Siding Replacement and Repair in Cold Weather

A common rule of thumb among contractors is that siding replacement, or any kind of exterior building repair for that matter, should be avoided during cold weather. This is because the quality of materials and equipment deteriorates in freezing temperatures. Aside from this, the risk of injury is more pronounced.

Despite these factors, there are instances when repairs should be made because of siding damage during the colder months. For example, blizzards can bring strong winds that reach speeds up to 60 miles an hour and can rip siding panels off house walls. The Midwest region has a high risk of blizzards due to warm air currents from the Gulf of Mexico meeting cold air currents coming from the Arctic Circle, picking up precipitation from the Great Lakes. The aftermath of a typical Midwestern blizzard usually features roof shingles and siding panels strewn throughout the landscape, leaving families exposed to blistering cold, snowfall, and occasional rain.

As a result, siding damage repair contractors have come up with ways to work even under the most hostile winter weather conditions.

Because the material used for siding replacement during cold weather tends to expand as the temperatures rise, contractors make allowances in their installation. One contractor raises the siding so that it can go behind the cover board instead of butting it to the trim. This leaves an allowance for expansion and contraction as the weather changes. Other contractors avoid the use of vinyl and metal sidings altogether because of the same expansion and contraction concerns.

There are also ways to take care of both equipment and manpower during the frigid season. Because pneumatic drills–a basic tool used by contractors for putting in screws, nails, and bolts–tend to jam because of hardened lubricant, they should be kept warm and drained overnight, then lubricated again in the morning. Some contractors provide heated trailers for this purpose, which may also be used by workers to warm up and avoid developing hypothermia and frostbite.

Slippage is also a common cause of injuries during winter, especially in locations where frost forms on the ground. Crews often cover the ground with an artificial material that resembles sand for extra traction, and are advised to take an additional degree of care when placing ladders and scaffolds against walls. Shorter hours of sunlight also pose an occupational hazard to workers. To deal with the shorter daylight times, siding replacement and repair crews often use halogen bulbs to provide additional lighting as well as heat when working outdoors.