How Do I Prevent Rainwater from Damaging My Home?

How Do I Prevent Rainwater from Damaging My Home?

How Do I Prevent Rainwater from Damaging My Home?

Did you know water damage is estimated to cost U.S. homeowners billions of dollars a year? On any given day, home water emergencies impact at least 14,000 people, according to researchers. If left unchecked, rainwater damage could affect the structural integrity of your home, so it's important to take measures to protect yourself ahead of time. If you've been asking, 'how do I stop rainwater from coming into my house?'--here are the most effective ways to keep it outside, where it belongs.

Clear Gunk from Your Gutters

If your rain gutters are full of leaves, pine needles, or other detritus, it could push water down and damage your home's interior. You can prevent rainwater damage by cleaning your gutters regularly. Depending on your surrounding foliage, it's a good idea to clean them multiple times per year, either by yourself or through a licensed professional.

Remove Debris

During late winter, spring, and fall, it's important to sweep outdoor surfaces regularly, including your patios and door wells. This prevents debris from collecting and clogging exterior drains. You may also want to cut back foliage from around your foundation. Trees and other plant life could prevent airflow and cause moisture issues that could encourage mold growth.

Maintain Your Roof

If you properly maintain your roof, you shouldn't have a problem preventing rainwater damage for many years. However, climate, weather conditions, and foliage sometimes cause damage. One tear in a rubber membrane or a compromise in the plywood structure of the roof could be disastrous for your home's interior. By keeping up on maintenance, you can preserve the life of your roof for years to come. If possible, have a professional roofer inspect it every few years.

Seal Your Windows and Doors

Windows and doors are common places for water leaks. Small openings allow moisture to seep in around frames if they're not properly sealed. Most modern windows are fitted with wells and drains designed to help direct water away from the house, but if you have an older window or door, make sure the weather-stripping and seals are in good shape. Seal cracks between the frame and the house with foam sealant and apply caulk where needed.

Use a Rain Barrel

Did you know that on average, a roof collects up to 600 gallons of water for every inch of rain? Rain barrels range in size from 30 gallons to 100 gallons and are made of plastic or wood. In addition to helping you control the rainwater around your house, they play an important role in protecting freshwater resources.

Install a Divert Downspout

If your gutters aren't angled properly, they could cause water to pool at the base of your home, threatening its structural integrity. Install a divert downspout to carry water away from the house and prevent it from seeping into the home. 

Create a Swale Ditch

You can take measures to keep water out of your home, but waterproofing alone sometimes isn't enough. Swales are channels that redirect or slow down rainwater runoff--as the lowest point on a property's landscape, they're usually pitched to carry to the water in a specific direction. For instance, you may build a swale to redirect water from a downspout to a rain garden or woodland area where the water can be absorbed.

Increase the Size of Exterior Drains

The larger your drains, the smaller the chance of them clogging and causing flooding. With bigger drains, you should see less pooling, mold, and water damage on your property. Because digging can be difficult work on your own, get friends and family to help, if possible.

Increase Your Grading

Incorrect grading could cause damage to your foundation and cost a lot of money in repairs. To fix it add or remove earth to create a slope that drains the water away from the house. You may use your landscaping to help create the slope by bringing in topsoil, plants, or grass.

Install an Exterior French Drain

French drains disperse water over a large area through a buried pipe. The pipe must be surrounded by a material that allows water to drain through it, such as gravel. For homes situated on slopes, this drain is an ideal solution to divert surface water away from the house to prevent water damage. Remember to ask local authorities to mark the location of underground utilities before you dig.

Install a Sump Pump

Sump pumps remove water from beneath your home by collecting it and pumping it away through a discharge pipe. Whenever the water table rises, like during the rainy season, the pump activates and drains excess water from your home. Remember to service your pump regularly, contact a professional immediately to fix any issues, and prevent dirt and debris from falling into the sump pit. Rainwater damage is a significant problem that affects a lot of homeowners, no matter the location. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to prevent it. Use these pointers to save money and protect your home investment. 
Don't let rainwater--or anything about homeownership--surprise or scare you. Get prepared!
Hope this helps!

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