Out of all the elements out there, water is by far one of the worst culprits that can turn your home into a disaster. Water intrusion can show up in many ways such as broken pipes, appliance failure (e.g. water heater, washing machine, ac unit, refrigerator and dishwasher), failing shower surround systems, leaking sink plumbing and toilets. Water can also enter your home from the outside from cracks or gaps in doors and windows, failing siding and trim, bad ground grading, sprinkler systems, clogged downspouts and old or faulty roofing.
Once the water has made it into your home, it can cause wood to decay. It can also create an environment where mold can grow starting on the inside of walls, floors and ceilings and by the time you notice it, it can already be well on its way in creating damage. Termites also thrive on moist wood and so does fungus.
Things to take a look at…
On the exterior of your home there are things to pay attention to. Gutters should always be cleaned and if not can lead to problems. Fascia boards that your gutters are attached to are usually made of wood. When your gutters are filled with debris, water backup can happen causing your gutters to leak or even overflow which in time can cause your fascia and even the roof overhang to rot pretty quickly. This can escalate to your wood siding causing extensive damage to your home.
Another exterior area to pay attention to is the ground that surrounds your house. Does the ground slope away from the home in all directions? Are gutters and any other drainage pipes also draining away from the house? Does your backyard slope toward your house? Common remedies are downspouts that drain away from the house at least 3 feet, adjusting the soil creating a slope away from your home and having a contractor install a “French Drain” at the base of a hillside to reroute water away from your home.
As far as your foundation, keep in mind that concrete is very porous and will readily absorb moisture while leaching salts and various minerals out of the concrete that are required for the concrete to remain solid and structurally sound. Concrete can become weak and brittle.
Are your sprinklers spraying on the house? Hose bib leaking when you turn on the hose? Bushes touching the house and acting as a sponge in the wet seasons? There is a lot to keep an eye on, but worth paying attention to.
On the interior of your home, always keep an eye on what’s going on under your sinks. For some reason, this area is often overlooked due to our tendency to overload these areas with items making it hard to notice when something is leaking. In bathrooms, toilet wax rings tend to fail over time causing leakage which starts to deteriorate flooring. if it’s a second story bathroom, it will cause damage to the ceiling below, which is usually how it gets noticed. In the bathtub, a typical point of failure is the overflow gasket on the tub itself, kids take a bath and water shows up leaking out of the ceiling below and gets noticed.
Keep an eye on all water lines that go from the wall valves to fixtures and appliances such as washing machines, refrigerator water lines and all faucets. These should be replaced periodically, say every 5 years.
Hopefully this has been informative and helpful and save you some expense and headache in the future.
Robert Calvo, General Contractor