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Your Cold Climate House Design Guide

Sep 30, 2019 4:54:00 PM

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A house built in a cold area won’t necessarily have the best cold climate house design. Many home plans aren't made from scratch, so you can end up with a brand-new home that's not necessarily designed for your climate. Whether you're remodeling an existing home or you're currently building a new home, taking some extra steps to consider the climate will help.

Invest in the Right Insulation

Protecting your home from the cold is all about insulation. The better your insulation is, the less you'll even need to think about the cold outside. If your home is already built, consider blown-in or foam insulation in the attic. If you're building a home, make sure that the insulation has a high enough R-value for your area. R-value is what denotes the material's ability to insulate against both hot and cold.

Any air leaks in your home should also be blocked off. Pay special attention to windows and doors, because these are the areas that are most likely to leak. Weatherstripping and proper insulation around the windows and doors will help.

Ventilate With the Right Windows

The right window systems and window treatments can help with ventilation, such as easy-open windows and shutters. You can also install screen doors and screen windows to let you vent out your home, when hot, humid air is trapped inside of it. Managing a home in a cold climate isn't just about keeping the air locked in: it can easily become stuffy. It's also about being able to ventilate your home on the warmer days, to improve air quality.

Get the Right Roof

The right roof can really cut down on the heat leaving your home. Most roofs aren't really designed to insulate, they're designed to protect. But roofing options such as cement tiles or ceramic tiles (while heavy) will really keep the heat in. If you're thinking about remodeling your roof (or if you're building a house from scratch), take the time to consider alternative roofing options.

Metal roofs are another option for durable, long-lasting roofing that can help a cold climate house design, though of course shingles are more affordable. Wood tiles can also be an option, especially in humid areas. Cedar shingles are naturally resistant to pests, and provide greater levels of insulation than regular asphalt. They may need to be regularly cleaned to clear off mold and mildew, but they are also lighter than ceramic or cement, which both need additional reinforcement.

Allow Space Around Your Home

As snow falls off your roof (or is cleared manually off your roof), it needs room to fall. Make sure that your gutters are properly installed (you may need to clear them frequently) and that you have enough room around your home for the snow to fall. Further, make sure that your land is graded properly away from your home, so that the melting snow doesn't just sit. When snow melts, the water should flow away from the property.

Invest in Covered Entrances

Whether it's snowing, raining, or hailing, you'll often want a covered entrance. Covered entrances give you the luxury of slowly getting out your keys and juggling packages, while also protecting any deliveries, and letting guests wait in comfort. A well-designed covered entrance will also improve the overall look of your home, though it has to be designed properly to fit in with the rest of the architecture.

Any home can be made cold climate friendly with the right modifications. If you need to renovate an existing home, there's no better resource than the experts at Exterior Medics.