For a Waterproof Home, Remember to “ROW”
When moisture finds its way into your home, it can cause serious and expensive damage. So, if you’re interested in getting as close to a waterproof home as possible, simply remember to “ROW” by focusing on your Roof, Openings, and Walls.
When it comes to roofing, you’ve got shingles, underlayment, and flashing. Most roofs have shingles, which are usually made of waterproof materials like roofing felt or tar paper. The problem comes when cracked, broken, or worn shingles let water through that first line of defense. Inspecting your roof regularly and replacing broken shingles as soon as you notice damage is a good way to keep leaks at bay. If you do not know how long your shingles have been damaged, checking the underlayment is your next step. The underlayment is a layer of paper or fiberglass laid below the shingles. It is generally waterproof, but can be damaged by sun or water exposure through gaps and cracks in shingles. Finally, don’t ignore the flashing. Flashing is usually metal, but can sometimes be plastic, roofing felt, or rubber. It is installed around details and joints in the roof like the chimney, skylights, vents, or other places where the tile ends or meets other structures.
Doors and windows are the largest openings in your home. They are also the most susceptible to leaks. A leaky door or window isn’t just an eyesore. Consistent leaks can cause discoloration, warping, rot, and even dangerous mold to ruin your openings (and your day). The key to keeping these openings waterproof as well as easy to open and close is adequate weatherstripping. There are several different kinds of weatherstripping to suit any style and budget from the less-expensive (though shorter-term) rubber to long-lasting interlocking metal. If you find your doors or windows warping, it may be possible for a professional to add or remove material to fix the problem. But, without addressing the weatherstripping, it may only be a matter of time before water damage brings the issue right back.
Though water damage can happen in any room, the place where it occurs most commonly is the basement. Any underground space with low air circulation is going to be susceptible to leaks, humidity, and mold. Hiring a professional is the best and least risky way to ensure your basement stays dry, but if you decide to do it yourself, make sure you research the process thoroughly or as with any repair, you could end up paying twice. There are no shortage of paints that you can use on the inside of your foundation walls to seal out water, but if you plan on waterproofing your basement yourself, you’ll need to take care of any voids, cracks, or holes first with hydraulic cement.
Keep water away from your foundation in the first place by making sure that all of your downspouts are directing rainfall away from your home. If necessary, you may need to attach an extension to bring water even further from the house. If the pitch of your land causes water to run right back towards your house, you may need to install a drywell connected to PVC Pipe in order to keep the downpours at bay.