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Don’t Let a Winter Storm Damage Your Home – What to Check

Winter storm

We’ve already had more than one winter storm hit Maryland this season and there’s certain to be more coming as we head into 2021 and beyond. High winds, snow and freezing rain can all wreak havoc on your home.

It’s important to check out your home after a major winter storm to make sure there aren’t problems that need to be addressed immediately. We always recommend hiring a licensed, certified and fully insured professional like T.W. Ellis to take care of any significant home repairs. These are some of the major problem areas that can develop after a winter storm, but its important to check anywhere where there was a buildup of snow and ice or potential wind damage.

Roof Damage

The roof is one of the most common problem areas after a storm.

Check the roof visually from ground level or from your windows. Do not go up on the roof yourself to look for damage, especially in the winter when it may be slippery or icy. If you have visible damage or need a further inspection, hire a professional!

More info on replacing your roof: 11 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Shingled Roof

Look for shingles that are missing, cracked, curled, loose or otherwise damaged. Flashing, fascia and the soffits can also be damaged by heavy winds as well. Snow and ice accumulating on the roof can cause leaks, ice dams (see our next point) or other damage, especially as the temperatures fluctuate during warm and sunny days.

Ice dams forming on gutters can cause winter storm damage

Blocked Gutters and Downspouts

If you see icicles hanging off your roof and gutters, that’s a sign you could have ice dams. Ice dams are a build-up of ice along the eaves of sloped roofs caused by the freeze/thaw of snow. The ice blocks the drainage of melting snow, adding more moisture, causing more freezing, and so on and so forth. 

For the long term, preventing ice dams comes down to regulating the temperature of your roof and attic – a larger remodeling project addressed with insulation and ventilation.  

In the short term, though, you can check your gutters and downspouts to make sure the moisture draining off your roof has somewhere to go. If your downspouts are blocked by snow or ice, clean out the space in front of them so they can better drain. Keep gutters clear of leaves and other debris that may make it more difficult for water to drain.

There are also several methods you can use to address snow and ice on the roof, including roof rakes, heated cables and deicers. A professional roofer or remodeler can safely help with many of these.

Leaks in the Attic

One of the best ways to ascertain if there are leaks or other problems with your roof is to look in the attic. Assuming your attic space is readily accessible, head on up with a flashlight and look for moisture or discoloration. Daytime is the best time to do this, making it easier to spot any cracks where daylight is streaming in. Any of these are signs you should call a professional right away.

Winter damage on exterior siding and windows

Damaged Siding/Exterior

Take a walk around the outside of the home. Look for loose shutters, loose siding panels, holes or cracks. Wind-damaged siding will eventually allow mold and moisture into your walls, not to mention various critters.

Be sure that all exterior exhaust vents such as those for dryers, water heaters, fireplaces, etc., aren’t blocked by snowdrifts or ice buildup.

Leaky or Drafty Windows and Doors

Beyond obvious visible damage, that winter storm may have revealed leaky, drafty windows and doors. Even if moisture isn’t getting in, cold air coming in is like money going out. Replacing aged windows and doors can be a great way to make an impact on your utility bills. As a Master Certified Green Professional, T.W. Ellis is trained in the best ways to make your home more energy-efficient.

Whether you are dealing with winter storm damage or just ready to make a change, contact T.W. Ellis today to discuss all your remodeling needs!

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