If the winters in Ontario are anything like the ones we have in Grand Rapids, no one wants to be out in the freezing cold carrying out exterior home repairs in the thick of winter, especially when there is a severe winter weather advisory. It is a scenario you can avoid by preparing for winter before it sets in. By being proactive, you can be energy efficient, avoid costly repairs and keep warm and cozy throughout the season.
The exterior parts of a house in particular can take quite a beating from the rigors of winter. Windows, doors, decks, gutters, roofs, pipes and†drains can become worn out and damaged due to extremely low temperatures and thick layers of snow and ice.
With these helpful winter preparedness tips, you will always be prepared before the snow hits the ground.
Tip # 1: Winterizing Your Garage Door
It is a good idea to periodically check the track of your garage door before the winter season. Check that the drive track has no obstructions and that the belt or chain is moving along the rail smoothly. If there is any jerkiness or resistance when the garage door is opening, use a garage door lubricant to keep the metallic belt and moving parts operational. Apply a generous amount onto the roller, hinges and bushings.
In Grand Rapids, cold temperatures can make various battery-powered devices fail and this includes the battery-powered remote control for your garage door. Check the door seals too. Ensure the trim and strips are tightly fixed and there are no signs of wear or damage. If you notice any damage, you may want to find a garage door expert in your area to help. It is quite complex and a large undertaking to repair or install seals or a new garage door, so this is a job that is best fit for a professional.
Tip # 2: Energy Efficient Doors and Windows
Doors and windows can also get jammed when snow and ice accumulate over it. Check the weather stripping around the windows and door frames to ensure that it has no tears. If it is worn, replace it. You would also do well to replace screen doors and window screens with storm doors and storm windows for energy efficiency. Be sure that wooden window frames have no signs of rot or decay or else the whole structure will be compromised. If necessary, replace the caulking both inside and out and glass that is cracked or broken.
Tip # 3: Avoid a Spring Deck Rebuild
If you live in Ontario, then you already know that the ice and snow can be rough on your deck. If your wooden deck is unfinished, protect it with a wood cleaner that is made to remove dirt and contaminants. It will also brighten it up and prep it for staining. If your deck is stained, remove the old finish so†that the new one†adheres well. Use a quality, water-repellent wood finish to spruce up the deck and keep it protected from snow and ice. You should also use a commercial mildew remover to get rid mildew or mold as soon as you notice it. Otherwise, it will keep growing throughout winter and cause a lot of damage and you may be looking at a much needed rebuild by the time spring arrives.
Tip # 4: Don’t Forget Your Roof & Gutters
Remove debris like branches, leaves and twigs which can cause fungus, mildew and mold to grow on the membrane. It can wear out the membrane†which can make water filtrate the building. As you do so, check the downspouts and gutters. If the gutters are overflowing or sagging, bring in a professional who will assess whether you need industrial water drainage. A constant flow of water from the gutter edge will infiltrate the foundation. If there is water infiltration, get the insulation replaced.
The roof edge is the first line of defense a building has against severe weather. If the wrong kind of fasteners are used or the installation is not done correctly, a home is vulnerable to damage. Inspect the rood edge from the roof and the ground so that you can spot any problems. If there are loose fasteners, stagnant water and loose metal or peeling paint, call in a professional immediately. You don’t want to be dealing such problems when winter sets in.
Tip # 5: Preventing Fence Damage
Wood fences are the most susceptible to damage from snow and ice. Apply a premium waterproof stain or sealant to ward odd decay, rot, mold and mildew. Metallic fences will be protected with a good-quality lubricant. Also, take a walk along your fence line and remove debris. Remove leaves, twigs and weeds that will thrive and collect around the fence leading to decay or the growth of mold and mildew.
Make another check by gently rocking each wooden slab. If there is damage already and a slab is loose, you want to fix it before winter. If you can, fix the damage yourself or call in a professional and then clear the debris to avoid further damage.
In conclusion, you can save yourself lots of time and†money by ensuring you are prepared for the winter weather. You can maintain your homes integrity and value by using these tips to winterize your home. Saving on your home utility bills and spring repairs can be a definite bonus for many homeowners. †Just be sure you do it safely, and if you still aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, hire a professional.
Jennifer Caughey is a content writer who has help her husband with her fair share of exterior home repairs. She has been writing about home improvements and providing her knowledge and useful tips to DIY audiences. Jennifer has most recently been writing for Environmental Doors.