by Phillip B. Burum, Executive Vice President, Diversified Pacific,
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
Because our state experiences alternating periods of drought and rainfall, California homeowners will have to be extra vigilant over the course of the next few months to find and correct any issues created by our recent rainstorms.
The path to correcting any issues is to start with a thorough inspection and any inspection for water intrusion should begin with the home’s roof. Whether a home’s roof has tile, asphalt or wooden (shake) materials, homeowners should check for dark spots, holes, cracks, split seams or missing shingles. After checking the exterior surface area, the ceilings throughout the home (especially in garages or utility rooms) should be inspected for signs of water damage.
Water intrusion can lead to mold formation and wood rot. These can compromise the structural integrity of your home and introduce health risks that could cost a great deal to alleviate later. If any deficiencies are observed, they should be dealt with immediately.
As important as it is to correct the issue, discovering the cause of the problem should also be a priority. To protect against re-occurring or ongoing water damage issues, clear off any broken tree limbs or other debris around which water can pool or insects can use as a gateway into your home. Trim back any trees or shrubs that might touch the home’s surfaces and check them again during the summer months. Plants will grow much more rapidly after events such as those we have experienced recently and you want to protect your home not only from water intrusion but also from pests.
Clean out the rain gutters of your home to remove any debris left over from the winter storms and check to make sure your gutters are still securely fastened. After you have cleared away all the debris from your exterior drains, inspect your windows for any cracking or splitting from the caulk. If so, clean off the mildew and replace the caulk.
Once gutters are clear, inspect for any tears or dents on any vents, gutters or flashing (strips of metal or waterproof material used to prevent water from penetrating the junction of a roof with another surface). If you have a stucco exterior, check carefully for cracks and holes that might not be visible at a distance.
In this case, an ounce of prevention may be worth pounds of gold. The cost to repair a broken shingle is significantly less than the cost to repair wood rot in a home’s truss system so get someone up there to take a look and make the needed repairs!
Damage from water saturation can often go unnoticed until it’s too late to cure at a reasonable cost, so check around the home for any cracks, buckles or changes in your foundation, walkways, driveways, patios or other outdoor concrete-covered areas. If you suspect you have damage to your home that isn’t entirely visible, consider a damage inspection from a certified contractor.
Remember to inspect for more than just water damage. The high winds that accompany storms can often create problems for windows, so check for any cracks or holes and make sure you board up any broken windows temporarily until they can be repaired.
An annual inspection may not currently be part of your spring schedule of activities but the economic benefits of actively maintaining your home far outweigh the impact to your already overburdened schedule. A few hours wisely spent today may help avoid the time and expense involved in a more substantial repair later.
For more information on making sure your home continues to be as safe and healthy as possible, visit the National Storm Damage Center (NSDC) on Facebook and have a great spring.