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6 Ways to Protect Your Exterior Home from Winter.

In Sioux Falls, South Dakota homeowners are well aware of the damage that can be caused to their homes.  Some residents understand the steps to take toward preventing ice and snow from intruding into walls, roofs, and plumbing.  However, there are times when deterioration can occur that is unavoidable because home owners don’t understand they have the ability to lessen winter assault to their house. 

Yaka Kuto with NU Property Casualty 360 recommends steps homeowners can take to prevent winter damage including:

  • Repair leaks in the roof.
  • Clean the gutters on the house in the fall and remove ice dams as soon as they appear.
  • Inspect the exterior of the home for damage in the siding to prevent water seeping into the building.
  • A driveway with cracks and holes allows water to enter the concrete and when it freezes, forces the cracks further apart.  A new coating of asphalt can prevent having to rip out and replaced the entire driveway later.
  • Cracks in the foundation allow the same damage to the structure of the building and should be repaired before winter sets in.
  • Check trees in the landscaping for limbs in need of pruning or dead trees vulnerable to crashing into power lines or buildings under the pressure of wind and ice.


Ice dams are the result of melting snow running to the edge where it refreezes. This forces water under the roof structure where leaks may develop.  If the roof is shingled, an ice dam can cause deterioration. When a winter storm involves hail and high wind, moisture may be pushed under the shingles or the shingles may be torn completely off.

Damage Costs:  If a roof contains leaks, the average cost of a 10-foot square roof with asphalt shingles is about $650. Replacing the shingles may be around $500 for just replacing the shingle to $1750 for repair and application of a sealant. Repair for a tile roof includes $450 for fixing metal flashing, $1500 for steel tiles needing replacement upwards to $8000 if a new underlayment is needed.

Homeowner Actions:  An inspection to detect current leaks and shingle damage allows pre-winter repairs to head off potential damage that may involve a pricey roof replacement. If repair cannot be performed right away, tack a tarp over the damaged area. Remove ice dams as soon as possible after they develop. Take snow off the roof to head off the creation of ice dams. Improving attic insulation can prevent leaking heat to the roof which leads to melting snow and ice dams.


Ice dams are damaging to gutters as the weight can pull the gutters away from the edge of the roof. Ice freezing inside the gutters and downspouts could break the gutter sections apart and require complete replacement.

Damage Costs:  A do-it-yourselfer can get by with just a few dollars to replace downspouts, but a medium-sized home will be run an average of $160. The same Sioux Falls handyman can replace 200 feet of gutter guards for $200, but upgrading to a luxury product professionally installed can be close to $3000.  Handy Hubby (husband) can replace 200 feet of gutter for $625, but a professional installation could carry a price tag of $2400. 

Homeowner Actions:  In the late fall, clean the gutters with a long-handled rake and after ice begins to form, remove ice dams as soon as possible. If replacement is needed, copper or aluminum is more expensive than using downspouts and gutters made with PVC, but may not look as nice. Homeowners may consider installing heaters that melt ice dams all winter and will prevent many ice problems. Gutter screens can be put in by the owners and may help save money later.


Winter cold, winds, and snow/hail can beat a homes exterior for months. Spring could reveal paint peeling off which allows moisture into the siding and the potential of wood rot and other expensive repairs.

Damage Costs:  A new paint application on a 1500 square foot home will run about $2500 to $3000.  You can get it done for about $500 in materials, but a professional who is meticulous about woodwork and trim will charge about $4000.  

Homeowner Actions:  If a homeowner has a say in the original colors on the house’s exterior, consider how much more expensive it will be to replace a building with multiple color than just one color. While upgraded architectural features such as cornices, latticework, and stucco are aesthetically pleasing, the billing for repairs will be higher than an easier job. Not interested in going up high ladders and/or scaffolding, but want to cut the cost of a new paint job with a little elbow grease? Consider scraping existing siding and applying a primer at the heights where you are comfortable. If the home has fiber cement and aluminum siding and has taken a beating over the winter, painting will give the home a thumbs-up.


If the paint has peeled enough on the siding of the house, moisture can begin to infiltrate, causing the wood to begin rotting.

In addition, hail stones or fallen tree limbs can damage siding, whether denting aluminum siding or cracking vinyl. Because the siding is a home’s first line of defense against the elements, it needs to be repaired in a timely way.

Damage Costs:  Some types of siding are more expensive to repair and/or replace that others and sometimes, not all the siding will be damaged. The average cost will run between $300 to $1000. Vinyl home exteriors are the least expensive and easiest for you to tackle.

