7 Ways Snow Can Damage Your Home
As a child, there is nothing more magical than waking up to a fresh snowfall — especially in the Carolinas. However, once you become a homeowner, snowfall becomes less of a magical landscape and more of a cause for concern. Snow and ice can cause serious damage to your home’s exterior, costing you hundreds in repairs if you’re not properly prepared.
Follow along with us below to learn about major home damages caused by snow as well as our tips for repairing your home on a budget.
1. Roof Damage
Ice dams and winter storms can cause significant damage to your roof. An ice dam occurs when snow on the roof melts due to heat from the attic and refreezes, pushing water under the roof. Ice dams are known to cause roofing leaks and shingle deterioration, among other damages.
Additionally, the sheer weight of snow can cause significant damages to your roof. Issues such as leaks, ice dams and interior water damage are common when the weight of snow is too heavy for your roof to bear. So how much snow can your roof hold? Find out here.
Tips to Prevent Further Roof Damage
- If you notice damages, tack a tarp onto the roof to prevent further damage until it can be repaired.
- After a snowfall, try to remove the snow from your roof as quickly as possible. Most importantly, do not attempt to remove snow alone, especially if it requires you to climb onto the roof. This is extremely dangerous and could lead to serious injury.
- Remove ice dams as soon as possible to prevent water from leaking beneath the shingles and causing additional damage.
2. Gutter Damage
Aside from damaging your roof, ice dams also pose a threat to your home’s gutters. As the snow and ice melt and refreeze at the base of the roof, the water expands, causing the gutters to detach from your home. Water from snow and ice may also drain into your downspouts. If this water refreezes, it may cause downspouts to detach from your home as well. If this happens, immediate repair may be required.
Tips to Prevent Further Gutter Damage
- Clean your gutters before the winter season begins to remove leaves, pine needles and twigs that may prevent melted snow from flowing. Or, invest in gutter screens to keep debris out of your gutters.
- Consider purchasing heating elements that can aid in melting ice in your gutters all winter long.
3. Exterior Damage
During the cold weather months, snow can also be harmful to the outside of the home. If allowed to remain in contact with the exterior surfaces, snow can damage your home’s siding, especially wood siding.
Tips to Prevent Further Exterior Damage
- Inspect the siding around your house for cracks, rot, or weak spots before the snow gets heavy. Contact a professional if damages are severe, or use caulk to patch smaller repairs.
4. Driveway Damage
Throughout the year, it’s important to check your driveway for cracks. During the winter, water can seep into these cracks and freeze, causing frost heave. Frost heave occurs when the water freezes and expands, causing larger cracks and potholes in your driveway. This is most likely to happen after a snowfall, so be extra cautious during wintry weather.
Tips to Prevent Further Driveway Damage
- Seal small cracks in your driveway with tar to reduce the chance of potholes and large cracks.
5. Foundation Damage
The same freezing and unfreezing, and expanding and thawing cycles that can cause cracks in the driveway can also cause damage to the foundation of your home. Small cracks in the concrete of the foundation that is produced over time naturally can expand during the cold winter months. These cracks are some of the most severe home damages caused by snow that can cause significant damages to your home’s structure if left untreated.
Tips to Prevent Further Foundation Damage
- Before winter, make sure to inspect the foundation and seal any minor cracks or damage you find.
6. Pipe Damage
By this point, we all know that water expands when it freezes. If water is inside your pipes when that happens, the pipes could crack or burst under pressure, potentially causing significant water damage to the underside of your home. In case of a water-related emergency, knowing the location of your shut off valve is a good idea. Typically, it's located in the basement or buried towards the street in your front lawn with a concrete or plastic access cover.
Tips to Prevent Further Pipe Damage
- Be sure to disconnect outdoor hoses and cover faucets with insulators.
- Protect any unheated interior pipes with insulation to keep them from succumbing to cold temperatures.
7. Tree Damage
Trees tend to look sturdy and durable during the spring and summer months. However, trees and their branches can be affected by wind, ice and snow. Snow-covered branches put trees under stress, causing branches to break apart and fall. When this happens, fallen branches could cause damage to your home, car, shed and more.
Tips to Prevent Further Tree Damage
- Hire a professional to review the trees surrounding your home to determine which limbs should be trimmed back or taken down altogether.
Let Us Help You Protect Your Home This Winter
Home damages caused by snow can become worse over time if you don't take care of them promptly. This winter, check the inside and outside of your home for areas that may be at risk of being damaged due to snowfall or wintry weather. Pay special attention to the areas of your home that are listed above. If you spot potential risks around your home ahead of time, you can spend more time enjoying the snow rather than worrying about the damage it may cause.
For any help you may need this winter, be sure to schedule a service with Killingsworth. Our expert staff will know exactly what to do!