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Got winter blizzards on the brain? HGTV star Mike Holmes gives us the cold, hard facts on protecting your home from snow storms.

mike holmes, hgtv, blizzard 2011Mike Holmes has important advice for you about handling blizzards! Photo: George Pimentel/

As I write this, I'm bracing myself for the east coast's second brutal blizzard in two weeks. The last time snow and winds struck our area, we talked about what to do right after a blizzard. This time around, though, we want to offer the best possible advice on what to do before, during and after a big storm.

So I turned to home improvement pro Mike Holmes -- star of HGTV's "Holmes on Homes" and "Holmes Inspection" and the brand new publication Holmes: The Magazine to Make It Right -- for tips on protecting our houses from winter's wrath. Because this may be the first snow storm of 2011, but you know it won't be the last!

Here's what Holmes advises:

1. Make Sure Your Home's Envelope Is Impenetrable
The most important thing to remember when prepping your home for bad weather is that you don't want water that comes from melting snow to get behind any exterior sheathing -- the stucco, siding or bricks. If it does, the wood framing and structure will get wet. You want your exterior structure to be able to repel water -- but if any water does get in, you want the water vapor to be able to escape. It'll dry out eventually, but repeated wetting and drying will lead to rot. You also don't want the water to get further inside and soak the insulation. It's very difficult for moisture to escape once it's trapped within the building's envelope.

2. Remove Snow Immediately
Start by clearing snow away from doors and windows. Snow melting could come in windows, doors and other openings in the house, leading to mold issues. Should your area receive a large amount of snow, make every effort to remove large snow deposits from roofs and away from intakes, doors and windows, as large quantities of melting snow -- especially on roofs -- can cause a great deal of damage to not just siding and insulation, but to gutters as well.

3. Protect Your Home's Walkways without Chemicals
Keep the walkways and steps clear. However, when clearing walkways and driveways made of concrete, do not use salt. Salt eats through concrete and causes it to crack. Use eco-friendly products that don't contain harmful chemicals.

4. Prevent and Remove Ice Dams
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home, causing damage to walls, ceilings, and insulation. To prevent the formation of the dam, be diligent about removing snow from the roof before it freezes; use a roof rake or push broom.

Psst...Our sister site ShelterPop is hosting a design challenge -- go vote for your favorite student-designed product!

Take a look at this video for shoveling safety tips!

  • Richard

    Mike Holmes, you are THE best!!! His advise should be the bible for any homeowner, PERIOD.

  • Larry

    Just like hurricane preparedness in the south, keeping your house stocked with some extra can goods and foods that last is a smart idea. HTtp:// has some coupons and free stuff to keep on hand.

  • John

    The remedy for ice dams is well intensioned but I for one don't want to be on a icey, slippery roof to brush it off witha push broom. I insytalled Heat tapes witha thermostat contol to remove the Ice and snow from Guttere, Down spouts and roof edge. MUCH MUCH SAFER

  • dave

    With those tips maybe he should change his name to Captain Obvious.

  • dave

    Preventing ice dam's is not done by cleaning off snow, but by preventing heat loss through your attic. A properly insulation job will eliminate ice dam's. The air in the attic should be the same tempature as outside.

  • Mark

    Well said__

  • 6 Comments / 1 Pages

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