Cold weather brings the holidays and family gatherings—and the occasional severe winter storm.

As we’re prepping for the upcoming colder weather, you’ll no doubt want to winterize your home before things start to freeze. But during this process, you might come across a few things that you’ll need to completely replace.

As diligent as we might be about home maintenance, you could find that some of your exterior elements aren’t effective anymore. Instead of waiting for warmer weather to come around, you might want to think about completely replacing these items before they become a large, more costly, issue.

Worried About Your Windows?

While it’s often easier to replace your windows during warmer seasons, you might come across damage to your home that needs immediate attention.

When to Replace Windows

You might notice your utility bills going up or some rooms start feeling drafty. Re-caulking your windows can help with insulating your home, but if your windows are damaged or deteriorated, replacing them might be more cost-effective. Inspect your windows, inside and out, to see if they need a full replacement:

  • If the window pane is broken or cracked, you shouldn’t wait until spring to put in a new one.
  • If you find condensation in between window panes, you might have a broken seal which can lead to other issues, like mold or wood rot.
  • If your home is older, it is especially prone to drafts and poor insulation. Replace your old windows with more energy-efficient ones that won’t let in excessive amounts of air to save on energy bills.

Tips for Replacing Your Windows

After you’ve inspected your windows inside and out, you might find that you need to replace them sooner rather than later.

While it’s not enjoyable to replace windows during colder months, there are a few things you can do to make things go smoothly.

  • Work on one window at a time to keep your home comfortable, and cover openings with tarp or plastic to keep out drafts while the project is underway. Close off rooms with large openings to keep the rest of your home nice and warm.
  • Pick a dry, sunny day to start your project. If you’re hiring someone to help, schedule your contractor to start things mid-morning, so caulking and other materials have a chance to warm up.
  • Use silicone-based caulk. It will adhere more easily to the window in colder temperatures, and it’s also better at waterproofing and insulation.

Deciding to Replace Your Exterior Doors

We often overlook the amount of wear and tear on our home’s doors, but they can sustain a considerable amount of damage. Inspect your exterior doors for the following issues to determine when they’ll need to be replaced.

Damage and Excessive Wear

Any peeling paint or cracked wood in the door allows moisture to penetrate the wood. This can cause wood rot, which leads to structural issues with the door frame and often gets worse over time. If you find damage or wood rot, it’s time to replace your door.

Scratches or Dents

If your exterior doors have any noticeable dents or scratches, you can usually add a fresh coat of paint to cover unsightly damage. If you’re in the process of selling your home, you might consider replacing the doors now.

Gaps or Openings

If you’re able to see light coming in around the door frame, that means other things can get inside, like insects, cold winter drafts or rain. You should consider replacing the door if there are significant gaps or openings around the frame.

Difficulty With Open and Closing

Can you open and close the door smoothly? If the door is catching or it’s not hanging properly on its hinges, you’ll need to replace the door.

Replacing your doors adds improved security to your home, can help you save on utility bills and is a great step towards added curb appeal.

Signs You Might Need New Siding

When you inspect your home for any needed maintenance or repair, you’ll also want to take note of how your siding looks.

Depending on the extent of the damage you find, it may be time to replace your siding. Here’s what to look for:

  • Any rot or mold, caused by deterioration over time.
  • Cracks and gaps in the siding from excessive heat or other weather damage.
  • Warping or bulging, which can indicate signs of damage and rot underneath.

There are a few types of siding to choose from, so let’s take a look at each of their benefits

Wood

Wood siding is a traditional choice. If cared for properly, wood can last many years, but the maintenance requirements for wood are higher than most other siding types, and it’s prone to insect and weather damage.

Vinyl

Vinyl siding is another popular choice, usually because vinyl is often the cheapest option. It’s also quite durable: Vinyl is fairly low-maintenance, it’s water resistant and doesn’t need repainting as wood does.

Fiber Cement

Fiber cement siding is another low maintenance option and offers a bit more durability than wood. Fiber cement is made from a mixture of cement, wood pulp and sand or ash.

Steel Siding

The benefits of steel siding are numerous, but here’s a quick list of why homeowners choose it for their exterior:

  • Steel requires very little maintenance and can easily last 25-30 years.
  • Steel siding is particularly weather-resistant, especially in more severe climates.
  • Steel is a versatile siding material, offering homeowners beautiful design and curb appeal for decades.

Go After Your Gutters

Your gutters help keep water from getting inside your home, which prevents all sorts of issues from cropping up when the weather gets colder.

You’ll want to keep your gutters free from debris and leaves year-round, but you’ll also want to check them regularly to ensure they’re not so worn down that they need to be replaced.

Look for any cracks or leaks along your gutters. Smaller cracks are relatively easy to repair, but if you find cracks that are large enough to cause leaks, it’s time to install new gutters. You’ll also need to look around the gutter seams, where the individual sections meet. If there are any leaks or separations in the seam that can’t be mended, you should look into getting new gutters. Ensuring your gutters are clean and well-maintained means your home will be able to withstand upcoming winter storms and potential damage. You can hire a contractor to handle the installation of your rainware and gutters, but DIYers can also tackle the job.

Defend Your Home This Winter

Regular maintenance will keep your home’s exterior elements performing longer, but some materials aren’t quite as durable as others. Head into the winter season knowing your home can stand up to whatever the cold weather brings.

Choosing low-maintenance, high-quality materials like steel siding ensures you don’t have to replace any of these exterior elements as often. Ensure your home is sufficiently protected from the cold this year. Get even more tips on preparing for severe weather and the winter season here.

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