June 22, 2024

Housing Designer

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5 Ways Heavy Snow Can Cause Home Damage

4 min read

As a homeowner, you know winter can be taxing on your residence. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are five ways heavy snow can cause home damage and tips for you to protect your property.

1.    Frozen Pipes

Heavy snow and freezing temperatures can cause pipes to freeze and burst. Thankfully, it’s easy to prevent this hazard from occurring. First, you’ll need to shut off water to any outdoor pipes, ensuring all water has drained. Remove all attached hoses and store them in a shed or garage during the winter.

If you have outdoor pipes you can’t turn off, consider taking additional safety precautions. Insulate your pipes with sleeves and foam covers to prevent freezing. Installing frost-free faucets can help prevent water from getting trapped and bursting your pipes.

2.    Lawn and Landscaping

Before the snow falls, it’s wise to take measures to prepare your lawn and landscaping for the winter. Road salt runoff, used during heavy snowstorms, can cause significant damage to your turf when it’s absorbed into your soil. It can alter the soil structure, causing grass to wither and die. To protect your lawn, shovel snow away from turf and flush the soil with plenty of water in the spring.

Once the leaves fall, ensure you trim dying bushes and tree branches. Heavy snow or ice can add stress to compromised limbs, causing them to break and fall. Be especially wary of branches near power lines, windows, siding, or your roof — these risk damaging your home or cutting electricity in the dead of winter.

3.    Concrete Paths and Driveways

Winters are tough on concrete roads and driveways, especially if you live in a climate with lots of snow and varying winter temperatures. After snow melts, the water flows into concrete cracks. When the temperature gets cold, the water refreezes, expanding and widening gaps. This process repeatedly happens over the winter season, potentially doing significant damage to your concrete driveway and sidewalk.

The best way to prevent cracks from worsening is to fill them before winter. If you have a circular saw and experience, it’s possible to fix the issue independently. All you need to do is cut a groove to remove the old cement and refill it with new. You can also hire a contractor to fill the cracks for you.

4.    Roofs and Gutters

When snow and ice accumulate on your roof, it can create ice dams. If your gutters are clogged, melting snow has no place to drain. Rather than run to the drains and downspouts, meltwater backs up on the roof side, refreezing into an ice dam. The dam stresses your gutters and causes water to get trapped beneath your shingles, flooding your attic once temperatures warm.

To stop ice dams, ensure you clean your gutters of leaves and sticks before the season turns. You can also consider installing an ice shield to insulate your attic from further leaks and protect your roof from ice dams.

The weight of heavy snowfall can also pose a risk to your roof and gutters. Gutters suffering from too much of a burden can break off from the roof’s edge. Your roof is also vulnerable to structural damage. Before winter comes, inspect your roof and replace any missing or damaged shingles. After a heavy snowfall, use a roof rake to clear excess snow from your gutters and roof.

5.    Garage Doors

During the worst winter storms, snow and ice accumulation at your garage door can cause it to stick and sometimes freeze shut. What should you do if you’re faced with this situation? While it might be tempting to lever the door open with a shovel after clearing the snow, this choice could damage your garage door. Instead, try this approach:

  • Disengage your garage opener.
  • Remove all snow and ice.
  • Manually lift the door.
  • Reconnect the automatic opener.
  • Wipe away all moisture from the garage floor.

To keep your garage door from freezing in the future, attempt to keep the area as dry as possible. Regular shoveling and sweeping will help.

5 Ways to Protect Your Home From Heavy Snow

Now that you know how winter can hurt your home, you’re prepared to protect your property from heavy snowfall. Start working today!


About The Author: Evelyn Long is the editor-in-chief of Renovated, a magazine for home improvement and décor advice. More of her work can be found on Twitter.
Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash

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