6 winter weather protection tips

There are few precautions you need to take if you want to outlast the harsh winter weather that's headed your way.

Whether you like it or not, winter is on its way. And if you live in the Midwest, you've likely experienced a snowfall or two, as well as frigid temperatures. But the season is just beginning, and that means there's plenty more where that came from.

You may have prepared the inside of your home by tending the wood furnace or hiking up the thermostat, but have you considered the exterior of your house? There are a few precautions you need to take if you want to outlast the harsh winter weather that's headed your way. Here are six we recommend completing before it's too late:

Clean out your gutters

If you don't clean your gutters out before consistent snow fall, you increase the risk of an ice dam forming. According to House Logic, that's when ice melts off the roof, drips, and refreezes around the debris left in the gutter. This could force water under your roof line, which will ultimately end up in the attic, leak through your ceilings and cause thousands in damage. Avoid the mess and clear your gutters out before winter arrives in full force.

Clogged gutters could increase your chance of experiencing ice dam.Clogged gutters could increase your chance of experiencing ice dam.

Ensure your siding is secure

If your siding isn't secure, it's more likely to get ripped off by high winds and stripped away by ice and moisture. It may be worth it to call a professional for an inspection, or invest in material that's more durable against inclement weather.

Trim your tree branches

Ice storms and severe snow blizzards increase the risk of your branches damaging your home. To avoid a catastrophe, USAA recommended trimming the trees that hang over your roof. This reduces the chances of heavy branches damaging the shingles, or worse - breaking through and costing you a pretty penny to repair.

Prepare the roof

Your roof sees snowfall long before the ground does, so it's very important to prepare it for the encounter. Have your roof inspected to ensure there are no broken shingles, cracks, or holes putting your home at risk for potential damage.

Winterize your deck

You know those crisp temperatures are going to be unbearable in the near future. That's why wood care manager Fiona Seal told HGTV to winterize your deck as soon as possible to prevent damage.

"Smart homeowners recognize that seasonal changes can wreak havoc on decks unless properly maintained," she said. "But with a few simple steps, you can winterize your deck so it survives the onslaught of ice, snow, sleet, and moisture that can cause damage during the months ahead."

Simply clean your deck thoroughly and apply a protective finish to outlast the inclement weather ahead.

To prepare for the future, consider investing in composite decking that's as beautiful and low-maintenance as it is protective.

Consider a weather protection system

Installing a weather protection system is one of the smartest investments you can make in your home. The materials are placed under the exterior siding of your house to ensure minimal moisture intrudes. It's the easiest way to protect your home from the inclement conditions the season of snow brings every year.

It's hard to predict how severe the weather will be each winter, but it doesn't hurt to take precautionary measures. Preparing your home will ensure your safety and sanity all season long.