Water damage can be devastating. Unless it’s caught early, it can lead to mold, rot, and cracks in your foundation, which can be costly if not impossible to repair. Before the weather takes a turn for the worse, double check your property to make sure it’s protected against heavy rain and water damage.
Inspect & Repair Your Roof
Your roof does more to protect you from the elements than any other part of your home. It’s also more exposed than any other part of your home, and more prone to water damage as a result. Anyone living in a wet climate should climb onto their roof at least once a year to check for:
Missing or Damaged Shingles. Shingles gradually weaken over time. Under pressure from hail, strong winds, and extreme temperatures, they eventually crack, split, or fall off. In some cases, they may not have been properly installed in the first place. Regardless, poor shingling leaves you vulnerable to leaks and other forms of water damage. Shingles typically last 12-15 years, but can fail faster in harsh environments. Beside bare patches and exposed nails, rising heating and cooling costs are another sign it’s time to replace your shingles.
Loose Flashing. Flashing protects the seams of your roof, wherever two surfaces join together, such as chimneys, ridges, and skylights. Most flashing is made from metal, which is highly durable but vulnerable to fluctuating temperatures, which cause the material to expand and contract. Over time, this can open gaps that lead to water damage.
Black Grit. As shingles deteriorate, they slough off asphalt granules that accumulate in your gutters. A few specks of grit are nothing to worry about, but when a layer builds up, you need to call a contractor.
Moss & Algae. Biological growths open your roof to water damage, either by pushing shingles apart or attacking the material underneath. While moss is easy to spot, algae can escape your notice for years if you don’t know the signs. Look for dark spots or streaks; they’re a sure sign of algae infestation. Infestations can be removed with a 50:50 mixture of bleach and water. However, a professional can do the job more thoroughly and take steps to prevent the algae from coming back.
Clogged gutters prevent water from draining away from your roof. Instead, it builds up and seeps under your shingles and vents. Gutters should be checked regularly, but especially before and after a major storm.
Downspouts protect your foundation by directing water away from your home. However, if they’re cracked or don’t extend far enough, they allow water to pool around the base of your house and undermine its foundation.
Downspouts should extend at least two or three feet from your home. If they don’t, you may need to have them replaced or attach a hose to channel the water to a safer location. If the ground around your house naturally slopes away, a splash block may be an effective alternative.
Seal Doors & Windows
Cracks around your door and window frames let water seep in. This can lead to rot, mold, discoloration, damaged floors, and sagging drywall. In some cases, the moisture will warp the wood, making it impossible to smoothly open your doors and windows. Caulk is the most effective solution and can be applied without professional help.
Maintain Your Exterior Finish
House paint is more than decorative. It creates a watertight seal that repels moisture. Cracked or peeling paint, on the other hand, allows water to seep in and weaken your siding.
Reseal Your Basement
Once water saturates the ground around your home, it can seep into your basement. If you notice puddles forming after a rainstorm, you’ve probably got a leak. Most leaks can be repaired on your own with concrete sealer and a little paint. However, if the problem persists, you’ll need to consult a professional.