Whether you live in Troy, Warren, Livonia or any other city in Southeast Michigan, you are probably already working towards fall cleanup and /or home winterization.
To help protect and preserve your most valuable financial asset, here are some helpful tips while you ready your home for the upcoming winter months:
1. Caulk – I always recommend caulking all or any open voids to seal out air, water, or any furry little creatures looking for a nice warm place to live for the winter (raccoons, squirrels and mice are common nuisances found in Oakland and Macomb counties.) This includes sealing around windows and doors. Make sure you also caulk around wires or pipes coming into the structure.
2. Roof – When performing roof inspections, check for loose, damaged, or missing shingles or shakes. Check the soffits for signs of moisture build up. Check the flashings around the chimney. If cracks or splits are detected, use a roof tar or all weather caulk to seal the joints. This should insure water tightness around the chimney.
3. Gutters – Make sure the all the gutters are clean and the gutter joints are caulked. Importance should be paid to the pitch of the gutters to insure water is running toward the downspouts. Make sure the gutters are secured to the structure and no decayed wood is detected at the soffit or facia.
Along with the gutters discharging properly, it is important to keep the downspouts away from the foundation. I recommend a minimum of 3 feet for gutter extensions, but the magic number is 5 feet. I live in St. Clair Shores and we generally experience water penetration issues attributed to block walls in our basements. At my house the downspouts extend 8-10 feet. I put stakes at the end of my downspouts during the winter because when the snow covers them, letter carriers and solicitors step on them and crush them.
4. Foundations – Foundations should be inspected during rainstorms for proper drainage away from the structure. I tell all of my clients to raise up the grade and get the water away from the structure as much as possible. Anytime I see a tar coating on the exterior basement wall, I will tell my clients that the grade is too low. I recommend bringing in dirt to raise up the grade. Slope should fall away from the foundation at a minimum of ½ inch per foot and extend at least 10 feet from the foundation. I recommend bringing in dirt to raise up the grade. (Free dirt is good dirt so be sure to research free options before purchasing.)
* Be sure to check back for more home winterization tips, to be posted in the coming weeks…