During the winter season, life isn’t exactly a walk in the park for your typical New York City building. Freezing rain and wind beat at the façade relentlessly; snow accumulates on the roof and turns to ice, then thaws and seeps into co-op or condo units below, and most systems work double time to keep home-bound residents warm and cozy.
With the first days of spring at hand, it’s time to take stock of any damage the winter has done. No doubt, the moment has come to launch a spring cleaning and repair program.
It’s What’s Outside that Counts
Best to complete in early March, a spring season inspection works from the outside in. Typically, the first order of business is a comprehensive evaluation of the exterior envelope.
“More important than anything, we want to make sure there's nothing hanging off the building,” says Wayne Bellet, owner of Bellet Construction, a 96-year-old exterior maintenance and restoration company based in Manhattan. “If anything becomes displaced or loosened by the wind, we want to take care of it immediately.”
Next, examine the building envelope for signs of damage that might allow water to penetrate the facade. “In the winter, freezing temperatures will cause metal and brick elements to expand,” says Jeff Heidings, the president of Siren Management, a Manhattan-based management company. “When they thaw in the spring, you can see the cracks, the gaps and the openings that can result in water penetration.”