Ask The Local Expert: Tips On Buttoning Up Your Home For Winter

This week we asked the local experts how to properly ventilating and insulate homes in the winter, to avoid costly damage.

Winter 2010 saw an unprecedented number of complications due to ice dams. Many local businesses housed in buildings with flat rooves saw the rooves structure compromised, while homeowners were seen on ladders and rooftops attempting to alleviate the weight of heavy, melting snow from their rooves.

With the , many folks will need to step up efforts to seal their homes for the winter. In the field, contractors refer to this process as “buttoning up,” and fall is the time to address issues from the roof to the foundation.

If homeowners experienced issues with freezing water creating ice dams on their rooves last winter, there are specific measure they should take to ensure there wont be issues again this year.

Danvers Patch caught up with local experts , a staple in Danvers for nearly 60 years, to find out what homeowners can do to make sure their homes are “buttoned up,” and have proper air flow. Jones Boys rep Scott Gagnon gave us these tips:

Check for proper ventilation and insulation.

  • Most of the people whose homes are 40 years or younger have homes whose ventilation’s are built into the roof system. If working correctly, the attic should be cold-provided there is sufficient insulation in the attic floor. If there’s not enough insulation, the residual heat in the attic will warm the roof and melt the snow accumulated there; it will then freeze at night.  it’s that melted snow that will freeze and back up through the faccia’s and cause ice dams. 
  • Ventilation and Insulation are key.

Install/Maintain Soffett Vents

  • You will know if you have soffet vents if you can see daylight in your attic around the eaves. If you can’t see light, that means they are either, obstructed, or unfortunately you never had them installed, and they should be. If they are obstructed, clear the area so the air can move. If soffet vents aren’t present and can be installed, they should be; If they can’t be installed, it’s important not to let air into that space because there is no air flow-so it can’t get out, instead it will cause condensation in the attic, which can potentially create mold and mildew-frost could form on the roofing nails, and rust them-moving air will always create moisture, so it needs to be vented.

Check Foundation for Cracks

  • Seal up cracks to the outside in your basement-go into your basement with a flashlight, with someone outside-if you can see the light, you need to seal those drafts. Drafts create airflow, which creates condensation.

Clear Out Gutters

  • Gutters can be flushed with power washers, garden hose or by hand. Remember to clean the downspout out with a garden hose. Clogged downspouts are as much a problem as a clogged gutter-the seams will split if water collects and freezes at the downspout, cracking it. Make sure there is no leaking in the gutters, they are clear of debris, and address if they need capping, (leaf guard).
  • Gutters are necessary to get water down off your house and stream it away from your foundation, otherwise the water will erode the sand around the base of your house and into the foundation.  Homes with a porch roof require a gutter on the roof line because the water will splash onto it and deflect onto the clapboards or shingles of the house causing rot.


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