Digging out of your old house

Mar 17, 2015

This winter’s worst has been epic, taking a toll on all of us in terms of added effort, loss of productive time at work and home, cancelled social events, and generally increased stress.

New England’s houses and landscapes have been hit hard, and homeowners across the region have stockpiled roof rakes, snow shovels, and ice melt.

As flooding threatens to add to this winter’s woes, be sure to check that your sump pump and wet-dry vac are working and move objects off the basement floor. If you have a dry well, dig out any snow or ice that may be blocking it.

While the only way out of this winter’s fury is to muddle through it, snow and ice damage may inspire you to review overall maintenance needs at home and pick up the pace on planned repairs. As the weather gets warmer and snow starts to recede, take a close look for split or damaged clapboards, peeling paint, missing flashing, and broken or loosened shingles.

“At my house, I knew our wooden gutters were failing in places,” says Sally Zimmerman, senior preservation services manager at Historic New England. “Now, with the additional overburden of ice they’ve endured, replacement of several is inevitable.”

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