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Preparing For The Thaw: Recognizing And Repairing Winter's Woes

By: Bidmyreno Admin | Feb 16, 2016


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There’s no denying it, Northern winters are rough! With record breaking low temperatures, snow and cold winds carrying into March, springtime weather seems to be far beyond our reach. While this winter has taken a toll on our bodies, we can’t forget about the impact it’s had on our homes. Water is the number one cause of seasonal damage to homes. In the winter, shifts in temperature create freeze thaw cycles that cause materials to expand, contract and potentially break down important components in your home’s structure. Water penetrates small cracks or holes in your home’s building envelope – eventually expanding when temperatures drop, and enlarging the cracks. Identifying any damages to your home early is the best way to lessen their severity, and with that, the cost of repairs. Here are a few things to look out for this spring:

1. Inspect Gutters and Spouts As spring progresses, be on the look out for clogged or damaged exterior drainage. A combination of debris and water often freezes in our eaves troughs, creating ice dams. The weight of these dams can bend gutters and pull them from their fasteners. Beware - having broken or clogged gutters can allow water to penetrate parts of your home during spring showers! To prevent water damage this spring, inspect your exterior drainage to make sure that the eaves troughs and downspouts are securely in place. Next, ensure that the gutters are clear of debris so that rainwater can flow easily through.  

Once the source has been repaired, you will want to cover up the watermarks. Simply applying a coat of paint is only a temporary fix because the stain will often show through. For a more permanent solution, be sure to first seal the stain with sealer or a stain blocking primer.  

2Check for any Roof Damage Having borne the weight of ice and snow all season, your roof may be in need of some TLC. From the interior, check for signs of moisture, rot and/or mold. The signs of water damage take the form of dark spots or trails along the ceiling and/or walls, as well as small leaks. Keep in mind that water stains or leeks are not necessarily directly below the source. The next tool to use for identifying water damage is your nose. Mold, fungi and bacteria can grow rapidly. In some cases, mold can begin forming within just 24 to 48 hours of a water-related issue, so be on guard for any unpleasant aromas! Once the snow has melted away, visually inspect the exterior of your roof for cracked, torn, loose or missing shingles.  

Save money on heating this spring by ensuring that your doors and windows are properly sealed.  

3. Watch for Leaky Windows and Doors With the expansion and contraction of different materials due to winter temperatures, windows and doors often separate form their frames. Avoid excess air leakage or potential water leaks by resealing any cracked or damaged caulking around these openings.  

4. Repair Cracks in the Driveway Much like on roadways, freeze thaw cycles can create cracks or uneven spots on your driveway. If caught early, these issues can be resolved by simply resealing the driveway. This process involves filling the cracked and uneven areas with a crack sealer. Once that is done, a re-seal-coating can be applied and left to set.  

Worried about your foundation this spring? A French Drain is a simply solution that can save you a lot of money in potential foundation damage. French drains are trenches filled with gravel, or perforated pipes that redirect water from the perimeter of your home. 

5. Protect your Home’s foundation When it comes to foundations, excessive exposure to water can weaken waterproofing, damage interior finishing materials and affect the overall structural stability. The potential for damage increases as temperatures begin to rise. To protect your home during the spring thaw, keep water away from your foundation by cutting trails or trenches around the perimeter of your home, or by simply keeping an eye out for water pooling next to the exterior walls. 5 Signs of a potentially leaky basement:

  1. a) Damp, stained or rusty spots on the basement flooring
  2. b) Areas of the cement flooring are uneven or cracked
  3. c) Warped, stained or rusty spots appear on finished walls
  4. d) Small water bugs appear – often residing behind furniture, in corners and along the baseboards
  5. e) A smell of mold or mildew

All set for spring! After checking for these 5 potential winter woes, you can be confident that your home will be protected this spring. So relax, enjoy the longer days and prepare for that long-awaited warmth! Are you are looking to kick-start your winter home repairs? Get help from a skilled professional with bidmyreno.com. Bidmyreno is a free online service that works to connect home and business owners with knowledgeable tradespeople. Simply sign up, post your project and sit back as contractors approach you with competitive pricing for your job.