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Challenges of Winter Weather

In Canada, we face the challenge of extreme, True North, weather. As we winterize our cars and our wardrobes, we need to winterize our homes to minimize winter weather-related damage. There are a number of things that could go wrong and result in significant damage. However, you could take several steps that may help reduce or prevent damage to your home, including your roof, downspouts, eaves trough, and gutters. Ice dams, icicles, and freeze ups in the gutters and downspouts can be problematic.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Be aware of the vulnerability of your property and educate yourself through various sources, including your local municipalities and utility companies. Once you are aware of the potential risks, you will be able to address them properly.
  • Have your roof (shingles, gypsum, wooden panels etc.) inspected, repaired or replaced. The risk of it collapsing is high if the roof has lost its structural integrity.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recommends that homeowners check for:

  • New water leaks inside the house originating from the roof or attic area.
  • New internal door jams. If doors become difficult to open, it could be a result of additional snow or ice loads on the roof.
  • New cracks in the drywall or plaster could also result from additional snow load or ice weight in the centre of the house.
  • On sloped roofs, sagging on the ridge-line (where the two sides of the roof meet) could be an indication of a potential roof collapse.
  • Have your eaves trough and gutters cleaned regularly to avoid clogging up. Remember, gutters are installed to direct the flow of water.
Challenges of Winter Weather, Strengthening Your Home's Defenses
Challenges of Winter Weather, Strengthening Your Home's Defenses

The eaves trough and gutter area is commonly ignored because we do not see what is happening up there, and as the saying goes, 'out of sight, out of mind'. If a regular cleanup is not done, particularly in houses surrounding a lot of trees, the gutters can get badly clogged and may result in expensive damage. A clogged eaves trough can dislodge from the roof due to the sheer weight of the leaves and debris. Shingle dust also accumulates over time and shingle dust is heavier than leaves.

The cost of cleaning is minimal, so it would be good practice to have them cleaned at regular intervals. The best time of the year to have them cleaned is immediately after the fall season. You may want to consider installing leaf guards which would not only guard your eaves against fallen leaves but it would also protect the eaves from ice and snow during the winter season.

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