April is the month where water moves the most in home – freezing and thawing. It should come as no surprise that water can be the number one killer of your home. The surprising thing is that the number two killer is typically the homeowner that doesn’t proactively take care of the water problems – allowing it to become safety and health concerns. Saturated concrete, and wet organic materials like drywall and kitchen cabinets can form black mould or create damage to structural members, or introduce a safe haven for damaging insects like carpenter ants. These issues can be visible but in most cases, it’s hidden until it’s too late.
Let’s face it, water flows downhill right? Typically the answer is yes however, wind-driven rains can flow upwards on roofing systems and upper level walls forcing the rain water through uncaulked seams and openings, causing interior damage. Be sure to check your roof to ensure that it is not deteriorated and leaking, but in fact, most water concerns are in the basement!
Mould starts to form within 24 hours when organic materials become saturated due to constant moisture. Surface water is the leading cause of basement leaks – roof drains not diverted far enough away, or improper grading allowing water to flow towards the foundation wall instead of away from it. Cracks in your foundation wall can allow this surface water to drain through and leak into your basement, so get these fixed to reduce the risk of leaks right away.
Lastly, routine maintenance will have the biggest impact. Here’s what I recommend:
- The weather causes caulking around windows and doors to crack and fall apart. Check it annually, and re-caulk if needed.
- If your home has a sump pump, it’s important to test the pump yearly to ensure that it doesn’t have a mechanical problem.
- Check your roof and clean the gutters yearly.
- Check the grading and roof drains to ensure water flows away from your home.
Let’s keep your home dry, safe and healthy!
Source: Jerry Vander Eyken, RHI
Canadian Home Inspection Services, Kitchener/Waterloo