Shoveling your driveway is just the beginning

It’s a snowy evening, and the flakes are fluttering down to create a picturesque winter wonderland. Protect your investment this winter and keep your family safe and warm by staying on top of snow removal. Let’s explore what you need to know.

Take the necessary precautions this winter and save yourself time and money in the process – download the Seasonal Checklist for an itemized guide full of winter home maintenance tips!

Clear the roof after a heavy snowfall

Allowing snow and ice to pile up on your roof can lead to damage. It only takes four-feet of snow — or two-feet of compressed, frozen snow — to generate enough weight to compromise the structural integrity of your roof.

This is a very rare (and very scary) scenario but one to consider nonetheless. While Minto homes are built to outlast Canadian winters, the season’s unpredictability, ice storms and multiple storm build-up requires diligent home maintenance to keep your roof as snow-free as possible.

Be proactive and remember to inspect your roof before the snow flies, especially if the winter is projected to be harsh — If you’re unsure of what to look for, a qualified professional will warn you of risks and repair damage if necessary.

To remove snow from your roof safely, invest in a roof rake or roof razor. Such tools feature extendable poles allowing you to clear snow off your roof without using a slippery ladder. As above, if you’re uncomfortable raking your roof, or you’re concerned about a collapse, contact a professional.

Ice dams and sliding chunks of snow

Most homeowners are unaware of the main risk hanging icicles pose to their home.

Of course, there’s potential for these icy decorations to fall on an unsuspecting family member or guest, but a large number of icicles is a likely sign of an imperfection within your roof, such as an ice dam in your eaves. A buildup of ice along the eavestrough can lead to damaged gutters and create leaks in your roof as shingles become compromised.

Ice dams are caused by heat escaping from your attic, and as snow melts near the centre of your roof, it slides down into your eaves and then refreezes — expansion occurs, which assaults your shingles, opens cracks in your roof and potentially rips your gutters off.

There are three main ways to prevent damage from ice dams:

  1. Removing the ice manually from your eavestrough.
  2. Melting the ice and draining the water away from you home.
  3. Checking your attic for proper insulation coverage.

Removing ice dams manually using a snow rake is a lot of work, but it’s guaranteed to get the job done. Another method, which is less labour intensive, is to layer your eaves with a deicer and prevent ice from damming up in the first place. This Old House suggests reapplying the solution throughout the season — learn more here.

For professional repairs and insulation, including what’s best for your home and budget, it’s recommended to contact a roofing contractor.

Floods from melting snow

As the winter season ends and the temperature rises, snow melt has the potential to lead to flooding. This is less worrisome for new homes, but in extreme melt situations, it’s important to note that water can seep through a crack-free foundation.

Reduce your risk of flooding from melting snow by:

  • clearing gutters of ice to ensure proper drainage;
  • angling downspouts away from your home;
  • sealing cracks proactively using concrete caulk and masonry sealer; and
  • removing snow from window wells and low-hanging roofs.

Another tip is to make sure the grade around your house slopes away, preventing water from pooling at the base of your home.

Don’t forget, the Seasonal Maintenance Checklist is a great guide for Minto Communities’ homeowners. It saves you time by providing a list of items to check and maintain during each season including the winter.

For more information on protecting your home from snow damage, or if you have questions about what’s covered under your MasterCare Warranty, contact your community’s designated MasterCare Coordinator.