There may not be a more important time for exterior home maintenance than during the winter months. Not only will proper maintenance ensure your house is in tip-top shape, it will also promote safety and protection for your family. From slippery driveways to water damage, air leaks and expensive repairs, a number of issues may arise if you don’t maintain your home throughout winter. Take a look at 4 key winter maintenance tasks you should check off your list this season.
1. Shovel Snow and De-Ice Your Driveway
After a significant snowfall, make sure to shovel the snow away from your home’s foundation. Failure to do so can lead to water pooling around the base of your house, possibly causing foundation deterioration and expensive repairs. Be sure to focus on areas most prone to water damage, such as basement windows and concrete steps. Regular shoveling is also the best way to keep walkways, driveways and sidewalks safe and ice-free. For extra icy spots, keep pet-safe ice melt or sand nearby to provide traction on slippery areas.
2. Check Siding, Soffits, Window Seals for Damage
Any damage to your siding, soffits or window seals can lead to substantial damage to your home, as well as costly repairs. These three features are exposed to the elements 24/7, so it’s possible they’ll experience some wear and tear. Check your siding for loose or missing panels, cracks and breaks, holes and moisture damage. Make sure your soffit vents are free of debris, and inspect them for holes and sagging, rotten wood. Look for discoloration on the ceilings inside as this can be a sign that moisture is entering your home. If you notice moisture and fog between your window panes, it’s a telling sign your window seals are broken. You may consider replacing your siding or windows if the damage can’t be repaired.
3. Inspect Gutters
It’s also important to make sure ice isn’t blocking your gutters. Your gutters should be cleared of any debris before the temperature drops below freezing. If your gutters are clogged, any debris and water will freeze, which will overload the eavestrough, resulting in warping and damage. If water backs up under the shingles, it can cause ice damming and water damage to the roof deck, so cleaning out your gutters is key to maintaining the integrity of your roof. Ice dams can cause leaks and permanent damage to your home, so preventing them is crucial.
4. Winterize Exterior Pipes
Turn off your external pipes, and make sure they’re fully drained. Frozen pipes can crack and, once thawed, potentially release thousands of gallons of water in one day, causing serious structural damage to your home. Check your pipes for signs of weakness. If your home has a separate shutoff for external faucets, turn it off and drain the water from those faucets. Also turn off and drain your sprinkler systems, as a broken sprinkler pipe can lead to damage and expensive repairs.
Make sure your home is prepared for winter by following these 4 exterior maintenance tips!