After the winter that Northern Michigan and the Midwest in general has experienced, it may be safe to say that spring is quickly approaching. The sun is getting higher in the sky throughout the day, bringing warmer temperatures and now with Daylight Savings Time our daylight hours are extended. With the incredible snow totals, and extreme cold temperatures we’ve endured this winter, there are some items you may want to take into consideration when preparing your home, office building, or structures in general to be sure they are foundationally sound for what they’re about to go through this melting season. Taking a proactive approach this spring could potentially save money, time, and maybe even your building!
The vulnerable areas of any building to damage from melting snow include rooftops, windows, basements, and other possible ports of entry. As the temperatures rise and the snow begins to melt, the existing snow gets heavier. To prevent a roof collapse or leaking from your roof, it is important to remove excess snow from roofs and eaves troughs.
When it comes to a building’s windows, it is important to make sure they are sealed properly to prevent water and moisture from seeping in to the building. With the melt comes the rainy season as well, so being sure you have properly sealed windows is essential!
Basements are typically the area of a home or building that are at the highest risk for water damage. Being below the grade and surrounded by soil make them the most susceptible. During the melt, soil releases water it has absorbed from rain and melting snow, and that water can find its way into basements through leaks and cracks. This can cause flooding in basements as well as cause paint to peel, damage drywall, cause mold contamination and building rot, or even cause the foundation to collapse. Air quality can be affected as well if naturally occurring gasses that were released in the soil are being transmitted into the basement though the water that has seeped or flooded its way in. This time of the year it is important to repair visible cracks with epoxy, latex cement, or mortar. Removing snow from the outside of the foundation with a snow blower or shovel can help as well. That way the snow will melt away from the house. Experts suggest moving it six feet away from the structure to prevent that water from seeping into the foundation when the weather warms up, essentially re-routing the water.
A few other tips for the melt this spring include checking gutters and downspouts to be sure that the melting snow or rainfall is routed away from the building. Also be sure the back flow valve or sump pump are working if your building/basement has one of these tools.
When it comes to the melting snow and spring season approaching a little awareness and loss prevention can go a long way toward enjoying spring and hopefully a beautiful summer here in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!