Inspecting Your Home For Winter Damage

icicle hanging off home

As the days get longer and warmer, our attention naturally turns toward spring and summer activities, but this is also an ideal time to do a walk-through of your home and property to determine what damage or weathering this past winter may have caused.

Check your gutters, eaves and downspouts.  When snow melts and refreezes on your roof, it causes ice dams to form.  Over time, this ice continues to build up, blocking water from draining.  The longer it remains, the more water will seep into—and through—the roofing materials, prompting leaks.  Ice dams will also begin to push gutters away from the house.

Ice also creates “freeze thaw” in cement and asphalt, leading to cracks and splits on your sidewalks and in your driveway.  These will widen and deepen over time, so the sooner you can manage repairs, the easier and less costly they will be.  Likewise, your home’s foundation can succumb to this same problem, especially if water pools against it, freezing and thawing repeatedly throughout the winter months, creating slow, insistent damage.

Extreme temperatures—both heat and cold—take their toll on your home.  Water promotes both rot and mold.  Heat causes peeling paint and cracked vinyl.  Conduct an inspection to see if the harsh winter months have created any of these problems on your property.

Inspect roof shingles to make sure all are intact and secure.  Check to make certain that the trees on your property, particularly those closest to your house are healthy and trimmed, with no cracked or damaged branches that could fall and cause significant damage later.

Look at all outside faucets closely.  Test them to make sure no pipes have frozen or cracked.  Don’t leave water running on your yard or garden for any length of time unsupervised until you know there isn’t a leak creating havoc somewhere inside or beneath your home.

Many homeowners think to have their furnaces serviced and their fireplaces cleaned in the autumn before colder weather sets in, but spring can be a more efficient time to attend to these details.  You won’t be using them during the summer months, and the professionals who provide these services will likely be able to get to you right away.

Thirty minutes spent now to evaluate how well your home came through the winter can eliminate surprises and unexpected repairs further down the road.  Your local Handyman Matters office stands ready to provide assistance with both a survey of your property and in repairing in problems that come to light in the process.  Call 1(866)FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code at www.handymanmatters.com to locate the office nearest you.