Check roof: A roof has an important job all winter: keeping everyone inside warm and dry! So as it gets warmer, check your roof for cracks, holes, curling, splits, and broken and crumbling pieces. Keep an eye on parts that are under trees or that branches touch the roof as branches and animals may have damaged part of the roof.
Check windows: After a long (or short) winter, check your windows and doors for wear and tear. Look at the weatherstripping on the exterior for gaps or cracks, check the movement for any sticky spots, and look at the frames and sills for rot. The window sill is sometimes a place that water can end up sitting during snow and storms, and can rot, leaving moisture a way to get inside the home.
Check A/C: Checking your furnace before the winter comes is a good idea. Another good idea is checking your air conditioning unit/system before the summer hits. It’s better to know that your A/C unit needs work when it is 30 degrees out rather than 80 degrees.
Check chimney: Winter storms can push and knock your chimney around. Check to see if the chimney is leaning, and that the flashing isn’t peeling or completely gone.
Check mortar: As buildings shift and expand and contract throughout the year, mortar may crack. Check any mortar for cracks and look for any mortar that is missing or deteriorating.
Caulking: Things contract in the cold and expand in the heat, and cracks, gaps, and splits around your home are no different. During the mid-point of the year, when gaps are not too narrow and not too wide, is the best time to caulk it up! Caulking at this time minimizes the contracting and expanding the caulk will have to do throughout the year. Look over your home to see if there are any spots that could use a bit of caulk, or some touch ups.
Check driveway: Quick freezes and thaws can wreak havoc on asphalt and concrete, and add to that ice build-up and the all-important snow plow, and your driveway (and sidewalks) take a beating throughout the winter. Check for cracks that can be tripping hazards, and bring water in that can damage them.
Check gutters: It’s not just leaf and debris build-up that can be damaging to your gutters and downspouts. An icy or wet winter can mean that your gutters have been holding a lot of weight and could have been pushed by ice. As the snow thaws (or gets warmer, since we haven’t had much snow) it can be a good time to check your gutters and downspouts to make sure that they are securely fastened and in good shape.
Inspect porch: Winter snow, ice and storms can damage a porch or deck. Check your porch for a sagging ceiling, loose sections, and rot. Check the posts to make sure they have not been damaged by ice and snow build-up and are still firmly in the ground and footing.
Clean/brush siding: If you like to give your car a good wash after a long winter, wash your house too! Siding takes a beating throughout the year, and can sometimes use a good cleaning, or even brushing, to loosen some of the dirt that may have piled on – and can make any stains more visible, which is a good thing. If you have stains on your siding, that can be a sign of a moisture problem which can come from the siding or even the roof.
Check for rotten wood: Snow and water are not wood’s best friends, and if you’ve had a wet and snowy winter, check around your home for any rotten wood. Rotten wood leaves openings for moisture and insects to enter the home, and can affect the stability of your home. Be sure to check areas that see the most moisture carefully, such as areas around gutters and downspouts, around windows, and wood low to the ground.
Check for damaged paint: Winters can be dreadful for a beautiful paint job, and before spring comes and the sun shows the beautiful home off, check the paint to see if there are any worrisome spots. Peeling, flaking, cracking, and discoloration are all paint issues to keep your eyes open for.
Inspect foundation: Snow and ice piles up outside during the winter, and that means there is a lot of moisture pushing up against your home. Check your foundation inside and out for cracks and bulges that can be a sign of a larger problem.
Inspect surrounding trees: Trees covered in snow make a picture perfect winter, but the biting cold and heavy snow can damage trees, which can lead to damage to your home. Winter storms can leave broken branches waiting for the right moment to drop on an unsuspecting rooftop. As it gets warmer, look for broken branches and leaning limbs or trunks.
Look over fences and walls: Fences or stone walls surrounding a property can take a beating with snow being piled up against it during the winter or winter storms pushing it over. Don’t forget to check that gates are still operational as well. They can be just as easily damaged in a storm.
Check for insects/birds/animals: Your warm home and garage can be a haven in the cold months for little creatures. Check for insects, birds, and animals that may have found warmth in attic vents, soffits, eaves, basements, and garages. A little opening like a hole or slightly open window can be all a creature needs to invite itself in.