Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Preparing for Winter

The Season Finale


I hate to say it, but winter is coming.  It’s not only obvious by the cold mornings, but by the phone calls asking if this or that can be done before winter.  Besides the common annoyances or the obvious, let’s remember last year and some of the problems we had.  This is your last chance to get them fixed cost efficiently or effectively.  The cold always makes such things take longer and stick less.


Ice Damming

Sure, it’s only a problem when it is a problem.  This may not be the year, but eventually, it will.  Ice damming occurs when warm interior house air melts roof snow, which then refreezes.  Simple right?  The fix is a bit more complex.

  • Warming the roof- Roof cables and such are OK, but not the permanent fix.  If you cannot do anything else, give it a try.  It is a good do it your self project.
  • Cold roof- Allow the roof to breath.  Make sure overhangs are not stuffed with attic floor insulation.  If you have a ridge vent, roof event, gable vent, or anything that lets your attic breathe, be sure it can breathe from the overhang to the top.  This means you attic is supposed to be cold.  And be sure to seal the attic entrance, it is an outside door.
  • Hot roof- This is where the roof and insulation is one mass.  No warm air can even touch the roof.  Fiberglass insulation does not do this.  There should be no air spaces between the roof deck and the insulation.  Typically you use rigid foam insulation which chokes off the whole roof.  Be sure you get advice from a professional with at least a Building Performance Institute certification.  Wrong installation can be very bad.
  • Air seal- If nothing else, you can reduce the airflow from the conditioned space (your living space) and the roof.  So look for cracks and gaps and fill them with a spray foam or backer rod.  Areas like plumbing penetrations, light fixtures, etc.  Although be careful, some light fixtures require a space between insulation and the light fixture.


Walkways and Driveways

Cracks and gaps are where water infiltrates.  In the summer, it will cause weeds and moss to grow, sometimes pretty, sometimes pretty annoying.  But winter causes these cracks to swell when ice forms.  So be it asphalt, concrete or mortar, look to fill the cracks.  I shutter to say that because I know what they sell out there, and some of it is not good.

  • Asphalt- Seal it and fill it.  You can get some things to do it yourself, but if it is bad, get some professional advice; it’s free after all.
  • Concrete- You cannot do much for concrete that is crumbling.  You can certainly buy stuff, but it is pretty much useless.  The only fix is to tear it out.  As for cracks, it depends on the crack.  Some are intentional, but that is more of a seam.  Other cracks can be filled, but again the fix is temporary.  The key is getting the crack clean before applying anything.  And use backer rod, this is what it was designed for.
  • Mortar- The joints between stone.  If you have a walkway with mortar, I am sorry.  Flat mortar joints will always fail eventually.  You have to redo it or just take it out for now.



The broken record here.  Basements are the single most neglected areas in your house.  “This spot in my house is always freezing, it must be the window right here”.  Well, no, it is the bulkhead door underneath you that is open.  You basement should be 50 degrees in the winter.  Seal the windows and doors with anything reversible you can.  You can use door and window weather stripping, blankets, backer rod, rags; anything to stop air infiltration.  Just not fiberglass insulation, it does nothing to stop air.



You are running out of time.  The season ends when the night hit 45 degrees.  Even if it gets to 70 during the day, condensation forms on the wood and could compromise the bond.  Be sure it is dry, stays warm and does not get below 45 degrees.  I do not have any faith in the “cold weather paints”.  If you have to paint when its cold, then paint it and see what happens.  If you can wait, then please, wait.


There are many more tips to go through, so stay tuned.  There is still roofing, , porches, outdoor furniture, fences, doors and more!

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