With Halloween mere weeks away, you may be more focused on fall than winter. But snow, sleet, and ice are just around the corner — and homeowners need to be prepared. While the season brings the promise of cozy evenings inside and fireside family time, nothing takes away from the joy of the holidays like an unexpected home problem. Before icy temps hit, it’s time to evaluate: Is your home ready?
Get ready, because winter is on its way. Take advantage of the milder fall temperatures to prepare the exterior of your home. Here’s your checklist to prepare the exterior of your home for winter.
Clean Your Gutters
During the fall, trees are getting ready for winter too. They are shedding leaves and other debris — which land directly in your gutters. Take the time to manually clean your rain gutters or schedule an appointment with a professional gutter cleaner.
Be sure to clear all debris, remove any major clogs in your gutters or downspouts and check for damages. If you have rain gutter protection, like gutter brushes, wire mesh screens or other material, make sure that those gutter shields or gutter guards are still in proper condition.
Check Your Foundation
Some minor foundation cracks in your home are to be expected. It is normal for these to occur as the ground settles under your home. Note any small cracks for monitoring purposes, but these smaller cracks are normal and not the ones you need to fix.
Look for major holes or slashes in your concrete and be sure to correct these before the winter weather arrives. A quick fix is to use a quick-drying patch solution; long-term, you will want to sand and repaint over these damages. You’ll also want to make an appointment with a professional to navigate the best next steps for your foundation in your home.
Look at your Siding
Weather and normal wear and tear can lead to some cracks or holes in your siding. If left untreated, these are perfect places for water to seep in, leading to mildew and rot.
Use sealants and exterior-grade spackling to repair these holes. The solutions create a shield that will protect your home against winter weather. If maintained, you can prevent the need to fully replace your siding. If you’re noticing multiple problems in multiple spots, consult a professional.
Inspect Your Roof
Inspecting all parts of your roof, including fascia, soffit, rafters, and shingles, is vital to a well-protected home during the winter. Clogged rain gutters can lead to unstable rooflines and rot, while weather or fallen limbs can cause torn or broken shingles.
Unless roofing is your specialty, the roof inspection is typically best performed by professionals. These experts know exactly what to look for and can offer the best recommendations for what to repair right away, and what repairs can wait until spring.
Trim Your Trees
Over the spring and summer, your trees may have seen growth that can cause problems during the winter. Be sure to look carefully for any overhanging limbs or trees that are close to your home’s roofline. If left alone, winter weather can cause tree limbs to break and fall on your roof or gutters.
Proper maintenance can prevent costly repairs. Some rain gutter shields, gutter guards and other gutter protection are not tree-limb proof; trimming your trees can prevent the need for pricey gutter repairs.