Soggy spring put roofs through the ringer — and homeowners looking to reshingle face long waits, rising costs

A super soggy spring put many houses through the ringer — and not just those directly impacted by flooding.

The roofs of many southern Manitoba homes took on higher than usual amounts of snow, spring melt and rain in recent months, and that’s driven up homeowner demand to redo their shingles.

After one of several downpours in May, Neil McArthur encountered something unexpected when mowing his lawn in Winnipeg.

“I went to clear away the sticks and I realized, ‘That’s not a stick,'” recalls McArthur. “One shingle, two or three shingles, pretty soon I had a little stack of shingles that had just blown off.”

He encountered another surprise when he picked up the phone and started dialling local roofing companies: he wasn’t alone. Finding someone willing to come assess his roof and quote him a price proved challenging.

“I was actually feeling pretty desperate,” said McArthur. “It was raining constantly and I knew my roof was in bad shape and I thought, ‘Yeah, I could just call a roofer.'”

He contacted more than 30 companies over the course of weeks and struggled to find someone.

Weather-worn patches are visible atop Neil McArthur’s home. He says after contacting over 30 companies, only three agreed to come give him an assessment due to how busy they all are. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

“I thought, well, with that many roofers, I should have no trouble getting someone out urgently,” he said.

But McArthur said only three agreed to give him an estimate. Many said they were too busy to repair his roof.

They said demand for services is high right now due to frequent strong winds and heavy rain in recent months, McArthur said.

“They’re also talking about the labour shortage,” he said. “It’s hard to get people to work.”

Derrick Kolly, co-owner of Agassiz Roofing, says all trades-based industries continue to encounter significantly higher costs for materials this summer. Labour shortages have also hit his sector, he says, which he has tried to counteract by raising wages. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Derrick Kolly, co-owner of Agassiz Roofing, said his company is busy these days due to demand. Poor weather conditions this spring also meant they lost about two months of the work season.

“It doesn’t help when it’s raining every other day,” he said. “We’re just trying to get through it all.”

Kolly echoed McArthur, saying labour shortages are impacting businesses across the trades.

One way some companies are trying to counteract that is by increasing wages, which is what Kolly says he has done. That also translates to higher costs for consumers.

Add to that inflation and rising costs of materials, and some homeowners in the market for a new roof or shingles may be in store for sticker shock.

“We’ve had prices on shingles almost double in the past two years, so we can’t really do anything but to pass it along to the customer, unfortunately,” said Kolly. 

Neil McArthur holds out damaged shingles that blew off his roof recently during a storm. He worries if he can’t secure a roofing company to come redo his shingles that the damage to his home could worsen. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

At Agassiz, the newest customers are facing wait times until the end of August before the first new shingle is laid down, and it’s possible costs rise further in the meantime.

“We try to guarantee our quotes for 30 days, but even then we’re having a hard time,” said Kolly.

Either way, once it starts to snow, the projects come to an end until spring, he said.

McArthur worries that if he can’t get a team out to fix his roof this year the damage to his house will worsen.

The cost estimates he just received also reflect what Kolly is seeing on the business end.

“It’s a lot more than I had in my piggy bank, let’s just put it that way,” he said.

Recent storms create high demand for roofers

12 hours ago

Duration 2:15

A long winter with lots of heavy snow, followed by a wet spring has left many homes in need of roof repairs. And many home owners having a tough time finding someone to do the job.