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NOW IS THE TIME TO FIND AND FIX WINTER DAMAGE


Originally published in Haverhill Life magazine, April 2018


Spring is a good time to take a look around your home and note areas that may need attention. The winter season can do a lot of damage to your house. When the weather breaks and snow melts, homeowners and tenants should take a walk around their property to check for any visible damage. Look at the overhead wires to see if any fallen tree branches are hanging from them—but don’t try to remove them yourself. Check the yard for poor drainage areas. Inspect your walkways, steps and decks for tripping hazards. A short walk around your house could help you spot a problem early and save money and avoid aggravation in the long run.

Look for gutters or downspouts that have pulled away from the house, missing roof shingles, water damage from ice dams, and heaved driveways. Inspect the air-conditioning unit, generator or other outdoor equipment for ice or pest damage. Turn on the outside faucets to make sure those pipes and faucets were not damaged by the cold weather.

Check the vinyl siding and trim. They can slide or be pulled away from the house, exposing the walls to rain and snow damage. Brick and stone steps and landings can be damaged by snow, salt, shovels and ice heaving. Inspect your crawlspaces and cellars for water seepage. Snowmelt can cause water penetration that results in wood rot and mold in the cellars and crawlspaces.

Heavy snow and ice can even cause decks to pull away from the house, creating a safety hazard that could go unnoticed. My own deck was built according to code and signed off by the local building department, yet after a severe snowstorm it pulled away from the house and collapsed. There is no need to panic about your deck, but you should definitely examine it from time to time.

Missing roof shingles are a common problem caused by winter weather. I have inspected many houses that had their roofs damaged—not from snow but from someone shoveling off the snow. If you have your roof shoveled, be sure the contractor is fully insured and understands how to remove snow without touching the shingles. Missing shingles can result in water leaks, which, if not addressed, can lead to mold growth or wood rot that requires expensive remediation.

If you have an asphalt driveway, we recommend sealing any cracks in it (and in walkways) before the next winter sets in. This will help control ice damage. If you find damage due to winter weather, contact your insurance company to see if any of the damage is covered. In any case, don’t delay making the necessary repairs. Delaying can cause additional damage and problems that could have been avoided.

Don’t let winter damage get you down. The good news is that it’s finally spring!

ALL ABOUT HOUSES BY ANDY CONSOLI