How to Winter-Proof Your Home’s Exterior

Your home is your most important line of defense from the elements. With fall quickly approaching, it’s now more important than ever to start preparing your home for winter. This process, often referred to as winterizing (or “winter-proofing”), ensures that your home is equipped to handle snow, sleet, hail, and wind.

What Happens if You Don’t Winterize?

Even if you’re not expecting a severe winter, it’s important to properly winterize the outside of your house. If you don’t, your home’s exterior may suffer snow, ice, or wind-related damage. This is particularly true for your roof and gutters, which are especially vulnerable.

Snow and ice build-up on trees combined with wind from winter storms can snap off branches or knock down the tree itself. Fallen trees and tree limbs can cause cracks, torn shingles, or cave-ins to your roof.

Even if you don’t have trees on or near your property, your roof isn’t necessarily safe. Built-up snow on the roof can also cause it to leak. If the snow is heavy enough, your roof will eventually cave in. Melting snow can refreeze into ice dams—ice ridges that form around the edge of your roof and prevent snow from draining. Ice dams can pull the shingles up from your roof.

Snow and ice can also clog your gutters. If they do, they won’t drain properly, which can cause water damage to the walls of your house. Too much weight can tear them away from your house altogether.

Even the pipes in your house aren’t safe from the cold weather. Depending on your climate, residual water in your pipes can freeze, causing them to burst.

How to Winter-Proof Your House

Now that you understand the importance of winterizing the outside of your house, here are several tips to help you prepare for the cold weather:

Clean Your Gutters

Get leaves, twigs, and other detritus out of your gutters before you get your first snowfall. Not only will this make them lighter and help them drain better, it makes it easier to remove snow from your gutters as it starts to build. If your gutters are already damaged, you should have them repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

Clean Your Roof

If snow accumulates on your roof during the winter, the weight can lead to cave-ins. Melting snow can also refreeze into ice dams, which can trap more snow and damage your roof or gutters. Make sure your roof is clear of debris before your first snowfall, and carefully remove as much as you can during the winter. Because snow removal can be dangerous, it’s best to have a professional roofing service clear the snow for you if you have severe buildup. Make sure to check your ceiling for cracks or leaks as well.

Trim Tree Branches

Trimming loose tree branches can minimize the risk of them falling onto your roof. Make sure your trees are properly trimmed, and pay close attention to limbs growing near your house. If you’re unsure of how far back you can safely trim your tree, consult an expert.

Consider Gutter Guards

Gutter guards, also known as leaf guards, are designed to block debris from your gutters. They come in several varieties, such as brush and screen guards. Installing gutter guards as you winterize the outside of your house can stop ice, snow, and debris from accumulating in your gutters.

Consider Snow Guards

If you live in an area prone to heavy snowfall, a snow guard for a metal roof may be a good investment. Snow guards encourage snow and ice to melt in small amounts, which helps prevent ice dams. It also helps stop “roof avalanches”—instances where accumulated snow falls off your roof all at once. Not only can roof avalanches damage your gutters and roof, they can potentially injure people or pets standing nearby.

Prepare Water Pipes

Preparing your pipes is vital to keep them from freezing. Detach your outdoor hoses to prevent water from leaking into them at night, and insulate the pipes inside your house in order to stop them from freezing or bursting.

Roof and Gutter Repair with Woodland HomeWorks

If you’re struggling to prepare your home for the coming winter, try Woodland HomeWorks. Our gutter repair and replacement services will ensure your gutter systems can handle whatever winter throws at them, while our professional snow removal services will keep your roof clear. Contact Woodland HomeWorks and receive a free quote today.