Picture this: it’s been pouring for weeks without end, and you’re getting antsy. You want to have your installer put on your new roof. Every time it rains, you imagine fallen shingles, roof leaks, and mold blossoming in your attic. Can you have your roofer come out in the rain?
Like most things in life, the answer is: it depends. Ideally, it’s best to wait until you have a dry roof to make repairs and installations, for all the obvious reasons. Slick roofs make it easier for workers to slip off the roof and injure themselves or damage your home. And a repair made in the rain could allow water to drip into your home’s interiors.
On the other hand, however, there are times when a temporary fix on a rainy day is unavoidable. These include emergency repairs such as leaks and storm damage that must be completed as soon as possible.
Wet Roofs Put Roofers At Risk
Your roofing company has an obligation to pay worker’s compensation for subcontractors that are hurt on site. Therefore, they generally won’t engage in activities that would put their workers at risk, such as working on an icy or wet roof. The same philosophy applies for homeowners interested in making DIY repairs. Take it from the pros, and wait until you have a dry surface to get up on your rooftop, even if you’re just scoping things out.
Shingles May Not Properly Adhere to Wet Surfaces
If you press a roofer to install a new roof on your home in wet weather, you probably won’t get very far. In fact, many areas actually outlaw roofing installations on wet surfaces, so it could be that you’re asking them to do something off-code.
That’s not just bureaucratic red tape—a wet installation can cause a new roof to fail. Shingles may not adhere properly to slick surfaces. Additionally, if the sheathing or wood is wet at the time or installation, it can trap moisture inside your roof, which is never a good idea, since it can lead to mold, rot, and other problems.
All in all, it’s best to avoid rainy day installations. If your roofer suspects that a storm is on its way, they should call off work until the rain has finished. Before they leave, they’ll cover the work surface with a tarp to protect it until they can return to complete the project.
Wet Installs Could Cause Materials to Buckle and Break Down
Many of the inner components of your roof, such as barriers, OSB boards and felt aren’t exactly waterproof, and hence, don’t handle moisture well. In fact, if you have roofers up on your roof in the damp, they could tear or degrade these materials as they step on them to work.
Furthermore, the materials may bulge or wrinkle, causing ripples and bumps on the exterior surface of your roof. Not only does this look unappealing, it also sets you up for major problems down the line, as this protruding barrier can increase your vulnerability to leaks. Most roofers agree that a rippling roof is essentially defective, and needs to be reroofed as soon as possible.
Installing in Wet Weather Could Void Your Manufacturer’s Warranty
Manufacturers guarantee their products, not the installation. Therefore, they usually set out specific guidelines for how shingles and materials should be installed—that way, they’re not liable for damage that results from faulty workmanship.
So if your installer decides to get up on your roof in less-than-ideal conditions, it could mean that your manufacturer will void their warranty. And that could mean more costly repairs down the line—without any help from the manufacturer.
Emergency Repairs Are Possible, But Be Cautious When Hiring a Roofer
There are some times when a temporary roof fix is unavoidable. These include leaks and damages that occur in the middle of a storm. If you suffer massive, sudden damage, like an impact or collapse, and emergency roofer may make some temporary fixes to get you in the clear ASAP. Or they may just cover the area with a large tarp and wait for the storm to pass over.
In either case, you’ll need to be careful about the installer you hire to get the job done. Many times, when a storm comes through an area, it draws disreputable contractors who are just trying to make a quick buck. If you hire a scammer, they may tell you that it’s okay to install shingles on a wet surface, just so they can get the job done as quickly as possible to move on to the next home.
Always make sure a roofer you hire has a local office, with a real address. Don’t hire a contractor who works out of a van, or who lists a PO box as their only address—these are all signs that a roofer isn’t planning to stick around for long.
In general, though, roofing repairs are best left as fair-weather friends. When installed properly, your new roof will last you ten years or more, so if that means delaying a repair a few days for foul weather to pass, it’s definitely well worth the wait!