Rainwater damage can spoil the beauty of a home, diminish its property value, drain finances for big, expensive repairs and, eventually, render it unlivable. Rainwater seeping into the house leaves ugly watermarks on the ceiling and walls.
It causes paint to bubble, crack, peel off or discolor. It causes wallpaper to peel off and wooden boards to rot. Non-rain proof doors and windows swell when they absorb water and make them hard to close. Moisture makes the house conducive to the growth of molds, some of which could trigger allergic reactions and asthma.
The moisture also is inviting to insects and other pests, some of which cause diseases. Most devastating would be damage to the house’s foundation, making the house unstable.
Periodic inspection of the condition of the roof, gutters, fascia, doors, windows, exterior walls, foundation and drain system could locate potential points of entry of rainwater into the house. Inspection also detects early signs of damage that could be remedied fast to prevent further damage.
Since the best way to avoid rainwater damage is to prevent rainwater from entering your house, these are some of the measures that a homeowner could carry out:
- Have enough roof overhang so that exterior walls, doors, and windows are protected from the rain.
- Periodically inspect the roof. Damaged, loose or missing shingles have to be replaced.
- Inspect external doors and windows. Large cracks between the frame and the house could be filled with foam sealant. Caulking could be applied on leaks between windows and siding.
- Inspect exterior walls and see whether their exterior finish, like paint or sealant, has been maintained. Repaint or reseal, as required. Waterproofing plasters and latex primer of good quality should be used on walls.
- Plants should not be placed along the walls to avoid having to water them very close to the house. The pooling of water around the house’s base endangers the house’s foundation. Sprinklers should point away from the walls to keep the walls dry. Vines should not be grown directly on the wall because they may cause cracks through which moisture could come in.
- Inspect spaces where two different house surfaces meet, such as intersections of roof surfaces with parapet walls. See whether there is no damage on sealant joints and flashings – the metal strips placed in these spaces to prevent leaks. Repair and replace as needed.
- Install roof gutters. Gutters capture rain that falls on the roof of a house and direct rainwater through a downspout onto the external drain system and away from the house. This keeps rainwater from pooling on the ground around the house and from potentially being absorbed into the foundation and cause cracks and holes to form on it. This will severely damage the house and make it unstable.
- Clean and maintain roof gutters regularly. Remove leaves and other debris from gutters. Follow up with a pressure washer. If the cleaning cannot be done as a DIY job or if gutters are too high to reach, hire a professional. Install metal screens on roof gutters to prevent debris from clogging them and forming a breeding place for insects and other animals that could carry diseases. Inspect the fascia board that holds the gutter and protects the roof and the interior of the house from moisture to determine if there is a need for having your fascia replaced.
- Check your downspouts. Downspouts should be at least three feet from the house to prevent pooling of water around the bottom of the house. Use a downspout extension if the length is inadequate. Repair and replace as needed.
Rainwater damage to the home and its accompanying expense and heartbreak could be prevented. A regular inspection of the house is the important first step.