Transitioning from fall to winter in St. Louis, MO, is always a difficult thing for many people. The cold weather and snow mean you won’t be spending a lot of your time outdoors. Before you lock yourself in and warm up the house, think of the exterior. Is it ready for the coming weather changes? Will your roof, walls, and exterior withstand the combined onslaught of frost, ice, and snowstorms? They’d better be in tip-top shape, otherwise, you will be staring at a huge electric bill come spring.
Direct your drainage with yard grading
How your yard slopes or is graded determines whether water will flow out or back into your home. Ideally, the ground should slope six inches over 10 feet all around. Otherwise, water will collect and seep through the soil right into your foundation.
Inspect exterior walls
Check the exterior walls and pay attention to peeling paint or blisters. If you notice any of them, chances are your wall paint won’t protect your home’s siding. Repaint the siding before it deteriorates. Eventually, you will have to replace the siding, and this is going to cost money.
Clear any visible debris from your lawn or yard. These include rocks, twigs, small branches, and wood chips. Turn dead flowers, foliage, and weeds into compost manure. Don’t burn them.
Inspect your foundation for openings, crevices, or cracks and seal them. Shrunken soils and foundation settlement are the major culprits. Further investigation may be necessary if their cause isn’t clear. Take action fast, as these gaps could lead to structural failure.
Check your roof
You’re used to thinking your roof is in good shape, right? Weather changes, falling debris, or twigs can dislodge shingles or damage them. And then there’s the combined assault from ice, snow, rain, and humidity. All these can hurt your roof. Keep an eye out for holes and water pooling as they can cause wood and drywall to deteriorate. Left unchecked, a leaky roof also threatens your plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. Take preventive steps now when you have time. You don’t want to wake up to a leaky roof in the middle of winter.
Clear out gutters and downspouts
Your gutters and downspout extensions are supposed to collect and redirect water away from your home’s perimeter. Unfortunately, they can get clogged by gunk, debris, or falling leaves. When winter arrives, these gutters can cause ice dams. Fix all your damaged gutters or replace old ones with clog-free designs that have built-in leaf guards. Also make sure downspouts are angled down and away from the foundation, and you also can choose to have these lines placed in the ground.
Weatherstrip the garage door
Examine your garage door and make sure it’s not letting in cold outside air. Weatherstrip it to lock out drafts and small pests. You can add thin weatherstripping between your door and panels to make it airtight. Also, consider replacing the bottom door seal and stop molding on the sides and on top of your garage door.
Lawn and garden maintenance
Remove dead leaves from the lawn, reseed any patchy areas, and plant spring bulbs. If you suspect deer may cause problems, deer-proof the yard by covering your plants with chicken wire or netting.
Prepare your yard equipment
Drain fuel from any of your gas-operated outdoor equipment such as chainsaws, leaf blowers, and lawnmowers. Organize your snow removal gear. When snow starts falling, you’ll want to have roof rakes, a shovel, and snow blowers intact and right where you want them. Keep this equipment in a cool, dry place away from the extreme cold.
Drain your garden hose and move it inside as well. Shut all the outdoor water valves. Left with water, exterior water pipes can freeze and expand. This freeze-thaw cycle can rupture your pipes.
Other maintenance tips
- Inspect your driveway for cracks and repair any damage.
- Check your basement windows for drafts, weak frames, or cracked panes.
- Cover your basement windows with windows wells and well covers.
Still need help weatherproofing your home or repairing your foundation or basement? Contact Foundation Recovery Systems for a free foundation repair inspection and quote. We will carry out a thorough evaluation of your foundation and recommend the necessary steps and repairs needed to protect your home from the freezing winter weather.