After another unpredictable Wisconsin winter and the multiple freeze/ thaw cycles that characterize Midwestern winter weather, the freeze cycle will soon be behind us, and it’s time to prepare for the Spring preparations and damage assessment as a result of this relentless cycle. Both homes and properties have their unique challenges when enduring the winter’s punishing effects. The key to minimizing the impact is to assess and address any damage incurred in early Spring, knowing where to look and nipping potential problems in the proverbial “bud”.
The culprit behind the freeze/ thaw cycle is moisture, or water, which wreaks the most amount of havoc. Water and moisture are an issue year-round to homes in Southeastern Wisconsin, yet the winter months of freeze create unique challenges as the moisture seeping into masonry, foundations, roofs, joints and other building materials create the cracks and imperfections with the expansion of water in its frozen state. It compromises structures in many ways, indoors and out. Identifying the compromises in spring ensures your home and property is protected from inclement weather for the next few seasons of whatever nature brings.
Spring Thaw Alert: Care for your Custom Built Home
Areas around the home to monitor during the springtime thaw:
Snow Accumulation against Home foundation:
Heavy snowfalls resulting in accumulation/ drifts and snow piles against homes should always be minimized. As the spring thaw occurs, residual snow piles should be removed from home foundations because, as it melts, that’s where the water will pool. Oversaturated ground near the foundation will find a way in. Sewage systems are also affected, should flooding due to sudden melts after heavy snowfall affect the sewage drainage field.
Check for obstructions:
Keeping the flow of melting snow/ ice away from the home is important. Aside from shoveling snow away from the home and windows, there needs to be a clear path for the water to flow. This is also important with the roof and gutters; extenders for gutter downspouts are an excellent consideration, to keep the flow of water moving further away from the home. Also ensure any in-ground drains are removed from debris to facilitate the flow of water from the home or any areas on the property it can cause damage by pooling.
Scrub clean unwanted organic matter…
…that has accumulated on the exterior of the home: from cobwebs to mold, they find ways to penetrate the home if left untreated and provide a host of issues that can be dangerous to inhabitants. Look in nooks and crannies of these hosts before damp warmer weather in the spring months results in growing populations harder to eradicate that can compromise structures and introduce a residual health problems.
Inspect roofs and joints:
Snow accumulation, melt and freeze/ thaw, can easily compromise roof tiles, seals and result in multiple avenues for precipitation to invade the home during winter months. Tiny cracks easily get larger, allowing for more water to seep in, damaging walls and foundation, contributing to mold growth, and providing a pathway for insects seeking indoor refuge. Repairing promptly eliminates the worry of water seepage, pools of moisture and even floods that compromise interior woodwork and upholstery and molds and other allergens that cause health issues.
Windows and Doors:
Cracks and fissures in the molding and seals as a result of excess moisture invading these areas, paired with dry heat from indoor heating conditions. These can be identified by bubbling points of paint, drafts, any areas of seal, trim or molding that shows gaps. All of these are a sign for immediate repair or patching.
In the name of Safety:
Inspect any exterior masonry, walls, sidewalks and steps that may have been compromised. Loose stones and faltering steps can cause unnecessary accidents and are fairly easy to catch in the early phase of disrepair before they become a real hazard.