The national average cost to remediate and restore a basement that has suffered water damage is $2,700. That doesn’t even begin to account for the cost of water damage to a roof or other parts of your home. If you live in a flood zone, you should be particularly wary, but water damage can occur anywhere and at any time. In the face of this looming threat, what’s the best way to protect your home from water damage? Read on to discover the answer!
WATER DAMAGE 101: THE BASICS
Before we delve into the best way to protect your home from water damage, we need to know what causes water damage and how you can detect it. Knowing what to look for and when to expect damage gives you a leg up in the fight to keep your home safe.
CAUSES OF WATER DAMAGE
Here’s a list of the most common causes of water damage:
- Extreme weather events, including floods
- Pipes that have burst or are leaking
- Malfunctioning appliances, such as dishwashers or washing machines
- Groundwater seepage through cracks in your foundation or walls
- Roof damage, such as missing shingles or cracked flashing
SIGNS OF WATER DAMAGE
The following list provides some of the telltale signs that you are dealing with water damage. Keep an eye out for these:
- Peeling paint
- Warping floors
- Ceilings and walls that show discoloration or sagging
- A strong, musty smell or mold
- Water pooling in your yard, particularly after a rain event
THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT YOUR HOME
We’ll let you in on the secret. The absolute best way to protect your home from water damage is to properly maintain your home.
INSPECT YOUR ROOF
Your roof is exposed to all kinds of weather, all year long. It really takes a beating. You need to inspect your roof periodically, particularly after a large storm event, to check for broken or missing shingles. You should also keep an eye out for cracked flashing and large chunks of debris that may have hit the roof during a storm. If you don’t want to, or can’t climb up to your roof for a quick inspection, a pair of binoculars will give you a good idea of what’s going on up there from the ground.
CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS
Clean and functional gutters mean that water isn’t backing up on your roof, or pooling by your foundation. You want your gutters to funnel water off your roof and away from your building so that it prevents water damage. You should clean your gutters at least twice per year. In most climates, the best schedule for cleaning is after the trees have dropped their leaves in the fall, and in the spring when the snow melts. You should also add an extra cleaning if a large storm has deposited a lot of debris onto your roof and into your gutters.
When cleaning the gutters, make sure the laterals are not clogged by debris. Check that winter ice hasn’t cracked or broken your gutters. Run water down the downspouts to see where it discharges. The vertical downspouts should direct water well away from the foundation.
CAULK AND SEAL
Sealing your windows prevents rain and snow from creeping inside your home where they don’t belong. Other places in the house that should be caulked or sealed include:
- Bathtubs and sinks
- Drains, faucets and other plumbing fixtures
- Ceiling fixtures
You’ll want to choose caulking or sealant that is 100% silicon. Silicon is waterproof, flexible and doesn’t crack. Avoid acrylic caulk which will shrink over time leading to water damage.