condensation can be a big problem over the winter months because people stay indoors for longer periods, they turn up the heating and don’t open the windows. This creates increased volumes of warm, moist air which finds its way to the loft space, hits the cold underside of the roof coverings, and re-forms back into water droplets.  

The droplets can track down the roof timbers and drip onto ceilings, often creating dampness and mould if left unchecked. The best way to minimise the risk of condensation in existing roofs is to ensure that there is a flow of ventilation from eaves to eaves, or ideally eaves to ridge.  

Contractors should advise homeowners to declutter their loft before the coldest weather arrives, and check that insulation is not blocking the airflow at the eaves. This should ensure that there is sufficient airflow throughout the roof to minimise the risk of condensation and the potential damage it can cause.  

3. Gutters: An essential winter ready roof check should always look at the gutters and make sure they are clear of vegetation and debris. If it is safe to do so, contractors should offer to clear the gutters, and the outlets/downpipes and, if this is an annual problem, should suggest that the household fits gutter guards to prevent the problem from re-occurring.

Homeowners should also be informed that failure to address this issue over time can result in water backing up behind the fascia board and into the roof and staining down the face of the brickwork.  

4. Mortar and flashings: As with the roof tiles, contractors can observe if there is any missing mortar from the ridge and hip tiles, the valleys, or the verge tiles. They can also check that all flashings are still securely fixed into the brickwork, not turned up at the edges, and there is no missing pointing.  

If applicable, it is also sensible to see that the soil pipes flashings remain intact, and that the pipe is correctly sealed with a collar or similar. If any issues are spotted, roofers can help address them without delay and prevent driving rain and snow getting into gaps and, ultimately, the roof.   

Carrying out competitively priced winter ready roof checks can be an added value service offering for roofing contractors that will strengthen client relationships and help identify costly roof problems before they magnify. Saving homeowners the time-consuming inconvenience and unwanted expense of major roofing work.     

To find out more about Marley visit Pitched Roof Tile Specialists | Marley.

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