How to Assess Your Outdoor Structures for Winter Damage

The snow is finally melting in New England, and that means you can start planning spring projects around your home and yard. However, one of the first items on your seasonal to-do list should be to assess your yard structures—like sheds, gazebos and pergolas—for any winter damage.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a quick guide on how to check outdoor structures for winter damage, starting from the ground up.


Just like how freeze-thaw cycles in New England cause potholes, the temperature fluctuations can lead to cracks in a concrete foundation. Even small cracks can lead to serious structural problems down the road, so check carefully for any issues.

If your shed is built on a wooden foundation, examine the boards for signs of rot or any breakage.


Next, you’ll want to examine the siding of your shed or the exterior of a gazebo or pergola. Look for cracks in vinyl or sections of paint that have peeled away. Both of these issues will need to be repaired, otherwise moisture may get into the structure, leading to rot.


If your shed or gazebo has screens, look for any major rips or tears. These might not pose any threat to the integrity of the structure, but what’s the point of having screens if they don’t keep insects and other pests out? Depending on the size of the tear, you might be able to apply a patch to it.


Finally, take a peek at the roof of your structure. If you were hit with any major storms over the course of the winter, the shingles may be torn off or deteriorated, which can lead to moisture damage if left unfixed. Using a ladder if needed, closely examine the roof of your shed or gazebo and make plans to replace any damaged shingles.


Consider this a bonus item on your winter damage checklist. You’ll want to make sure the trees around your shed, pergola or gazebo are healthy. Check for broken or rotting branches that could potentially fall onto your yard structure, and if you find any, have them removed ASAP.

Take your time to examine each building in your yard for signs of winter damage before you jump into any spring projects. It’s a small task that will go a long way toward maintaining the integrity of your structures so you can use them for years to come.