Parts of Your Home to Check for Winter Weather Damage
Winter and the snow and cold that comes along with it can do some serious damage to your home. There are several very common problems that are usually brought on during the winter months, including damage to Foundations, roofs and water pipes.
Ice dams and winter storms can do a lot of damage to your roof. An ice dam occurs when snow on the roof melts, the water runs to the edge of the roof and then refreezes. This causes water to back up under the roof where it can cause leaks and shingle deterioration. Simultaneously, high winds, hail and winter storms can tear off shingles or drive moisture under them, causing even more damage.
If you find a leak in your roof, you will need to have it repaired to help prevent extensive damage requiring a complete roof replacement.
- Minimize damage to the roof by tacking a tarp over the damaged area until it can be repaired.
- Remove ice dams as soon as possible to prevent water from backing up beneath the shingles and causing more damage.
- Try and remove the snow from your roof as soon as possible to prevent new ice dams from forming and causing more problems.
- Better attic insulation will help to prevent ice dams in the future as well.
- You can lower the risk of damage to your gutters by cleaning them before winter begins and removing ice dams.
- PVC Gutters and downspouts cost less than aluminum or copper, but you should choose what best matches your house.
- Heating options are available for your gutters that will melt ice all winter! Hogan’s Handyman can install these while cleaning your gutters to prevent future problems.
- Another preventative step that can be installed at the same time you have your gutters cleaned are gutter screens. A quality screen will drastically decrease buildup in your gutters.
Ice dams can do damage not only to your roof, but to gutters as well. That’s because the heavy ice building up on the edge can pull gutters away from the roof-line. At the same time, water freezing inside the gutters and downspouts themselves can lead to separations in some areas, which means that they’ll need to be replaced.
Proper planning can help protect your gutters from damage and the expense of having to repair or replace them. Here are some tips:
Cold, snow and hailstones can also cause damage to the outside of a house. This can result in peeling paint, which if not addressed, could mean that your siding can become vulnerable to moisture damage, which in turn can lead to wood rot requiring repairs.
Repainting your exterior in the spring can help prevent these problems.
In addition, hail stones or fallen tree limbs can damage siding, whether denting aluminum siding or cracking vinyl. Because the siding is a home’s first line of defense against the elements, it needs to be repaired in a timely way. Ignoring damage to your siding can result in damage deeper into your home and a higher cost for repairs.
A known problem that can occur during the cold winter months is damage to a driveway.
Small cracks that develop over time are the perfect place for water to seep underneath your driveway. When that water freezes, it expands, causing what’s known as a frost heave. Frost heaves are responsible for large cracks, as well as potholes in your driveway, leading to a rough ride, area’s for water to pool, and other ongoing issues.
Repairing, sealing or Repaving your driveway can correct these issues and help prevent additional damage by eliminating those small cracks.
Your Home's Foundation
The same freeze cycle that causes cracks and potholes in a driveway can also affect your foundation. Hairline cracks in the foundation that developer naturally over time because of a home settling can expand during the winter, causing major structural issues if they are not taken care of in a timely way.
Waiting to repair your foundation can lead to much larger issues down the road. Having your foundation repaired right away when issues are noticed will help prevent future issues from developing.
Frozen pipes can usually be prevented by closely inspecting all areas of your building where temperatures could drop below freezing and then taking preventative measures, such as adding pipe insulation, sealing openings, or adding a heat source.
In any building large or small, there’s always a chance you will overlook something and end up with a frozen pipe that could burst. If there is a particular area that worries you, be sure to check the pipes for signs of freezing when the temperatures are at their coldest by trying to run water or looking for signs, such as frost on a pipe, expansion or even cracks.
If you do locate a frozen pipe, these steps can reduce the likelihood of it bursting:
- Turn off water to your home at the main water shutoff valve
- Inspect the pipe closely for cracks and note any that you find
- If you find cracks, call Hogan’s Handyman for advice before doing anything else
- If there is no damage present, add a space heater to the area or use a hair dryer to gradually warm the pipe. If the outside temperature is expected to rise, you can also wait for the pipe to thaw on its own before turning the water back on. PROCEED WITH CAUTION: Never use any type of open flame or torch to thaw pipes.
If a pipe has already burst, then you’re dealing with different headaches, such as flooding and water damage, which leads to damage drywall, flooring and more.
Take Care of Your Home
Winter damage can become worse over time if you don’t take care of it in a timely way. Always make sure to check your home in the fall and in the spring to repair any damage that has impacted your homes condition. By taking care of minor issues and taking preventative action before winter, you can help decrease the risk of winter damage; While taking care of any damage found after the cold weather has passed can prevent larger issues from developing.