Colder temperatures accompanied by snow and ice can greatly increase the risk of property damage. If you want to protect your biggest investment, it’s important to take the necessary steps to prevent foundation damage in the wintertime. Here are 7 winter maintenance strategies for your home that will keep water out and maintain the integrity of your structure.
Move Snow Away from Your Foundation
Is snow piling up against the side of your home? Snow meltwater left to pool around the base of your foundation windows can cause serious water damage and basement leaks. To avoid expensive foundation repairs come spring, shovel any snow away from the foundation windows to an area that will move the meltwater towards a sewage drain.
Clean Out the Gutters
You may not have to worry about any leaves clogging up your gutters come winter, but you still need to be concerned about falling branches and ice dams. When the gutters become clogged with branches, debris, and pieces of ice, any amount of snow can become a problem as it melts. If the meltwater has nowhere to go it will back up and overflow down the side of your home. Be proactive and have the gutters cleaned out before the first frost and throughout the winter season.
Ensure Your Attic Is Properly Ventilated
Good attic ventilation will keep temperatures even and prevent any hot and cold spots from forming that could cause ice dams. Not only do ice dams impede water flow but they can also cause the water to freeze beneath your shingles and seep into your foundation. To ensure your attic is well ventilated, keep the snow and ice away from the roof vents. Blocked vents can also lead to excess moisture forming in your attic which can cause all kinds of problems, from mold growth to wood rot that can weaken the integrity of your structure.
Clear Snow from Your Deck
Most homeowners do a great job of clearing the snow from their patios, walkways, and driveway but they often leave the snow to pile up on the deck. This simple mistake can lead to meltwater escaping through the wood gaps and pooling around the foundation underneath the deck. Worst of all, you can’t see how much water has collected there or easily remove it. To ensure you don’t experience a basement leak, remove the snow and ice as soon as it forms on the deck with a broom and plastic shovel. Then move the snow to your yard so that it will melt away from your foundation.
Waterproof Your Foundation
The only guaranteed way of ensuring you don’t have any basement water or moisture issues is to have a new weeping tile and foundation membrane installed.
Slope the Landscape
As mentioned above, water should be moving away from your home, not towards it. If you want to control the amount of water around your foundation, you also need to grade your landscape to slope away from the home and drain out near a fence or street. The best time to do this is at the beginning of the winter before the ground freezes. If you receive a lot of snow in the winter, you can also benefit from adding a window well drains.
Repair Cracks Immediately
Even small cracks in your foundation can let water in that can deteriorate your structure and cause leaks. You can prevent costly foundation damage by repairing any cracks as soon as they appear. If you have large vertical or horizontal cracks, it’s important to call in a foundation repair expert before it can become further exposed to frost damage and increase in size.
It’s important to check your home for any foundation cracks or water damage after a freeze and thaw cycle. If you find anything concerning or would like an inspection to ensure your property is protected from the elements, call us at The Foundation Experts. When you need affordable and lasting repairs, don’t wait for the spring, contact us today and we’ll take care of your foundation issues right away.