Due to the numerous ways water can intrude into your property, it’s difficult to keep your home free of water damage. Everything from plumbing issues and heavy rain to roof leaks and even natural flooding can result in indoor water damage. Water damage is a major issue because it can easily spread throughout the porous materials of your home or building.
Severe structural damage, mold growth and other moisture related issues can result from significant water damage. The best way to avoid all this is to prevent the water damage by leak-proofing your home. This means:
- Sealing gaps around windows and doors
- Quickly repairing plumbing issues
- Installing proper insulation
- Having a professional inspect your home at least once each year
While these steps may seem overwhelming at first, they will significantly reduce your chances of experiencing a water damage issue and possibly even lower your energy costs.
Here’s how to effectively prevent water damage by leak-proofing your home.
Waterproof the Roof
The biggest step you can take when waterproofing your home is to waterproof the roof. The roof is your first line of defense against harsh weather conditions so here’s what needs to be done:
- Inspect and Repair the Roof: Work with a professional to carefully inspect your roof and ensure that the roofer makes necessary repairs. Replace any broken shingles or secure those that are loose to prevent roof leaks.
- Inspect and Repair the Chimney: Have a professional inspect and repair any cracked, loose, or missing parts of the chimney, including the flashing as water can easily seep into these areas. Make sure to invest in quality flashing material and keep a cap over your chimney.
- Add Attic Insulation: Maintain the temperature and moisture levels by properly insulating your attic. Doing this can also improve the energy efficiency of your home.
- Clean the Gutters: Especially in the fall, leaves, twigs, dirt, and other debris can easily clog the gutters and downspouts and cause water to spill over the sides of the gutters. Be sure to thoroughly clean the gutters, eaves, troughs and drainpipes by removing dead leaves and branches from the shingles, gutters and downspout. You may also want to wash the downspout with a garden hose and consider re-landscaping to direct water away from your home.
Waterproof the Foundation
Even the smallest cracks in the foundation can lead to water damage. Prevent basement flooding by fully waterproofing your foundation:
- Direct Water Away from the Foundation: It’s always important for the water to flow away from your foundation. You can create a slope around your home by simply adding a few inches of topsoil or crushed stone around your home once a year. This way, water will flow away from your home and into the street and the storm drains. You can also create a catch basin, or a trench, if you’re not able to direct water to a storm drain. Simply line the basin with fabric and gravel and keep it free of debris.
- Repair Foundation Cracks: Be sure to thoroughly inspect your foundation’s walls for cracks or signs of damage as strong weather conditions and snow can easily cause wear and tear on these materials. There’s caulk that’s specifically designed for masonry that’s available at your local hardware store to repair small cracks. Large gaps should be sealed with hydraulic cement – which is perfect for keeping water out of your foundation walls.
Finally, make sure that all of the openings for wires, ductwork and pipes in the roof area and underneath your home are fully sealed to keep the water out of your home. Also, inspect any gaps where pipes and air conditioning duct work pass through the walls and repair any holes as needed. And of course, don’t forget about the doors and windows.
Leak-Proof the Doors and Windows
Especially when strong wind is blowing into your home, snow and rain can easily get whipped into windows and doors with large gaps. That’s why it’s recommended to take each of the following steps:
- Add a keyhole cover in front of door locks to keep snow and rainwater outside
- Install storm windows to add an extra layer of protection against snow and rain
- Caulk both sides of the window to prevent water from seeping inside
- Use weather stripping to seal doors and windows that don’t close tightly
Simply sealing your windows and doors from the snow and rain will not only keep out the elements; it will also improve your home’s thermal efficiency.
Take Care of the Pipes
Be sure to inspect the plumbing system on a regular basis to identify any cracks or leaks and repair them right away. Be sure to take these precautions to protect against frozen pipes during the winter:
- Disconnect the downspouts from the sewer system to forestall the backup of wastewater
- Use heat tape or foam to insulate the pipes from freezing
- Seal any air leaks and add insulation to the areas of your home with pipes to keep them from freezing
- Allow a few faucets to drip water when the temperature falls below zero to keep water moving
- Even if you are not at home, keep the temperature above 55 degrees to prevent the pipes from freezing and to allow warm air to circulate around all pipes
Water Damage Restoration
While there are many steps to take to prevent water damage from affecting your home, it’s impossible to keep it out altogether. When this happens, don’t hesitate to contact your local restoration company for emergency water damage restoration services.
For those living in the southern California area, ServiceMaster by T.A. Russell is available 24/7 to respond to water damage emergencies of all kinds. Our technicians are licensed, bonded, trained and experienced to respond right away with professional air movers and dehumidification equipment to return your home to a clean and dry environment. We will also apply anti-microbials during the drying process to prevent any mold growth. After fully restoring your home to its original condition, we will work with your insurance adjuster during the claims process.
For emergency water damage restoration services in the Azusa, CA area, contact ServiceMaster by T.A. Russell at (626) 963-4048. We are available 24/7.