The short answer is, the winter. It might be a bit inconvenient for you, living in the house, but because roofing companies are less busy over the inclement seasons, they are more likely to offer a seasonal discount. Most home service companies are in a similar position. They like to retain their staff year to year, so simply breaking even over the winter is often enough of an incentive to take on a new project.
Choose a company that has the equipment to do the work when it’s cold and wet
Not every roofing company can operate in the winter. Some close up shop, fly south to warmer climes, and return to the Pacific Northwest in the spring. For those companies, they are unlikely to invest in the equipment needed to replace a roof in the dead of winter. Neither are they likely to have the experience to do that job. It’s a bit tough for the workers, but some say they prefer to be a bit cold – where they can don more layers of clothes – than to be baked alive in the summer months when it’s hard to stay comfortable and hydrated enough. The last place you want to be is standing on the roof of a two-storey home when your begin to feel light-headed from dehydration! So, winter work is preferable to some.
Just how bad can the weather get during a roof replacement?
I know that Blue Star Roofing has done many a re-roofing project in the dead of winter. It might be well below freezing, but they got it done. Still, they will keep an eye on the weather forecast. Since the average roof replacement project only lasts a few days, the forecast is usually enough to know if you can complete the job before a storm blows in. Every now and then, the forecast will be plain wrong, and the roof crew will be surprised mid-project. In those cases, there are a few alternatives. They will either tarp down the whole roof (or whatever part is exposed) and wait for the storm to pass, or simply work under the covers – perhaps a bit slower – ignoring the weather and simply getting the job done as fast as is practical. Thankfully here in the Northwest it never get so cold that engine oil is freezing in its sumps, so it’s really only the rain that needs protection from. Snow, on the other hand will make a tarp shelter (while workers are working under it) problematic. It doesn’t take long for a ton of snow to fall on a roof, and this will likely overwhelm a tarp cover that has people working under it. Snow will likely halt to project, but still, it can be used to simply cover the house and wait.
The thing to remember is, a professional roofer will know what they can and can’t do, and will explain to you what your options are.
Sometimes an immediate deal will be attractive to a roofing company
Like any business, sometimes a booked project gets canceled. Perhaps the owner gets sick, or they postpone it at the last minute, and now you have a crew ready to go but they are suddenly at a loose end. Then the phone rings and a potential customer asks if you would be interested in doing a roof replacement asap. If they have such a slot freed-up like this, they will jump at the chance. Still, check your references, and don't simply choose a roofing company because it’s available.
Choosing a good roofing company
If you haven’t gotten a personal referral for a roofer, probably the best place to look for references for any your are considering is Yelp. Yelp.com are, as far as my research shows, the most reliable managers of online reviews. They are always resistant to change any reviews, because they know that the unedited and unvarnished opinions of the masses is, all things considered, the most reliable indicator of service quality. Start there and see what shape their Yelp reviews are in.
Experience is another big deal. Like most skills of value in this world, it takes time get good at roofing. Sure, you can start your own roofing company with a pickup truck, a ladder and a nail gun, but it takes time and experience to do a good job.
More next week.