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Preventing Water Damage Outdoors
By Terry Allen
Water damage in houses is a horrible and time-consuming problem for most homeowners who encounter it. However, there are many ways to avoid having this problem happen in your home. Most water damage situations that occur in homes are caused by leaks inside the house such as a burst pipe, a malfunctioning washing machine or water heater, or a leaking roof.
However, water damage can still be brought about by factors that are outside the house. If you want to prevent water from entering your home from outside causes, you must ensure that you do the following routine checkups and maintenance activities around your home.
In general, you should disconnect all garden hoses from all the spigots before winter. The cold temperatures can cause the hoses from becoming brittle. Also, if there are low spots around your lawn, fill them up so that water will not be collected and will drain away from your home's foundation.
You should also inspect the caulking around the windows and the doors of your home and check whether they need to be replaced or re-caulked. This will prevent rainwater from entering your home and causing water damage to the inside walls. If necessary, repaint wood siding with paint that has water-sealing properties.
Your roof can also be a source of water damage if you leave it unchecked and unmaintained for a long period of time. Build up of leaves, twigs and other debris can obstruct the flow of water on the roof causing water to flow where it is unwanted. The weight of the debris buildup on the roof may cause added pressure to the roof and can eventually weaken it.
You should also check the roof for missing, cupping, broken, cracked, or curling shingles. Missing shingles means that the roof is not waterproofed and may allow rain to penetrate through and, therefore, may cause water damage to the ceiling indoors.
In addition, check if your roof has enough ventilation between the ceiling and the roof itself. Proper roof ventilation may help extend the roof's structural life by lessening the buildup of heat and humidity in the attic.
Gutters and Downspouts
Your gutters should be inspected regularly for obstructions to prevent water damage. You should clean the gutters regularly to prevent water from overflowing. If your gutter is regularly filled with debris, you should consider purchasing and installing gutter shields.
You can also create your own gutter shield by using chicken wire placed on top of the gutters. The wire mesh of the chicken wire will prevent larger debris or litter from entering the gutter and obstructing water flow.
Your downspouts should be oriented in such a way that it directs the flow of water away from your home's foundation. If necessary, extend your downspouts so that they are a couple of feet away from the foundation walls and that it is facing an area that is sloping towards the street where the main drainage systems are usually located.
Basement, Crawlspace, and Foundations
A common outdoors source for water damage is accumulation of water near your basement's walls and foundations. If not properly waterproofed, your basement will allow exterior water to be pushed into your basement. If you get groundwater in your basement after heavy rains, contact a waterproofing professional for a free inspection.
What to Keep and What to Discard: Outdoors