The Big Thaw: A Home-Maintenance List
Nothing batters our home like a heavy-snow winter, and this year’s been a doozy. If your area took a snowy beating, here are great tips to undo winter’s damage.
With many areas suffering one of the hardest-hitting, coldest, snowiest winters in years — here’s lookin’ at you, Buffalo — the spring thaw is a welcome relief.
Barrage after barrage of snow has made it a very hard season to deal with (so I’m told), but with spring on its way, it’s time to take serious stock of the damage nature has wrought.
Here are several areas of home maintenance you’ll want to give some attention to in coming weeks:
Dead leaves and debris can be clogging your gutters. All drainage needs to be securely fixed so, when the spring showers come, you’re properly draining the rain away from your home and you don’t suffer moisture damage or flooding. With any luck, you’ll just some elbow grease, a ladder, and hand tools at this point, but that could change quickly if you neglect matters.
Particularly heavy snowfalls really give outdoor decks a beating. If you’ve been shoveling it often, that’s even more wear-and-tear. The surface can get a lot of scraping damage, preventing sealants from doing their jobs in the coming months. It’s worth assessing to see if you should get a new coat of paint or sealant on the deck, so you protect that wood as long as you can.
This should be obvious, but check your roof, especially if you live in one of the crazy regions battered by winds and heavy-enough snowfalls requiring roof-clearing.
There’s nothing more important in the battle between your shelter and nature. Is the roof looking good? Are any shingles missing? Inspect areas with sealant around vents, chimneys, skylights, and anything like that. Does it look good? Could it be better? This could be a really great time to replace it, just to protect your investment. The same goes with the flashing around the chimney. Flashing is a huge barrier against moisture, so this has to be well-maintained.
If you’ve got siding or stucco on your home, you’ll want to inspect for cracks and damage. Take a good walk around on a bright day and inspect it carefully. Anything you find can likely be easily sealed, but without quick attention, you’ll have unwanted moisture in places not suited to fight its damaging effects.
Wherever water runs nearby, whether it’s on your property or adjacent to your curb, you’ll want to inspect to make sure drains are allowing any run-off or melt-water to go where it needs to go. Water pooling can lead to structural damage and potentially serious underground erosion, but it’s also where you’ll find bugs like mosquitoes breeding.
If we all did our duty to make sure properties are free of standing water, we’d all enjoy the summer months a little more, while preventing the transmission of bug-related illnesses like West Nile and others that are making inroads in North America. Protecting your structure against ground erosion and subterranean water damage? A great bonus too.
Maintenance is good ownership
You wouldn’t drive a car without doing maintenance, so why would you live in a house without maintaining it through the seasons?
Every time the season changes, it should ding the good-owner bell in your head and trigger a desire to, say, fix gutters, prune trees, caulk the counter — whatever it takes to keep your home in good shape year after year.
If you wait until these fixes “need” doing, you’re likely facing higher costs for doing so. Instead, stay proactive and let the winter/spring and summer/fall transitions guide your maintenance duties. You’ll put off major repairs for much longer, if so, saving you big bucks and plenty of headaches in the future.