Be On The Lookout For Leaks, Rot, Discoloration And Make Sure To Check Roof

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — If you’re doing a little spring cleaning this weekend, you may discover that this past winter was very hard on your home.

So what are the signs of winter distress and what can be done about them? CBS 2’s Sonia Rincon got answers on Friday.

Rincon saw one house in Woodcliff Lake that appeared to be in perfect shape, but in reality was suffering after taking a brutal beating. The conditions this past winter were some of the harshest for a house, home inspector Henry Scheyer said.

Scheyer used a thermal imaging camera to check for cold spots. Those can result in moisture and moisture means damage. He said the winter snow and ice on the home that refused to melt for weeks trapped all that the moisture in.

“The back of this house was frozen. There was ice flowing down the sides of the house. The icicles were 5, 6 feet long. It was a bad winter,” Scheyer said.

One obvious warning sign was a leak in the kitchen ceiling.

“Water is the worst enemy of a house. You can see now he’s got problems because there was ice up here. Ice develops in the gutter. Water freezes and then goes back underneath and then just rots that wood out,” Scheyer said.

The source of the leak in the kitchen was water actually getting under the shingles because they were buried under snow, Scheyer said. And the warmth from the house was creating pockets of water, which were ponding with nowhere else to go, which means cleaning your gutters regularly can’t be emphasized enough.

“That was probably the main cause of the problem,” Scheyer said.

It’s a problem that could trickle down to the windows.

“You can see the water damage up on top. They’re going to have to remove the molding, possibly remove the window,” Scheyer said.

Little leaks in the attic can also lead to trouble, Scheyer said.

“And when we take the insulation out, there’s mold on the back of the drywall and the ceiling,” he said.

The basement of the home was actually in good shape, but Scheyer said the best thing a homeowner can do is check frequently for any discoloration, or crystals. If something starts to look different, call an inspector. A top-to-bottom inspection for a home similar to the one Rincon visited will cost about $600.

And since the warmer temperatures are coming, now is a good time to assess, Scheyer said. After all, spring can come with a whole new round of trouble.

It’s going to be a busy spring for contractors. Here’s another tip: if you’re going to paint outside, make sure it hasn’t rained in at least 24 hours and it’s at least 50 degrees out, Rincon reported.

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