6 areas to check when waterproofing your home

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With floods filling the headlines across Canada, and Toronto experiencing scenes reminiscent of an armageddon movie back in August, there was an influx of insurance claims as the result of flood damage this summer. So, it seems only fitting we provide a guide to how to waterproof your home, to avoid any further damage once those clouds roll back in.

It isn’t just flooding that can cause water damage in your home though, in fact anything from a burst pipe to a patch of damp can wreak havoc on your little nest. Whether its a cataclysmic event, or a case of water damage building up over time, what could be fixed in an afternoon could end up costing you thousands if you don’t take the time to fix it.

1.Roof

It’s the most obvious point of protection, but your roof is the first place you should begin when waterproofing your home. You need to be sure that your shingles or tiles remain in good condition and haven’t formed any cracks. Additionally, check that all chimneys, skylights and plumbing vents are sealed, as they can crack over time.

While your roof is probably the last place you want to go in the winter months, it is vital you keep on top of things and ensure that ice dams aren’t forming. They can eventually stop snow, ice and water from correctly draining resulting in thousands of dollars worth of damage in the future.

2.Foundations

While this seems like a big job, just a quick visit from a contractor could be the answer to all of your potential problems. While you think the foundation of your home is pretty rock solid, in reality small cracks can develop over time which can lead to damp or flooding. Things can get pretty dire in the winter months if the water that has bled into these cracks freezes. A contactor can check for any cracks, as well as ensuring your basement is adequately waterproofed.

3.Walls

Much like the foundations of your home, your walls are all part of its structural integrity and you want to make sure they aren’t forming any potentially damaging cracks. For the most part the materials used to build your walls will be mixed with substances to make them waterproof, and new buildings are often wrapped in Typar or Tyvek sheets for extra security. If you live in an older home they may not have as much protection, and so they’re a little more susceptible to water damage.

Additionally, keep an eye out for any damp spots within your home. These should be dealt with as soon as possible. If you do notice a water stain or spot of damp, simply painting over it won’t make the damage go away.

If you have a spot that is affected by a water stain, and isn’t something more sinister, the best thing to do is use an oil-based sealer, and then a second coat with a sealer that has a high amount of solid mass, such as pigment.

4.Gutters

Taking things back up to the roof, it’s time to assess your gutters. We’re told to make sure out gutters are clear year-round, but it can become a chore and in the winter months its easy to let it slide. But this could result in serious damage.

Make sure that there aren’t any obstructions, such as a clump of leaves, that are blocking water from funnelling freely. You should also check your downspouts aren’t clogged, and ensure that any metal gutters aren’t corroded.

5.Windows and Doors

Many of Toronto’s older homes still sport wooden doors and window frames, both of which can swell when they’re faced with large quantities of rain. Once the dry weather returns, you may notice your windows and doors returning to their original size, leaving a large gap that can let in moisture.

To tackle this problem you simply need to seal them with silicone. Alternatively, consider investing in some new windows and doors often manufactured from plastic to avoid this problem.

6.Painting and repairing rusty fixtures

Modern creations are truly a blessing when it comes to repairing rusty fixtures. These days there are rust-proof paints on the market than can be directly applied to a rust spot and fix the problem. The rust actually sticks to the paint, which also works to neutralize and stop corrosion from continuing.

 

If you are concerned about damage caused by a flood, bad weather or is simply a victim of age, the best thing to do is contact your insurer and see if your current home insurance policy has you covered. If you live in an area that is prone to vast amounts of rain or flooding, consider upping your policy to cover flood protection.

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