12 Step Checklist to Prepare Your Home for the Wisconsin Winter
Winter Home Inspection Tips
Wisconsin winters are tough! There’s no doubt about that. From October snow flurries to late April blizzards, cold weather has a tendency to take a toll on both us and our homes! While clearing out your gutters each fall is important, there is plenty more you should be doing to keep your home in tip-top shape over the winter. While you’re up on a ladder cleaning leaves out of your gutters, keep an eye out for each of the following warning signs that home exterior repairs or maintenance may be required.
The Winter Home Inspection Checklist
☐ Clogged Gutters
Leaves and debris can clog gutters and downspouts, causing ice damming, siding leaks, and wood rot. A quick inspection and removal of any foreign material will help allow your gutters to drain properly throughout the winter season.
☐ Roof Debris & Foliage Removal
Accumulated leaves, pine needles, and debris can trap moisture on your roof, causing rot below your shingles. This moisture can damage wooden support beams, warping your roof and causing additional leaks or structural rot. If you see any loose or accumulating rooftop debris, simply brush it off with a broom. If adjacent tree branches are coming in to direct contact with your roof, contact an area landscaper to safely trim them back.
☐ Roof Damage – Loose or Missing Shingles
It’s always a good idea to take a quick peek at your roof during your fall gutter cleaning. Loose or missing shingles can cause leaks and internal home damage. Keep an eye out for any missing or raised roofing nails, as they may cause small leaks as well.
☐ Cracked, Curled, or Hail Damaged Shingles
If your shingles are beginning to curl and crack, it might be time to consider re-roofing your home. While a variety of factors can cause shingle curling, the most common cause is simply old age. Feel free to give us a call, and we’ll help prepare your free roofing estimate. Small dents or pockmarks across your roof might also indicate potential hail damage that occurred at some point during the summer.
☐ Damaged or Missing Flashing
Flashing provides protection for some of the most vulnerable parts of your roof, including your chimney, skylights and vent pipes. Flashing can be worn down by time or removed entirely by extreme weather conditions. If you see any undesired bent, cracked, or otherwise missing flashing, our repair team can help fix your roof flashing before any significant water damage occurs.
☐ Granule Loss
While a small amount of granules will collect in your gutters, downspouts, and splash blocks throughout the lifecycle of your shingles, significant granule loss may be indicative of an aging roof. If you’re unable to see the bottom of your gutters due to granule loss, then it might be time to consider a roof replacement.
☐ Leaks Into the Attic
Have you been up in your attic lately? It’s always a good idea to take a quick peek in your attic on a rainy afternoon to see if any leaking is occurring. Drops falling from the ceiling, visible light peeking through, and discolored ceiling paint or tiles are surefire signs of roof leaks. If your fiberglass insulation appears to be saturated or sagging, this may also be an indicator of a potential roof leak.
☐ Structural Damage
Have you noticed a slight bow in your roof? Do you have rafters or ceiling joists that appear to be sagging or discolored? Structural damage due to prolonged water and moisture exposure can prove to be quite expensive to repair if left unchecked.
☐ Limited Ventilation (Intake/Exhaust)
Adequate airflow is required to help your attic breathe! Proper ventilation is required to extend the life of your roof, minimize your electric bill, and limit the potential for winter ice damming. If you see extensive icy ridges forming alongside your eaves and don’t have any attic vents on the roof (or in the eaves), then your home might not be properly ventilated.
☐ Mold, Mildew & Moss
Mold, mildew, and moss formation can be detrimental both inside and outside your home! Exterior accumulation can trap moisture and cause roof rot. Black discoloration across shingles or shakes is usually the result of algae spreading from clogged gutters or areas of moisture collection. Application of a moss and mold remover like Wet & Forget will help clean up any unsightly algae and mold growth.
Interior mold and mildew formation develop from moisture generated by roofing or siding leaks and poor home ventilation. If you notice any wall or ceiling discoloration due to mold and mildew, contact our team and we’ll have our roofing, siding, or gutter team schedule an appointment to help track down the root cause.
☐ Animal Damage
Wisconsin is the home of all sorts of critters who love poking holes in siding, plugging up home ventilation, or building nests in places they don’t belong! Whether you have a pesky woodpecker that is adding some unwanted ventilation to your home’s siding, or a squirrel that decided to chew a hole through your soffit, the LH Krueger repair team is well equipped to fix any animal-related damage.
☐ Peeling Paint, Siding Gaps & Vinyl Splits
A quick walk around the house can expose any siding damage that may have occurred during the warmer months. Peeling paint may indicate moisture buildup, while siding gaps, splits, warping, and fraying may require repair or re-siding services.
Did Your Home Pass The Checklist?
If you noticed one or more areas that don’t pass the bill for your Wisconsin winter checklist, L.H. Krueger & Son has you covered! While some problems like ice damming can’t be serviced until the spring thaw, winter is a perfect time for re-roofing projects!