Homeowner Responsibilities This Winter

As a homeowner, the winter always presents a host of challenges. Whether it be finding cost-effective heating solutions, preventing pipes from freezing, or keeping your garden safe under piles of ice and snow, a homeowner has a lot of wintertime responsibilities. While some are higher on the priority list than others, one thing you should never overlook is the state of your driveway and doorstep. 

House

Keeping your driveway and doorstep safe

Your driveway and doorstep are the primary entranceways to your home, and should be cleaned off and salted whenever possible. A slip-and-fall accident can potentially be very serious, and no one wants to see a family member or friend suffer an injury as a result of an unkept stairway. 

Keeping your entrances safely accessible isn’t just a courtesy, it’s a legal obligation. Every province has an Occupier's Liability Act which details how a homeowner must take care of their property so it's reasonably safe for visitors. You can consult our resources down below for a list of current provincial Occupiers' Liability Acts. Under sub-section 4 of Nova Scotia's Occupiers' Liability Act, SNS 1996, c 27 it states:

"An occupier of premises owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that each person entering on the premises and the property brought on the premises by that person are reasonably safe while on the premises."

Although shovelling and salting your walkway and driveway takes hard work, it’s crucial in preventing an accident from happening. 

Depending on the type of material your stairs or entranceway are made of, certain shovels and salts will work better than others.

Using the right salt and shovel

If the main entrance to your home is a set of wooden stairs don’t use a metal shovel when shovelling. The metal can chip the wood, which can effect its structural integrity. Only use a plastic shovel when shovelling on wooden surfaces.

For salts, the most common type available is rock salt. It’s the type of salt used on the roads during the winter, and is inexpensive to purchase. However, while rock salt is effective when used on concrete, asphalt, and gravel, don’t use it on wooden surfaces. The rock salt will dry out the wood and cause it to corrode much faster than it should. One wood-safe alternative to rock salt is Magnesium chloride - it isn’t as corrosive, and won’t damage the wood. You can learn more on all the different types of salts by following the link here

To better equip yourself for shovelling and salting this winter, consider investing in the proper winter gear.

Be prepared for winter

Be prepared for winter this year and stock up on essential clothing and equipment. A winter jacket, gloves, and waterproof footwear will all help to keep you warm during outdoor activities. Be sure to have two quality shovels as well - a plastic and a metal one. A proper shovel will save you from hurting your back, and gets the job done much quicker.

Having the right shovel, salt, and winter gear, makes it a lot easier to keep your home’s entranceways safe this winter. Consult Nova Scotia’s winter-ready booklet here for even more ways you can prepare for the coming snow. It includes an in-depth list of everything you’ll need for your home, car, and incase of emergencies. 

Resources:

Occupiers' Liability Act - Nova Scotia

Occupiers' Liability Act - New Brunswick

Occupiers' Liability Act - Prince Edward Island

Occupiers' Liability Act - Newfoundland and Labrador

Occupiers' Liability Act - Ontario

Occupiers' Liability Act - Alberta

Occupiers' Liability Act - British Columbia