3 Types of Winter Damage You Should Look Out For and Fix
By: Amy Collett
With Fall in full swing, it’s time to examine your house with fresh eyes. More often than not, you will find damage, especially in areas where winters can be brutal. From there, it’s time to take action and make repairs before such problems escalate and end up more expensive later on. Here are some of the most common issues you should be looking out for and what you can do about them, presented below by The Shinabarger Team.
Roof and Gutter Damage
As a rule of thumb, it’s a must to clear your roof and gutters of debris like fallen leaves, twigs, animal scat, and the like long before the first snow falls. This is to stop ice dams from forming on your roof, which can force melting snow and ice to leak and melt into the house, causing more damage that necessitates major repairs.
Despite your best efforts, however, ice dams can still occur. A well-ventilated and insulated attic will usually stop them from forming. If not, applying a de-icing agent like calcium chloride is also a simple but cost-effective solution, as well as using a gutter cable that’s heated to melt the ice and direct water away from the structure. If the gutter or downspouts have separated from the house in any way, it’s also a must to secure them back in place with brackets.
The roof will also bear the brunt of inclement weather in many ways. Shingles can be damaged by heavy snowfall, rains, and wind, while your chimney (if you have one) can crack over time. It’s more than wise, therefore, to replace damaged shingles and attend to cracks and possible leaks as soon as the weather permits. This is, of course, best done by roofing professionals as it can be quite a dangerous task, rendering DIY efforts more trouble than they’re worth.
Exterior, Landscaping, and Foundation Damage
Similar to your roof, your house’s siding will also sustain much of the winter damage. Look out for sidings that may have cracked or split over time. You can then use caulking to seal small cracks and gaps, or for bigger ones, replace the damaged boards. This is something that you shouldn’t put off because even the smallest openings in your siding could invite mold and rot inside the house, which will only lead to even bigger problems. Don’t overlook your home’s foundation, either. Expanding ice in winter can cause cracks on your foundation, so make sure to seal these up before you find a larger issue on your hands.
Landscaping damage, meanwhile, probably won’t be noticeable until after the winter. However, start making preparations now to gather the tools and supplies needed to bring your landscaping back to life. Alternatively, you could begin researching landscape design services so you’ll have some freelancers and companies in mind for when warmer weather returns.
Burst Pipes and Flooding
Cracks and leaks in your plumbing are best addressed long before winter begins as there’s simply nothing worse than having them break in the middle of winter. It’s definitely in your best interest to take great pains to avoid clogging your pipes during winter, as well as to keep them insulated. Make sure to keep an eye on your water pressure and if possible, open the cabinet doors under your sinks to keep warm air circulating on your pipes.
Flooding from snowmelt is also another thing that you want to avoid at all costs in winter. Make sure to check your sump pump regularly to ensure that it’s in working order. You can also mitigate the issue by shoveling snow away from your home’s foundation and staying on top of your landscaping, especially on plants closest to the structure.
But on the off chance that you do end up flooded because of leaks or you have mold growth, be prepared to hunker down for major repairs. Consider putting items from affected areas in a rented storage unit for work to commence unencumbered.
In conclusion, spring symbolizes rebirth, but for your home, this could mean necessary repairs in the aftermath of winter. Ultimately, staying on top of this necessity will translate to the continued comforts of your home. No better motivation than that!
If you’re looking for a new home this winter, The Shinabarger Team can assist you. Give us a call today at (509) 947-8076 to learn how to get started.