Roof Problems in Cold Weather

I live in Pennsylvania and recently did a roof inspection via the crawl-space attic of my elderly mother's ranch home, after a heavy rainstorm. I found leaks, two totally blackened rafters (which I guess means mold), and lots of mold on portions of plywood.
Since I don't know if she'll be able to afford a new roof in the spring, I'd like to do whatever I can to make sure the leaks don't get worse. Her roof was put on eight years ago and the shingles supposedly had a 25 year warranty, but that's as good as the plastic bag they came in.
Is the only solution to roof leaks during the winter months plastic sheeting and/or buckets on the attic floor (or in her case, joists and foam insulation)? If she can afford a new roof, when is the absolute earliest in the northeast that it's wise to put one on?
Sorry if these questions sound stupid. This is the first time her 30 year old ranch ever looked like the roof really took a beating.
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tioga 0630 wrote:

Whole roofs and repairs can be made in most areas any time of the year. Summer may be the ideal time but you don't need to wait.
--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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| tioga 0630 wrote: | > I live in Pennsylvania and recently did a roof inspection via the | > crawl-space attic of my elderly mother's ranch home, after a heavy | > rainstorm. I found leaks, two totally blackened rafters (which I | > guess means mold), and lots of mold on portions of plywood. | > | > Since I don't know if she'll be able to afford a new roof in the | > spring, I'd like to do whatever I can to make sure the leaks don't get | > worse. Her roof was put on eight years ago and the shingles | > supposedly had a 25 year warranty, but that's as good as the plastic | > bag they came in. | > | > Is the only solution to roof leaks during the winter months plastic | > sheeting and/or buckets on the attic floor (or in her case, joists and | > foam insulation)? If she can afford a new roof, when is the absolute | > earliest in the northeast that it's wise to put one on? | > | > Sorry if these questions sound stupid. This is the first time her 30 | > year old ranch ever looked like the roof really took a beating. | | Whole roofs and repairs can be made in most areas any time of the year. | Summer may be the ideal time but you don't need to wait.
But, that varies from contractor to contractor, location to location, and so do the warranties they might provide. A good contractor will want more money in the winter, esp in the PA area where snow is also a concern. That said, your roofing season is a fairly long one though; and from the sound of things, there's no need to go into emergency mode with roofing work. Simply call a couple or three roofing companies/contractors, get estimates, and see when they plan to do the work; choose accordingly.
Pop
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It doesn't sound like she's in dire straits, but how bad that is probable depends on the kind of winter we end up getting. It doesn't sound like emergency work is necessary, so I'd start with a few phone calls to your local roofing contractors and see what they say. Roofing is dangerous work in winter weather, so that is usually going to add to the cost IFF you try to get winter work done. I would see if there's a way to hold off until spring for the work, but NOT to choose the contractor - IF you're going to replace it, it's likely not too soon to call contractors: They are often booked up after spring arrives and then your choices become more limited.
From the description, it does sound like you need to have it reroofed, and probably also need to have the old roof stripped off first. Especially if you want the house to remain viable for more than say ten more years. I say that because you mention blackened rafters/plywood panels. Some of the underlayment likely needs replacing. Most roofing warranties aren't valid unless applied to solid, up to code surfaces. You DO want a good warranty, in my opinion.
It sounds like you're relatively handy, so it might be worth getting a couple of 25 x 50 foot tarps (or one if it's enough) at your local Home Depot and putting them down up there just to protect ceilings, etc. in the meantime. You'd have to make that decision - where is the water going that comes in? Anyway, use the tarps to direct the water to some harmless location and especially so it doesn't go down inside the walls.
I don't think there is anything you can do to make sure the matters don't get worse. The damage is probably already done; get a reliable roofer to check it out if you can't tell yourself.
About your present warranty: It may not be worthless. The contractor might be, but ... the manufacturer of the roofing material is likely still around and if it had a 3- yr installed warranty, that's still a chunk of change you might save. Can't hurt to research it a bit at least.
The black color by the way isn't necessarily mold; a roofer can tell you whether it is or not. It -might- just be weathered wood colors, but when it's wet and in the bad light as you probably had up there, it might have just looked like mold. Wood gets dark when it becomes spongy and the fibres are broken down. It didn't very likely get that way overnoght though, so you do probably have rot in those colored areas and other areas too.
hth,
Pop
|I live in Pennsylvania and recently did a roof inspection via the | crawl-space attic of my elderly mother's ranch home, after a heavy | rainstorm. I found leaks, two totally blackened rafters (which I | guess means mold), and lots of mold on portions of plywood. | | Since I don't know if she'll be able to afford a new roof in the | spring, I'd like to do whatever I can to make sure the leaks don't get | worse. Her roof was put on eight years ago and the shingles | supposedly had a 25 year warranty, but that's as good as the plastic | bag they came in. | | Is the only solution to roof leaks during the winter months plastic | sheeting and/or buckets on the attic floor (or in her case, joists and | foam insulation)? If she can afford a new roof, when is the absolute | earliest in the northeast that it's wise to put one on? | | Sorry if these questions sound stupid. This is the first time her 30 | year old ranch ever looked like the roof really took a beating.
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Pop, can't thank you enough for the informative response. Am going to call contractor today. Now, new question--serious--
SHOULD I BUY AN INDUSTRIAL WATER DIVERTER IF THE BIDS ARE TOO HIGH IN WINTER? REMEMBER THIS IS A CRAWL-SPACE ATTIC WITH NOWHERE TO DIVERT RAIN SPILLAGE ON A TARP *BUT* INTO THE WALLS, JOISTS, AND/OR INSULATION.
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