As winter continues it is important to be aware of the potentially damaging effects that snow and ice can have on your property, should we see further sub-zero temperatures following those experienced in early December, with meteorologists predicting further snow in the coming weeks.
Snow and ice can impact your property in a number of ways, from burst pipes and brick spalling, to more extensive structural damage – both of which can lead to further complications and damage from the resultant water ingress, damp and rot.
As such, it is important to be aware of the risks and take precautions to protect your property from snow and ice damage or water ingress when the thaw begins.
Roof and Gutters
One of the most common types of damage that can occur during the winter months is to your property’s roof and gutters.
If the snowfall is substantial, it can accumulate on your roof and cause damage, especially if the roof is old. If a flat roof is not correctly draining, ice formation can cause further damage. The weight of the snow and ice can also damage the shingles, flashing, and gutters on a roof, potentially leading to leaks and water damage.
To prevent this type of damage, it is important to regularly maintain your roof and gutters, so that when the thaw arrives, the water can safely run to waste, rather than penetrating the structure. However, this should be undertaken with the utmost care, given the slippery conditions and risks associated with working at heights.
Brick spalling refers to the breaking and flaking of the surface of bricks around your property or in your chimney. It can be caused by a number of factors, including incorrect mortar mixes preventing drying, freeze-thaw cycles, exposure to salt, and the presence of moisture in the bricks.
Cold weather can make brick spalling worse, with freezing temperatures able to cause water trapped in the bricks to expand, breaking the brick apart. In addition, salt used to melt ice and snow on pavements and roads can cause brick spalling when it is splashed upwards and comes into contact with the bricks.
To prevent brick spalling, it is important to keep bricks and mortar in good condition by ensuring that they are properly sealed and protected from moisture. Additionally, it is important to properly clean bricks and remove any salt or other de-icing chemicals that may come into contact with them.
Another common problem during the winter is frozen or burst pipes. When pipes freeze, the water inside them expands, which can cause pipe unions to come apart or the pipes to burst and flood your home or business. Additionally, when the snow or ice begins to melt, any small cracks can allow water to seep into the building and cause more issues, such as damp and rot.
To prevent this from happening, it is important to insulate your pipes and keep them from freezing. If you do experience a frozen or burst pipe, it is vital to address the problem as quickly as possible to minimise the potential for damage.
As mentioned above, when temperatures rise after a cold spell and the snow and ice begin to melt, damage to gutters and roofs, as well as frozen or burst pipes, can lead to water ingress, damp, and rot.
The term water ingress refers to water infiltrating a property. This normally occurs due to some sort of defect in the building, such as cracks in the render allowing water to penetrate the property and, unsurprisingly, can lead to a host of damp-related problems if left untreated. These include – but are not limited to – damp plasterwork, increased heat loss, damp musty smells, frost damage to masonry, and unsightly water damage on both the outside and inside of a property.
Water ingress can also lead to dampness, which can cause damage to the structure of the building and create a breeding ground for mould. Rot is a type of decay that can occur when timber becomes wet and begins to break down. It can weaken the structure of a building and make it unsafe.
To prevent these types of problems, it is important to regularly maintain your roof, gutters, and pipes, and address any issues that arise as quickly as possible. It is important to ensure that you regularly check the external walls of your property for any damage or cracking, particularly with render, that could allow water to enter the building. This includes ensuring that the pointing, and both internal and external paintwork are kept in good condition, and making sure you seal the gaps around window and door frames.
By taking these precautions, you can help to protect your property from the damaging effects of snow and ice, and ensure that it remains safe and secure throughout the colder months.
It is important to be aware of the potential damage that might occur should we experience heavy snowfall. As a trusted provider, the experts at Peter Cox work hard to help homeowners with structural damage, and to address the issues of mould and damp that can be caused when snow and ice begins to melt. From branches across the United Kingdom, we can provide effective, essential repairs with minimal disruption to those living in the property.