Flanked for miles by the Pacific Ocean along the western coast, yet buffeted by mountain ranges in the interior, British Columbia experiences a wide array of weather patterns that place undue stress on home elements like roofing and siding. The province’s rainy coastal winters and snowy, cold interior and northern weather, as well as hot, dry interior valley summers, all affect a home’s integrity.Knowing the most appropriate home materials for your particular region and the top maintenance tasks for your to-do list, goes a long way toward securing your house against British Columbia’s weather variations.
The optimum roofing material for your house depends on your location in British Columbia, says Rob Lam, sales consultant for the Greater Vancouver Roofing Warehouse and Showroom in Burnaby.
“In northern BC., metal roofing is your best option because of its durability against the elements and its superiority in terms of shedding snow,” says Lam. “In the lower mainland, the bulk of roofing is asphalt shingle, as it is affordable and does a good job of withstanding heavy rainfall, although if you want a step up, slate is an improvement in longevity and looks.”
Though cedar shingles used to be widely used in BC., they fell out of favor because of their flammability, which is an especially serious problem in inland areas that experience hot, dry summers. Metal, asphalt shingle and slate are all fire-resistant.
Vinyl siding is the most popular option in British Columbia for a variety of reasons. Such siding is durable, standing up to high winds, seasonal temperature variations and moisture. It is also fire-retardant. Primarily composed of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), vinyl siding rarely catches fire, and it burns slowly if it does.
Top Home Maintenance Tasks
1. Clear eavestroughs and downspouts. Backed-up water in eavestroughs and downspouts causes a potentially damaging overflow of water onto the roof and siding. Check for blockages such as fallen leaves, and clear debris at least once or twice a season. Make sure that downpipes drain away from the house.
2. Check foundation sloping. Ensure that the ground around the perimeter of your home encourages water to flow away from the foundation, as water pooling around your house can result in basement leaks and foundation damage. If necessary, dig and slope the soil surrounding your home.
3. Test basement floor drains. If you do have a leak, you want to make sure that the water drains, rather than flooding your basement.
4. Examine windows. Ensure that all windows and skylights are well-sealed against rain and snow. Replace worn weather-stripping and caulking.
5. Inspect chimneys. Examine your chimney for obstructions such as leaves or a bird’s nest, and check the caulking between the cap and the chimney. Re-caulk if needed. If you suspect more serious trouble with the chimney, consult a chimney sweep.
While securing your home against the elements takes some time, doing so gives you precious peace of mind when the wind howls and the rain and snow falls.