Winter Home Troubles Are Only a Storm Away

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ September 6, 2010

Summer may seem a long time away from the grim, damaging effects of winter. But don't let the long dry days of summer and the leaning shadows of autumn lull you to sleep. The storms are coming! As an Alabama home inspector recently remarked to Consumer Reports, "If there are 10 things that can go wrong with a house, 15 of them have to do with water."

In the interest of protecting your investment, Consumer Reports cites critical home repairs to consider now that the sun is high. First on their list is to check your gutter system and ensure that leaders from the gutters and downspouts extend away from your walls and foundations. In fact, in high rain areas, homeowners should make sure leaders extend five feet from the house.

Got Pests?

The insects you can see--the crickets and bees--have been busy all summer. So have the ones you can't see, like termites and carpenter ants. If there's rotting wood or a fall firewood pile around your house, pests might be establishing beachheads for the winter invasion in your home. Rodent pests may have already found a new home for the winter, entering through holes in foundation walls and siding. Now's a good time to look for signs and ferret them out.

Inspect Your Siding and Roof

Before the first heavy rain, you should climb onto your roof on a dry sunny day and track down loose or damaged shingles, or damage to flashing and boots around chimneys and vents. Money spent now toward a few hours of roof repair can avert a huge expenditure to meet the roof repair cost come next spring.

Walk Your Foundation

Hairline foundation cracks can be caused by settling or curing, but if you can insert a fountain pen into a crack, you may need more than epoxy to patch it. Cracks wider than 3/16 inch can be telltale signs of pending buckling. Now you need a foundation contractor or engineer.

Look for Mold

Mold spores growing in summertime may have a block party come the damp days of winter. Look for fungus growing in subfloors, siding, or basements. Look around the edges of carpeting, check for moisture and condensation around your windows, and do detective work in bathrooms without window ventilation or in your laundry room. For the sake of those who have allergies, do your handy work in summer before you have runaway mold.

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