Spring Cleaning: A Post-Winter Plan Inspecting and Caring for Your Buildings

It’s not easy being a co-op or condo building in New Jersey in winter. Freezing rain and wind beat relentlessly at the façade. Snow accumulates on the roof, turns to ice, and when it thaws, seeps into units below. Systems in the building work double-time to keep home-bound residents warm and cozy.

Now, with the first days of spring around the corner, it’s time to take stock of any damage the winter has done and launch a spring cleaning and repair program.

It’s What’s Outside that Counts

Best done in early March, a springtime inspection on a high-rise co-op or low-rise condo or townhouse works from the outside in—and most managers agree the the first order of business is a comprehensive evaluation of the exterior envelope. An important initial point of any inspection is simply to check the perimeter of the building, especially the roof for any material that might be unsecured or loose due to any harsh winter winds.

It's necessary to find any possible areas of penetration for water, the primary enemy of any building structure. In winter, freezing temperatures will cause any moisture in metal and brick elements to expand, which can cause cracks and ruptures.

Points of particular concern are areas where two different types of materials meet, like limestone and brick, for example, or concrete and metal. The difference in physical properties causes different reactions to the elements, and that differing movement can cause cracks, the initial symptom of any structural problem down the road.

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