Spring cleaning takes on new meaning for property owners. More than a time for decluttering and dusting off from winter, it’s a critical period for ensuring home or building exterior is prepped for the seasons ahead.

“Winter can do a lot of damage on a property, especially in Canada where months of snow and extreme weather can create costly issues,” says Marco Ferrazzo, a manager with Artistic Skylights.

The freeze-thaw cycle can be harsh on any home, as can heavy water brought on by melting snow. Mitigating these risks means spotting potential problems at their source.

Are you conducting a post-winter home inspection? Here are seven building exterior trouble spots that deserve attention.

  1. Foundation: It may look like nothing at first, but a crack in the concrete can expand into big-time issues. To prevent leakage and other safety issues, inspect the base of your home from both the inside and out to ensure any cracks are being spotted, assessed, and repaired (if needed). Spots to check include foundation walls, masonry, concrete slabs, garage floors, and the gaps around doors and windows, to name a few. Not every crack will warrant repair, but factors like size, frequency, and location should be considered.
  2. Roofing shingles: These are the first line of defence for your home’s roof. As such, it’s important that they are intact and in good condition. Failure to replace or repair deficient shingles will make it easier for the rain to enter the home and cause structural damage, rot, mould, leaks, or other water damage.
  3. Skylights: Canadian-made skylights are built to withstand Canadian-made winters. Nevertheless, there is always a chance that extreme weather or prolonged exposure to the elements can cause damage. Enlist a skylight professional to review your skylight and verify that all the components are in good health and performing as expected. Read five signs it’s time to replace your skylight to learn more about what to look for.
  4. Downspouts and soffits: Downspouts are the pipes that carry rainwater from the roof gutter to the ground, while soffits are pieces of often ventilated finishing material (e.g., wood or concrete) that covers the spaces between a property and its roof overhang. Both can take damage over the winter and impede your property’s ability to drain water effectively. Look up (and to the side) to double-check that they are in good condition.
  5. Driveway: After shovelling it for months, now is the time to see how your driveway fared over the winter. Inspect for signs of cracking, uplifting, or sinking. Also confirm that it’s draining water properly, either away from the property or within unclogged drains.
  6. Walkways, steps, and railings: Now that the driveway is under control, remember to ensure the other paths around your home are equally safe and sturdy. This includes the walkways, steps, and railings going to and from the property’s entry points, which can become loosened, cracked, or otherwise unstable throughout winter.
  7. Mother nature: Spring can bring heavy winds and rainfall that can bring surrounding trees crashing into a nearby home or building. At the same time, untrimmed branches are an easy way for pests to get onto the property and make a new home. With the snow melted, look around your perimeter to ensure these hazards are accounted for and that your foundation is cleared of debris.

“The term spring cleaning tends to refer to everything inside of a property, but it’s just as important to make sure your roof, siding, foundation, and landscape survived the winter,” adds Ferrazzo.

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