Winter is approaching fast! … Aaaaaand it’s here. The snow and cold that winter brings with it can do some serious damage to your home’s exterior. There are several very common problems usually brought on by the winter months, including damage done to roofs, foundations and pipes, that many homeowners don’t know to check.
Area #1: Your Roof
While your house may look like a winter wonderland, the snow and ice can easily damage your roof. Ice dams are one specific example. An ice dam is when snow on the roof melts, runs down to the edge and refreezes there. It forces water back up under the edge of the roof where it can cause leaks. It also causes shingles to begin deteriorating.
High winds, hail and winter storms can tear off shingles or create moisture underneath them, damaging the roof further. If you find any leaks in your roof, minimize the damage to the roof by tacking a tarp over the damaged area until it can get repaired. You’ll need to repair any issues as quickly as possible to help prevent needing a complete roof replacement.
Area #2: The Gutters
If you’re thinking that you can avoid the ice dams mentioned above because you have gutters installed, think again. Ice dams can also damage your gutters as well. This is because the heavy ice building up on the edge of the roof can pull gutters away from the roofline. When water freezes inside the gutters and downspouts, it can cause separations in some areas, meaning that you may need to end up replacing them.
Gutter screens are one of the easiest things you can install yourself, that can save installation costs in the future. You can also install heating elements to help melt ice in your gutters all winter. But if that’s not an option, at least try to make sure they are kept cleaned out and watch for ice dams to build up.
Area #3: Your Driveway
One area that most people don’t worry about winter weather affecting is their driveway.
Over time, small cracks develop and are the perfect place for water to collect. When that collected water freezes, it expands. This causes something called a frost heave. Frost heaves cause large cracks, as well as potholes in your driveway. You can correct these issues and help prevent further damage and eliminate those small cracks by re-paving your driveway.
While you may not be able to pave your entire driveway with asphalt (a durable long term solution), consider sealing small cracks in your existing driveway with tar before they have a chance to expand, and cause potholes or major cracks. If you own a snow blower, it’s a good idea to use it often, to try and keep the snow cleared off as much as possible.
Area #4: The Foundation
Unfortunately, the same freeze and thaw cycle that causes cracks and potholes in a driveway can cause similar issues with your home’s foundation. It’s normal for hairline cracks in the concrete of a foundation that develop naturally over time as a home settles. When the cracks in the foundation expand during the winter months, it can cause major structural issues if they aren’t taken addressed quickly. If you notice any cracks, watch for leaks in your basement, or water collecting under the house. Always consult with more than one repair company before making a decision to ensure you are getting the best rate possible.
Winter damage only gets worse over time if you don’t take care of it as soon as possible. Always make sure to check your home in both the fall and spring to repair damages that could affect your home’s condition.
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