How to Prepare Your Exterior for the Winter
Whatever your personal feelings toward winter, the season can take a toll on all types of properties. Freezing temperatures make surfaces rigid and brittle, snow can suffocate exteriors and inundate them with moisture, and sharp winds can speed up erosion. Fortunately, winters in Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN are typically mild, especially compared to what northern states have to deal with each year. Still, there’s no telling what this year’s winter will bring by the time it’s over. If you’re not prepared to guard against the worst of winter’s wrath, the exterior of your home and/or business might pay the price. Simply put, the more precautions you take to protect your exterior during winter, the less you’ll have to worry about come springtime.
Here we’ll go over some key ways to prepare your exterior for winter, just in case this year’s conditions are particularly harsh.
How to Prepare Your Exterior for Winter Weather
Repair Your Roof
When getting your business or house exterior ready for winter, you might primarily focus on its siding and trim. While these main features require attention, note that many winter woes start at the top -- that is, your roof. After all, your roof is the first surface with which snow, sleet, and rain will make contact when falling from the sky. Ideally, your roof (with the help of gutters and downspouts) will direct this moisture away from your siding and foundation, protecting your exterior from damage, mold, etc. If this isn’t the case and your roof is uneven, damaged, sagging, or otherwise in disrepair, moisture can build up on your property and create all kinds of problems all winter long and beyond. So, conducting a thorough roof inspection and making any needed repairs should be one of the first steps to prepping your exterior for the winter.
Keep Your Gutters Clear
As mentioned above, your gutters are a crucial component of your home’s or business’ method of keeping moisture away from its siding and foundation. Even if your roof is in prime condition, winter can do a number on your exterior if your gutters and downspouts are damaged, dirty, and/or clogged. Unless you stay on top of regular gutter cleaning, there’s a good chance your gutters will be at least partially inundated with leaves, dirt, and other debris following fall. Leaving your gutters this way makes it difficult for water to pass through and away from your exterior. When temperatures get cold enough, lingering moisture can then freeze (there’s a reason icicles primarily form on the edge of gutters), further blocking the path while also weighing down your gutters.
By the time winter comes to an end, your gutters might be bent, broken, separated from your roof and siding, or completely on the ground. Simply cleaning your gutters before winter fully sets in can help you avoid such outcomes.
Winterize Your Water Systems
Frozen pipes often seem like merely an interior issue, but consider that internal problems can have negative consequences on your property’s exterior as well. Regardless, no one wants to deal with damaged pipes. As such, it’s a good idea to turn off any water directed towards exterior spigots, making sure that all hoses are completely drained. It’s best to hire professionals to properly winterize your exterior irrigation systems so they don’t cause problems during winter and can be easily switched back on in spring.
Seal Exterior Breaches
If any season calls for secure, well-insulated shelter, it’s winter. Even small gaps and cracks in your property’s exterior can result in drafts, not to mention moisture and pest intrusion. Before winter reaches its harshest peak, make sure your exterior is free from any of these openings. Minor gaps and cracks should be sealed with a caulking gun, and weather stripping will help protect your windows from moisture intrusion.
Wash Your Exterior Before it Gets too Cold
As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, it’s a good idea to thoroughly wash your exterior at least twice a year (professional pressure washing services yield the best results). Aside from performing these periodic cleanings about six months apart, there’s no hard and fast rule for when these tasks should get done. That said, the dead of winter is not an ideal time for pressure washing for a number of reasons. Most experts recommend pressure washing exteriors in late spring and later in fall. If you missed this loose deadline this year, however, you can still often get away with pressure washing your home as late as December if you live in a warmer area like Nashville, TN. Giving your exterior a good cleaning prior to winter’s wrath will help clear away any autumn dirt, grime, and mold while preparing its surfaces for new coats of paint, which we’ll discuss next.
Paint Your Exterior
Exterior painting isn’t all about aesthetics (though looks obviously have a lot to do with it). Paint also harbors protective qualities, shielding underlying surfaces from abrasion, erosion, sunlight, moisture, pests, and more. If you want to keep your exterior protected from the worst of winter, then you’ll want to make sure it’s outfitted with a durable paint job. Keeping your home clean via periodic pressure washing and making paint touch-ups when necessary will typically reduce the frequency with which you must paint your exterior. After about 5-7 years, however, most homes and businesses could use some refreshing, both in terms of visuals and integrity. While some local exterior painters close up shop in the winter, others work year-round and may be able to paint in regions like Nashville, TN as late as December.
Store or Cover Outdoor Furniture and Seal Your Deck
Don’t lose sight of your deck or patio as you make exterior preparations. Not only is it important to clean your deck before winter (and apply fresh deck stain or paint, if needed) -- you should also remove any outdoor furniture and store it somewhere safe until springtime. You might also cover fixed outdoor features with a tarp of some kind, allowing for some breathing room underneath.
Gear Up for Winter Weather
Preparing your exterior in the ways mentioned above will reduce the potential negative impact winter weather can have on your property. Still, it’s not enough to just call it a day after making these preparations. The most effective exterior defense during winter combines precautionary measures with ongoing action. You don’t want to allow snow to accumulate outside your home, for instance, so you should have snow and ice removal equipment (e.g., shovels, snowblower, rock salt, etc.) at your disposal to protect your property throughout the winter. Performing this regular seasonal maintenance after having tackled surface preparation solutions prior to winter will allow you to keep your exterior in its best possible shape no matter what winter holds this year.
If you need more advice or assistance regarding exterior winter preparations, look no further than Nash Painting. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!