Winter's coming: Time to get out the 'snow' boards

Last winter, Niagara felt the effects of a few days with stronger-than-usual winds.

One previous client called the Miller Restoration office to seek help assessing damage to his pool shed – damaged by strong winds, the shed no longer had doors, leaving stored equipment vulnerable to the elements.

Miller’s teams were able to work with our client’s insurance company and secure the building, so no further damage from winter’s icy weather would occur. As a member of Disaster Kleenup International, our experts know just how to protect outbuildings and their contents from weather damage.

In its weather forecast for winter 2019, the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts colder-than-normal temperatures for most of Canada, including parts of Ontario, where “biting cold and snowy” weather can be expected. Winter weather conditions, including icy rain and snow storms, are forecast to remain through March, 2019.

So, it’s a good idea to look around your property now, to pinpoint potential problem areas in homes and outbuildings. Do the same for any vacation properties, such as cottages, cabins, boathouses and sheds, which don’t get used in winter.

Protecting unused buildings now will make it much easier to re-open them come spring, when you’re itching to get out the gardening tools, or put the paddle boat back into the lake.

Before boarding up any outbuilding, it’s a good idea to remove trash, tidy the interiors, and protect tools and equipment by placing them in storage bins.

Using large storage bins can protect small tools and equipment from being damaged by winter weather conditions. It also helps to keep the critters out: If you don’t give the mice a place to nest, perhaps they will go elsewhere!

One cottage owner Miller has helped before uses large, Rubbermaid-type bins for all her cottage’s soft furnishings, dishes, books and games. She tries not to give the mice any place to nest, so there will be no infestation come spring. She even goes to the trouble of pulling out the refrigerator, stove and wood box, to thoroughly clean away all evidence of summer food preparation in the cabin.

Appliances get unplugged and power is shut off to everything except the sump pump and battery backup.

Windows are protected with storm frames, and plywood sheets are applied to the interior window frames. Doors get boarded up, too, as do any openings to the foundation area, where the water connections enter and exit the cabin.

All water is completely shut off, and lines are drained to prevent burst pipes. 

Eavestroughs get cleared, too, to remove summer’s tree debris, and ensure clear water runoff from the roof.

Outdoor equipment, like chairs, the dock and the owner’s paddle boat, are stored in the boat shed, which also gets boarded up to prevent weather damage.

If heavy snowfall occurs, the owner makes a trip out to her property during the winter, for the purpose of removing snow from roofs. Excessive snow build-up could cause roof collapse, especially on the smaller buildings, so she doesn’t take any chances.

It seems like a lot of work to protect your outbuildings from winter’s wrath, but once you have the materials on hand to store equipment and board up openings, the rest is just the labour required to get the job done.

One weekend’s worth of hard work, and you’re set for about five months.

At Miller Restoration, we have seen the alternative … and trust us, it’s not pretty. The work you put in now could save your vacation property and outbuildings from expensive damage caused by winter’s icy fingers.

If you are in need of help protecting your home or outbuildings from potential weather damage, our experts at Miller Restoration would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call the Miller office at 905-688-9224, or visit our website contact page, HERE

Winter is coming, after all, so it’s almost time to get out those “snow” boards!