Preparing Your Home for Winter

As the winter months close in, it’s vital to act now and ensure your home is ready to withstand the colder weather. From ensuring you’ve got effective insulation to sweeping your chimney, there are many ways to prepare a home for winter and keep yourself and your family both warm and safe. Below you’ll find a helpful checklist that will allow you to welcome the new season with confidence that you’re ready.

Roof Frame

With the potential for heavy storms ahead, ensuring that your roof frame is sturdy and robust is key. If following a thorough inspection, your roof structure is showing signs of dipping, curving or sagging, you may have an issue. With the added weight of snow and ice that can come in Winter months, joints can loosen due to excess pressure on your rafters. These problems can also be caused by rotting or saturated sheathing, which also makes your roof more vulnerable. By jacking up loose rafters, adding struts or even replacing compromised roof rafters, you’ll ensure that your roof frame is robust, durable and ready for winter.

Roofing

Making sure your roof is adequately protected from the rain, snow and cold is one of the most effective ways to prepare your home for winter. Once again, it’s time to perform a thorough inspection. Take a look at your roof tiles to identify any serious weathering or damage. Impacts from hailstones can leave tiles vulnerable in future by creating tiny weak spots, where water can soon seep in and wreak havoc in your roof space. That’s why giving your roof a once-over is so important before the rough weather really hits. Check out What to Do When A Storm Damages Your Roof and What to Do When Hail Damages Your Roof for the important information you need when dealing with storm damage.

Another vital step in getting your roof ready for winter is waterproofing. Moisture damage is perhaps the most insidious threat to your roof’s structural integrity, and can quickly lead to serious problems. Give yourself one less thing to worry about amongst the hail, snow, rain and ice with our guide on How to Waterproof a Flat Roof where you’ll get the ins and outs of how to get the job done correctly.

Although this final step might seem obvious, removing any debris and giving your roof a good clean is a highly effective way of minimising damage in the winter. If water cannot run off easily, it may pool in small pockets, which can freeze in sub-zero temperatures, and potentially expand, causing serious stress to your roofing materials.

Guttering

Although it’s easy to overlook, your guttering system is one of your home’s most effective lines of defence. When preparing for winter, ensure that your gutters are properly positioned, sturdily secured and free from debris. If gutters are loose, blocked, or poorly positioned, this can quickly lead to overflowing, which will damage the soffits and fascia of your home. Identifying and fixing any leakages is another key, especially before icy weather rolls in. Check out our guide on Fixing Leaking Gutters for more information. If you do find that your gutters are dirty or clogged with debris, cleaning this out is another vital step to prevent ice dams, sagging, mildew and even unwelcome guests nesting in your gutter.

Chimney

Checking on the state of your chimney is vital before winter, especially for those looking forward to a roaring fire. First identify any missing bricks or mortar, which should be repaired as soon as possible. It’s also important to sweep your chimney before frequent usage in the winter, as excess soot and debris can pose a fire risk. Your chimney should also be properly capped to prevent small animals, birds or other debris from entering. We’d also recommend the installation of a properly working damper to regulate air flow.

Garden Office

As so many of us are adjusting to the “new normal” and working from home, many Brits have chosen to work in a garden office. That was a great option for Spring and Summer, but as Winter approaches you need to make sure it won’t be too chilly in there. Insulating your garden office is an ideal way to keep the cold out, so getting it done now is a fantastic way to stay comfortable while working, no matter the weather.

Garage

We all know our garages can become a little chilly when it gets cold, and here are some key steps to preparing yours for the winter ahead:

Firstly, give your garage doors a close inspection. Check for and repair any damage such as cracks and loose hinges, as this will reduce heat loss and prevent any snow or water from getting in. If applicable, you should also test your garage door tracks to ensure they’re still running smoothly, as ice can wreak havoc with their operation in winter weather.

Waterproofing and sealing the base of your garage is another practical idea to be considered when preparing for winter, as any snow, slush, salt or mud that you leave behind on your way into your house can potentially damage the garage floor. Moving any valuables to a higher level is another way to prevent any damage, and gives you a chance to check for damp areas which might worsen in winter.

