Fall Improvements Can Prevent Winter Problems;
ASHI Provides Information on Protecting Your Home



Sheena Quinn
Public Communications, Inc.

Winter is coming. But before settling in, homeowners should consider taking care of any necessary home improvement projects. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), it is wise to look for problems before winter sets in.

"It is important to periodically monitor the overall condition of a home," says John Ghent, president of ASHI, the largest and most respected non-profit professional organization for home inspectors. "Simple wear and tear from weather and age occurs in every home. It is wise to fix any problems before they lead to extensive and costly repairs."

With regular check-ups, homeowners can often prevent problems before they occur. While Ghent recommends homeowners call an ASHI member to provide a complete report of the overall condition of a home and to recommend necessary improvements, major areas for homeowners to check include doors and windows, exterior walls and roofs.

Doors and Windows

Over time, wind and inclement weather can cause water damage, wood decay, energy dissipating drafts, and general wear on doors and windows. Homeowners should look at all of their doors, window frames and sills to ensure they are weather-tight and waterproof. Items to look for include the following:

  • Chipped or peeling paint and cracked or loose caulking around window frames and trim.
  • Weather-stripping damage and tightness of fit - loose stripping can let water and drafts into the home.
  • Broken glass and loose or missing putty. If replacements are required, use a modern glazing compound instead of putty for a waterproof seal.
Examining the Walls

Exterior walls are subject to every kind of weather condition - blazing sun, freezing cold, pounding rain and heavy snow. These weather elements may cause severe damage. Homeowners should examine house walls for possible weather-related damage, such as:

  • Visible cracks and loose or crumbling mortar. Masonry is brittle and can crack easily, especially when freezing water penetrates.
  • Deteriorating paint or stain on wood trim and siding.
  • Loose fitting trim and siding surfaces. Wind-driven precipitation can push up underneath loose siding and cause expensive damage.
  • Windowsills, which may be cracked, split or decayed.
On the Rooftop

A leaky roof remains a dreaded fear for most homeowners. When checking for roof damage, there are warning signs that can alert a homeowner to possible problems.

  • Damaged or loose shingles.
  • Gaps in flashing where roofing and siding meet vents and flues. Water forces its way into these gaps and often causes leaks inside.
  • Damaged mortar around the chimney, especially at joints, caps and washes.

By addressing these problems, homeowners help to protect their investment. If neglected, weather-related damage can affect the later sale of their home. ASHI members can be contacted to inspect the exterior and interior of the home and highlight possible areas of concern.

For More Information

Homeowners or homebuyers who wish to know more information about the American Society of Home Inspectors, or to obtain the names of ASHI members in their area, may contact the organization at 932 Lee St., Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL 60016. Phone: (800) 743-2744. Or visit the ASHI Web site at www.homeinspector.org.