Winter Preparation

While September may be the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ for parents sending their kids back to school, it also means that for Albertans, the snow is coming.  And while some of us may love the snow, our homes don’t feel the same way.  The combination of freezing temperatures, snow, high winds and ice build-up can take a toll on the structure of a house.  Fortunately, there are small steps that can yield big dividends when it comes to preparing our homes for the winter months.  Follow these tips to extend the life of your home.

1.  Check your roof:  Your roof is your first and strongest defense against winter’s elements; but the combination of snow, ice and wind can quickly deteriorate older shingles.  Now is the time to check your roof for loose or missing shingles. It’s better to find and replace damaged shingles in the fall than to have to deal with them in the winter.

2.  Check gutters and downspouts:  Clogged gutters lead to ice damming which can cause significant damage to your roof and attic and allow moisture to enter the attic and run down the walls.  Make sure to clean the leaves out of your gutters to ensure proper drainage of melting snow.  You'll also want to make sure that the downspouts have extensions on them that will deposit the water at least 5 feet from the foundation of your house.  (I'm going to expand on this in a future post with more information.)

3.  Check the grading around your foundation:  Nothing causes more damage to a home than water (well, maybe a fire would, but then you’ve got bigger problems to worry about).  Moisture will damage the structure of your home and can cause the foundation to shift by weakening the soil it’s sitting on.  Melting snow will seep into the ground and can leak through the foundation or worse, cause the soil to shift leading to foundation movement.  Ensure the grading around your home is sloped away (at least 6 inches over the first 10 feet) to direct moisture away from your home.

While there is never a guarantee that your home will withstand a prairie winter, following these steps will give your home the best chances of success.

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