Whether we like it or not, winter is on it’s way and it’s rolling around quicker than we think. The best time to start buttoning up your home for the cold weather is during the Fall, when the temperatures are still cool with the warmth of the sun making it comfortable weather to spend time working outdoors. The key is to take action now and not wait until we experience below freezing temperatures or after the first snowfall.
Winter in Ontario has seen some brutal days but it is still the ultimate cozy season and a ton of fun. With outdoor winter activities, skiing, ice skating, tobogganing, followed by hot cocoa and Netflix marathons. You would hate to put all these enjoyable things on hold to fix issues with your home outside in freezing cold temperatures, right? Since the exterior of the home is the part that has to bear with the brunt of winter, here are some tips to help you prepare your home for winter and ensure it is safe and free from potential damage.
CLEAR OUT AND REPAIR EAVESTROUGHS AND DOWNSPOUTS
After the leaves have fallen, it’s a beautiful sight of red and orange hues that layer the ground below, but, for homeowners stepping up onto a ladder to check out their gutters, the leaves won’t look as pretty anymore. Clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary. Clogged gutters are one of the major causes of ice dams. Have you ever heard of leaf guard gutters, they do wonders and if you replaced your old gutters with these new ones, you could cross this task off your Fall maintenance list next year!
INSPECT YOUR ROOF
Inspect your roof for obvious deterioration or loose shingles that need to be repaired, just make sure your roof is in the best shape possible. Remember, your roof is your home’s first defense against extreme cold weather conditions, it would be better to proactively repair your roof now then to discover a leaky roof during freezing cold weather. It’s almost like wIth winter you always have to be one step ahead!
Caulking around windows and doorframes will prevent heat from escaping. It’s an easy and inexpensive maintenance job that can make a significant impact. If you have even the slightest of openings in the structure around your windows, water can get in and freeze, resulting in cracks and mold build up.
SEAL YOUR DRIVEWAY
When’s the last time you gave your driveway some TLC? Inspect your driveway for cracks. Give your driveway a good power wash and repair any damage with driveway filler, then coat with a commercial sealer. Sealing your driveway now, before it has to sit under snow and sheets of ice for the next few months will help extend the life of the asphalt through the winter and in the long term.
PREP YOUR DECK
Wash your porch and deck furniture and clear it of any leaves, dirt, and debris. Cover and store outdoor furniture and barbecues and store them in a protected area. Make sure all soil is emptied from pots and planters. Dirt left in clay pots will freeze and cause the pots to crack if left outside.
COVER YOUR AIR CONDITIONER UNIT
Covering your air conditioner unit is important for keeping debris and dirt from freezing over and sitting in the vital parts of the unit. During the Fall when leaves, sticks, and branches gather around the unit, it also becomes a cozy place for critters to make their nests. Use a tarp or a plastic air conditioner cover you can purchase at Home Depot or Canadian Tire to cover your air conditioner during the winter.
FRONT DOOR MAINTENANCE
Saving the best for last, if there’s one golden tip for exterior home maintenance, it would be this: Don’t skip the front door. The front door to your home endures frequent daily use, being exposed to the elements everyday. Even the highest quality, professionally installed doors are not immune to wear and tear.
First clean the interior and exterior of the door with a mild soap solution in water. Inspect the weatherstrip and door bottom sweep for wear, and replace as needed. Inspect the door’s corner sill pads for wear, and replace as needed. Avoid using caulk to fill in worn weatherstrip, instead replace the weathestrip. Lubricate door hinges as needed and tighten any loose screws to ensure the security of your door’s hardware.
If your front door is no longer performing like it used to and you find yourself in the market for a new door, turn to professionals to help with the design and installation of your new door.
Home maintenance is not always the most exciting thing to have to do, it’s time consuming, takes a ton of effort, and is sometimes uncomfortable. But the time investment is worth it, especially if you’re a family living on a specific budget that may not have a lot of wiggle room for unexpected repair costs. By performing these simple home maintenance tasks, you’ll protect your home and get more out of what you’ve invested in it. More importantly, you’ll avoid potential problems that the cold weather can cause meaning you’ll have more time to do the things you enjoy – like enjoying the traditions or a good ol’ Canadian winter, or binge watch the latest series on Netflix.
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