Adding effective insulation to your garage is a key step that will make all the difference during the winter. Not only is this incredibly powerful, but easy to do yourself and cost-effective. We’ve written a handy guide on How to Insulate a Garage to help homeowners fully insulate their garages in time for winter.

Conservatory

If your home features a conservatory, you should definitely take the following steps to ensure it will be a comfortable space during the winter.

Draughts can be a definite problem in conservatories but are often easy to fix. Ensure that your conservatory doors and windows are properly sealed, and consider adding elements such as blinds and drapes to keep heat in.

A leaking conservatory roof isn’t something you want to deal with at any time of the year, but it can be especially problematic in winter. This is why checking and fixing any leaky parts of your conservatory roof now is essential. Get your conservatory winter-ready by reading our guide on How to Fix a Leaking Conservatory Roof.

Other things to consider include replacing your aging polycarbonate with conservatory roof tiles. They will help keep your conservatory warm and comfortable year-round, and make it look like a true living space. Finding the right electrical heating system is another option, with many available that have been specially designed for conservatories.

Shed

A structure you definitely don’t want to overlook in your winter prep is your garden shed. One of the best ways to prepare yours and ensure it survives the winter in-tact is effective waterproofing. Not only are you preserving the structure, but any belongings such as tools or valuables stored inside.

Another practical step for winter-proofing your shed is double-checking the condition of its windows and doors. You should ensure that there are no cracks or other defects and focus on joints and end grains for paint blistering, rot and water ingress. Use expanding foam to stop any draughts around the doors and windows, or alternatively use rubber draught excluders.

If your garden shed is a space you spend a considerable amount of time in, then you should think about insulating your shed. Insulative materials such as boards, rolls and slabs can be fitted between the structural frames in the walls, roof and even the floor.

Effective storage is also an effective way of winter prepping your shed with sealed boxes. A handy tip is also leaving silicon sachets in your boxes to absorb moisture and damage so it doesn’t cause any harm.

Loft insulation

One of the most important ways of keeping your home warm and comfortable in the winter is by installing effective loft insulation. This won’t just keep the heat in while it’s cold, it will also create a far more comfortable environment in the summer, and improve internal air quality. What’s more, you could save a packet on your utility bills due to increased efficiency.

Pipes

External pipes in particular should be prepped for winter to ensure that they neither freeze nor break during icy temperatures. The most common way of protecting pipework is by using slip-on foam or sleeves of insulation. Effectively insulating your house will provide added protection for your pipes and is vital for keeping heat inside where it’s needed.

Windows

Draughtproofing your windows is a practical ideal for the winter weather. You should also ensure your windowsills are properly treated to prevent the wood expanding and rotting in the cold conditions.

Decking

Keeping your decking in top condition all through the winter starts with the right preparation.

The first step to winter-proofing your deck is clearing debris, dirt, and leaves. Although simple, this step is important as debris can provide a platform for snow and ice to build, causing potential moisture damage.

The next step is dealing with any mildew. When left all through the winter, mildew can cause some major damage to your decking so killing it and fully cleaning your deck is a practical measure to prevent this.

Before finishing your deck, ensure you do a last inspection for weak spots and compromised footings or railings which may be vulnerable to damage in harsh winter conditions.

Sealing and staining your decking is an effective way of protecting the lumber from snow, rain, and ice. It helps prevent penetration of moisture, in turn stopping warping, splintering, cracking and rot.

Broken Gates/Fencing

Quick and simple yet useful when harsher weather comes around, inspecting and fixing any broken gates or fencing is a great idea to prepare. Not only does it save you the job when the temperatures are colder, but it also avoids any further damage from ice or snow that may result in eventual replacement that could have been prevented. 

Conclusion

Properly preparing for winter now will ensure you can protect your home from an array of problems that come with colder weather. By putting in the work before the temperatures drop, you can enjoy your home all through the icy months without the worry.

If you have any more questions about how to prepare your home for the winter, get in touch with our award winning customer service team. They can be reached via telephone on 01295 565 565 or the live chat on our website.