You might think that maintenance projects, especially those that involve the exterior of your property, are best left to be tackled during warmer months. But you might be surprised to learn that winter can be one of the smartest seasons for you to pursue those pesky repairs on your home or commercial property!
When you’re vigilant about maintaining the integrity of your property both inside and out, the peace of mind you gain is priceless. Catching minor problems now can save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long-run! And it’s also worth noting that insurance policies frequently do not cover repairs resulting from wear and tear.
According to the most recent data from the Insurance Information Institute (III), in 2018, there was over $3 billion in insured losses due to winter storms alone! You could wait until the weather is more favorable, but if your home is showing signs of wear and tear now, is that really something you want to gamble on waiting to fix?
While DIY might be the way to go for updating that dingy paint in your master bedroom with something more refreshing, or even replacing the cabinets as part your kitchen remodel, these types of maintenance projects are best addressed by licensed, accredited professionals to confirm whether there is a problem that needs a solution.
Here are four major areas you should focus your attention on this winter:
Do you know how much weight your roof is designed to support? How about the grade of its incline? During the winter months, snow and ice can wreak havoc on roofs that aren’t equipped to handle it. Think those missing, damaged, or warped shingles aren’t too big of a big deal? Think again! When your roof is vulnerable, so is the very foundation of your home or business. If water seeps in through the roof, it can leak down the interior walls of your home, making its way to the foundation where it can compromise the structure of your home. Severe weather can impair the longevity of of your roof by up to 50%! When properly installed, a new roof can last from 20 to 25 years. You’ll want to be sure it’s regularly inspected by a professional that is well-equipped and trained to safely inspect roofs to examine the state of shingles, flashing and joints for potential weak spots and damage.
2. Gutters, Downspouts and Drains
To continue keeping that roof in tip-top shape, you’ll also need to consider the state of your gutters, downspouts and drains. If you see debris such as leaves and twigs caught in your gutters, or if you have trees close to your home, there could be clogs restricting proper drainage. During winter months, these blockages can lead to backed up ice and snow, and ice dams can develop that will cause water to back up into your roof, and even pull gutters off the house from the excess weight. You’ll want to be sure that gutters and downspouts are properly fastened to your home, and that downspouts are extending away from the house at an appropriate distance to prevent flooding and water damage to the foundation. There are even ways of heating these areas to prevent snow and ice accumulation, and a licensed professional can assess your situation to let you know if this is possible for your property.
3. Seal Windows, Doors and Cracks
Many people are surprised at how much energy and money they lose through leaks in windows, doors and cracks in their homes. This is one of the simplest and high-impact maintenance jobs you can do. The EPA estimates that a knowledgeable contractor can cost-effectively seal air leaks in attics, foundations, and around windows and doors for a 25% reduction in total air loss. How can you be sure your home isn’t leaking? First, check the weather stripping around windows and doorframes for drafts to see if it needs to be replaced outside. It may need to be caulked inside to keep heat from escaping and frigid air from blowing in. If you have wooden window or door frames, you’ll want to check for signs of rot or decay that would need to be replaced. Inspect windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps, and fog between glass panes. And you can even replace your screen doors with storm doors and window screens with storm windows throughout the harsh winter months.
Does your vinyl, metal, brick, stucco or wood siding have cracks, chips, dents, or entire sections missing? It might seem that these are only cosmetic issues, but these issues go far beyond simple curb appeal. When snow and humidity get blown into these vulnerable areas in high winds, water can freeze and expand, causing even more damage where you can’t easily see it, or even leak down the insides of your walls, again compromising the foundation. Luckily, if these types of vulnerabilities are caught early, they can often be repaired quickly and simply, preventing very expensive and extensive repairs down the line. Even replacing larger sections of siding can save you thousands of dollars in the long run as you avoid mold accumulation and severe water damage from affecting walls and the foundation.
Don't Delay. Contact the Experts.
Do you suspect that your home or commercial property might be overdue for an inspection? Are there obvious signs of wear and tear or damage that you’ve been hoping would go away? You can avoid huge headaches down the road by getting an inspection from a licensed professional.
At Home Repair, we have over 25 years of experience in expert property inspections and repairs of roofing, siding, gutters, windows, exteriors, and more. With offices in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia, we’re well acquainted with cold winters, blizzards, snow, ice and windstorms and the extensive damage and weather-related insurance claims that can result.
Facts + Statistics: Winter Storms [Insurance Information Institute]
- Importance of Routine Roof Inspections [Home Repair]