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Protect your home from rainwater

Saturday, November 11, 2017

FEW things are as stressful to homeowners as water damage. It can be a sinister, creeping issue that many don't discover until it has become a big, expensive problem.

At its worst, moisture has the potential to damage your home beyond affordable repair, with heavy structural consequences that include mold, wood rot, and even foundation cracks. If you're lucky, you'll catch it early and stop it before it spreads. But even small leaks that allow rainwater into the house can require major repairs to keep moisture at bay.

The best way to deal with water damage is to stop it before it starts. Here are measures that you can take to prevent water from entering your home from the outside.

? Waterproof your house exterior

The exterior of your house is its first line of defence against water damage. Protect your home from the outside in by maintaining the exterior.

? Maintain your roof

Your roof's primary purpose is to keep water out of your house. Neglecting it could lead to a whole host of problems, the worst of which includes extensive water damage that could compromise the structure of your home. Most roofs have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years, so it's easy to think that if yours is still within its period of usability, it's fine. But that's not necessarily true.

Climate, weather conditions, and even nearby trees can cause damage to roof shingles. Periodically inspect your roof for damaged, loose, or missing shingles. Replacing any shingles that are missing or in poor condition is a quick and inexpensive project that can extend the life of your entire roof.

? Seal windows and doors

Windows and doors are common vulnerable sites for water leakage. Water can seep in through the space around window and door frames if they're not properly sealed. Don't wait for a leak. Ensure that the weatherstripping and seals around your windows and doors are in good shape.

Inspect the outside of your windows and doors. Any large cracks between the frame and the house can be injected with insulating foam sealant. Prevent other leaks by applying a fresh bead of caulking where the window meets the siding. Even a fresh coat of paint on window and door frames can block moisture from penetrating the wood.

? Maintain your home's exterior finish

Signs of water damage on your house's interior walls that don't seem to have a source, such as mold, peeling paint, or discolouration, could be due to water entering through holes in your exterior walls. If your siding and exterior paint aren't well-maintained, water could be leaking through to the inside of your home.

Periodically inspect your exterior walls. Look for signs of damage in your siding, such as holes, wood rot, or warping. If caught early enough, you may be able to clean out the wet materials and repair only the affected siding.

Most common exterior siding, including stucco, aluminum siding, wood siding, and cedar shingles, need to be painted in order to protect your home properly. Paint adds more than just aesthetic appeal — it seals and protects your siding against rain, sleet, and snow.

? Ensure proper drainage

You can take measures to keep water out of your home, but waterproofing alone isn't enough to protect your home from water damage. If water isn't properly diverted away from the base of your house, your foundation could be at risk. And even the best waterproofing measures are no match for standing water around your house in areas of poor drainage.

? Clean your gutters

Making sure your gutters function properly is critical to protecting your home from water damage. If your gutters are full of leaves and pine needles, or not angled properly to funnel water to the downspout, then water will run down the side of your house and collect at the base, which could put your foundation at risk.

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