Water damage is one of the issues most homeowners are desperate to avoid.
Over time the degrading effects of water damage can destroy the beauty and comfort of your home. Luckily, if you’re proactive, there are quick fixes easily available.
Taking action now will help prevent minor to severe water damage from eventuating. Otherwise, repairs later on could require plumbing services and a builder, potentially costing you thousands.
How does water damage homes?
Water damage is not always the result of dramatic events like hurricanes and floods. Often homes are ruined by pinhole-sized leaks in pipes, poorly graded soil, blocked gutters, or a sump pump that refuses to turn on.
While it sounds daunting, if the problem is addressed early on chances are the impact is minimal. And a lot of water damage results from flaws that have easy DIY fixes.
But if left unchecked even a slow leak will rot out drywall and studs, create black mould that could require professional mould removal, and eventually weaken major structural elements like joists and beams. Water damage in a house can be truly disastrous.
Financially, water damage can devastate your bank account. Homeowner insurance may cover much of the cost of repairs, but deductibles and coverage limits mean you’ll still need to pay out-of-pocket expenses.
The best way to prevent water damage? Stop leaks before the first drop falls. If one has already developed, the smart solution is to address the problem before further damage happens.
Please note that a few of the suggested repairs and inspections below require you to be on your home’s roof. Make sure you wear footwear that isn’t prone to slipping, and mount the roof using a sturdy ladder. Consider wearing a safety harness when working on the roof.
- Ensure good drainage
Why it matters: Poor drainage weakens your foundation, causing cracks, uneven settling, and pathways for water to enter your home.
How to do it: Clean your gutters routinely. A clogged gutter will send cascades of water down the side of your house, damaging your siding and foundation.
Ensure your downspouts direct water 1.5 to 3 metres away from your house.
Make sure your yard is sloped at least 15.24 centimetres over a 3-metre span away from your foundation. That slope keeps water from getting down right next to your foundation, where it could cause walls to lean, crack the masonry, and create leaks.
For crawl spaces, keeping water away ensures excess water does not pool underneath your floor, resulting in damp conditions that encourage mould, rot, and insects.
- Attend to the downspouts
Why it matters: Downspouts pick up water from the gutters, and bring it down the side of the house. A simple concept that works well.
But be aware, downspouts ending perpendicular to the ground run the risk of thrusting the flow of water alongside your home’s foundation. Rainwater pushed at such high volumes rapidly erodes the soil around the house, and can leak into the home via the foundation, causing major damage.
How to do it: Run water through the gutters to make sure the downspouts are flowing. If necessary, add a 90-degree downspout elbow and a downspout extension to carry the water at least 61 centimetres or more away from the house.
- Check for water leaks and fix them
Why it matters: Persistent leaks can lead to mould and mildew, rot, and in some cases termites and carpenter ants (they like chewing on soft, soggy wood). Yet fixing a leak soon after it starts makes avoiding long-term damage a distinct possibility.
How to do it: Check for leaks by looking for dark spots under pipes inside sink cabinets, stains on ceilings, toilets that rock, and of course, drips.
At least once a year, inspect your roof. Repair missing, loose, and damaged shingles. Repair any cracked caulking, and check for leaks around flashing.
- Fix cracked or missing caulking
Why it matters: Any crack must be filled in; there is no such thing as an acceptable crack. Inside, look for tell-tale signs of water leakage that include mould spots, bubbled paint, crumbly drywall or plaster, and termite activity.
How to do it: When the weather is fair, make a circuit of your home’s exterior to look for cracked or missing caulk. Pay special attention to the top of the window casing, where water can accumulate.
Once you’ve identified the problem, take the time to caulk areas inside and outside of the house that are cracked or missing caulk.
- Inspect the roof
Why it matters: Without a weather-tight roof, your house will suffer water damage. It’s guaranteed, and even short of catastrophic roof collapse, roof systems can leak in ways detrimental to the quality of your home.
Before inclement weather descends, set a ladder against your house and walk the roof, inspecting and correcting shingles that might permit water to flow into the house. Also keep an eye out for overgrown moss that can work under the shingles, and any damage from fallen tree limbs.
How to do it: Get on the roof and inspect the area for loose, broken, missing or cracked shingles. Please undertake this task responsibly, in safe weather conditions.
If you’ve encountered a major issue during this process that’s beyond DIY repairs, get in touch with AllSealedWA. One of our Perth team will help organise a time for an obligation free consultation, outlining the necessary plumbing repairs.
Get in touch with us by calling 1300 884 117