Homeowner Actions:  A Sioux Falls carpenter will bill you about $40 to $50 an hour plus materials. Be sure you get as close a color match as possible in order to avoid having to replace an entire section just to mask the repair.  That being said, damaged wood siding will usually require the entire section to be repainted. You may be also to help out here. 


Many homeowners don’t think to look away from their home to assess potential damage in the upcoming winter, but driveways can take a beating in cold weather. A driveway and walkways develop small cracks from usual aging, but when water seeps into the cracks and freezes, frost heave may cause larger cracks and even potholes in the entrance to the home. Repaving small cracks in warmer weather can assist in keeping small problems from developing into larger ones.  

Damage Costs:  Paving a drive with either asphalt or gravel will range between $800 and $2000 for a standard 38-foot by 16-foot driveway. A long drive with curves looks nice, but will increase the price of repairs. You might be able to work with a gravel re-do for around $300. Top of the line brick pavers clock in at about $15,000.

Homeowner ActionsTar may not be a repair featured in showcase magazines, but it will seal small cracks to prevent winter time damage as potholes and bigger cracks.  Using gravel is an option, but the rocks will become dislodged during use and by snowplows and allow freezing water access to your concrete. Asphalt may be pricer at first, but will save money long-term.  


When checking the condition of the drive and walkways, keep eyes on the home’s foundation as well. The same action of water seepage and freezing can also damage the foundation of the home. Small cracks in the foundation can become a real problem as the house settles during winter months. Repairs to deteriorating foundations can spell big dollars if foundation piers and other drastic measures are needed to keep your walls from cracking and bowing, doors from sticking, floors from sagging, pools of water if the foundation is a slab, and wet crawl spaces, not to mention high in-house humidity, strange smells, and mold (!) and allergens.

Homeowner Actions:  Before committing to expensive work on the foundation, it is suggested that a homeowner get three different Sioux Falls foundation repair companies to offer estimates. Ask each company if they recommend digging a trench for a well pump for possible flooding in the future. Inspect the foundation every spring to assess the integrity of the foundation.  Sealing minor cracks should head off more extensive work in the future. It is possible that the work will disrupt landscaping near the construction area and it may be possible to save bushes and trees with relocation either by you or a landscaping company. They should be able to be replaced after the worker is finished.


Speaking of landscaping, snow and hail and high winds can make a real dent in homeowners with extensive landscaping or even just a nice lawn. Trees sustain damage from the same seepage/freezing that harms roofs, foundation, siding, and driveways.  However, combined with the weight of heavy snowfall and/or ice and winter winds, tree limbs can break off. In addition to downing power lines (which may freeze water lines and cause damage to pipes), they can land on the roof, siding, or landscaping of the home.

Damage Cost:  The pricing for trimming rotting or damaged tree branches averages about $600 per tree, but there may be a minimum number of trees to be trimmed.  You may be willing to rent equipment, climb up a tall ladder, and risk life and limb (sorry for the pun) to trim them yourself for about $225 per tree. Watch out for power lines!  Larger tree trimming ordered during the peak season can be as high as $700 per tree.

Homeowner Actions:  You should start be calling your power company. If the branches are a hazard to the power lines, they may trim those for you for free! Get competitive estimates on the remaining work. If there are too many trees on the property, ask if a discount is available if the company needs to place trees for other customers. WARNING:  Do not use a company where employees use spike-soled shoes to work on the trees as they can harm the remaining branches and trunk of the tree. 

THE FINAL WORD is that an everyday homeowner (and a ladder) can do an eyeball inspection of the roof, siding, foundation, driveway, and trees on the property to check the 6 items on this list for any repairs or prevention that can avoid costly billing later. If in doubt, call a handyman in Sioux Falls for a home inspection, preferable in the summer or early fall to avoid the rush when winter starts to loom on the horizon. While there are times when severe weather can cause the sort of damage handled by your insurance company, timely Homeowner Actions can save big dollars down the road.

Does Handyman Pro do estimates for the outsides of homes? Not at this time. For a reliable contractor, check out our blog on “5 Easy Ways to Hire a Handyman in Sioux Falls” in order to find a reliable contractor for exterior work.

What about weatherizing the interior of my home? Check out our blog on “Protecting Your Home from Winter from the Inside.” Handyman Pro in Sioux Falls can help with most of the ways to prevent leakage out of the home that causes exterior damage and drives up heating bills.  Call today for more information and to obtain a professional estimate for a Handyman in the Sioux Falls area!

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