Opening your northern Arizona cabin for the summer could present a bigger challenge this spring than it has in years past.
The unusually large amount of snow that fell in the mountains and surrounding areas caused quite a bit of water damage to homes—especially to those that sat empty all winter. So when you enter your summer place for the first time this month or next, don’t be surprised if you need to do some extra work to get it in shape for the season.
First, look for visible signs of water damage, like puddles on the floor, water rings on the ceiling or walls, soft spots on the drywall , rot, or mold or mildew spots. If you’re lucky, these telltale signs will easily lead you to any problems that need repairing—and straight to the leak that let the water in.
But don’t stop there. Here are some areas to pay special attention to as you inspect your place for signs of snow-related damage:
- Crawl into the attic or crawl space and check your insulation. If water got into the attic, the insulation might have gotten wet and pulled away from the ceiling or walls it should cover. If that’s the case, you’ll need to reattach it—or, if the insulation is damaged, replace it. Look behind the insulation for water spots. If you have to remove drywall from the ceiling, you’ll have to replace the insulation, too.
- Inspect your double-pane windows. Even the slightest crack in the glass or the frame can allow water to seep between the panes. You’ll be able to tell if you can see water between the panes, or streaks, which indicate that water was there but has dried. Your windows also might look cloudy, a sign that the energy-efficient gas that once was between the windows has escaped and has been replaced by outdoor air and moisture. Replace the whole window—not just the glass. It costs $250 to $300 to replace the glass, and you’ll get a five-year warranty on it. If you spend a little more to replace the whole window, you can upgrade to a higher-quality product, and you’ll get a warranty of up to 20 years. Plus, you can also resolve any problems with the flashing that might be what let the water into the windows.