Maybe a windstorm ripped off a few shingles, or a critter looking for a warm home did some roof damage. Now you’re faced with a damaged roof and plummeting temperatures.

What are your options?

Surprisingly, you can repair a damaged roof, even in the winter. Sooner rather than later is best when talking about roof repair. As weather worsens and adds more snow to the roof, that small leak will become larger. Melting snow behaves differently than rain and can even works its way uphill as ice dams force the water up and between damaged shingles and eventually into vulnerable drywall. Keep in mind that an untended leak that eventually causes water damage might raise the eyebrows of your insurance company who might not take kindly to paying a claim.

As soon as you notice the damage, contact a trusted roofing company in your area. They will assess the damage and determine what kind of temporary repair is appropriate – and feasible – in your situation. It might be a well-fastened tarp or a few well-placed shingles with temperature-appropriate caulking. The adhesive strip on standard asphalt shingles won’t adhere well in colder temperatures, so additional caulking is advisable. An experienced roofer will be able to advise you on how best to proceed. Whatever you do, don’t head up to the roof yourself! Slippery, windy conditions are highly dangerous and a fall could be deadly. Keep your feet on the ground and call a professional.

Although minor roof repairs in winter are certainly doable and definitely a good idea, completely redoing a roof is a task best left for the spring. Barring catastrophe, replacing a roof should be done in temperatures when the products will be at peak performance and the safety of the workers isn’t at risk.