With all of the news about flooding recently and all the flood events we have experienced here in Canada over the past years, we wanted to provide our website users with some actionable tips on how to waterproof your home to guard against one of nature’s most damaging forces when it comes to our homes.
Damp and water damage can take a serious toll on your home and lead to major repair bills. Unlike fire, which is a rare, cataclysmic event that you’ll definitely notice, water damage can build up over time, even years, until a problem that you could fix in an afternoon becomes a major disaster that will require hiring contractors and spending thousands of dollars.
Fortunately, there are some easy fixes that you can carry out yourself or with a short visit from contractors like ourselves. These won’t only prevent possible water damage, but will even add to the value of your home.
You’d think that the solid concrete foundations of your home a rock-solid, but cracks can develop and even though it might not seem so, concrete is porous- water can go right through it.
You can waterproof and damp proof your basement, two different processes that should ideally be used together. According to building code, all you need is a dimpled membrane that stops groundwater from coming into contact with the walls and create space for the wall to ‘breathe’. However, adding full protection against both moisture and groundwater and filling in existing cracks with concrete sealant should protect you, with little upkeep in future.
This is your first line of protection against water damage, and unless you want to break out pots and pans to collect drips from the ceiling you’ll need to get it perfect. Make sure that chimneys, skylights and plumbing vents are properly sealed- and keep making sure, as they can crack over time. You’ll also need to check that shingles haven’t cracked and that your seals are sealed. In winter you should make sure that ice dams aren’t forming on your roof- these are walls of ice and snow that collect at the edge of the surface of your roof which prevent snow from running off, trapping water and causing costly damage.
As with the foundation, following building codes won’t get you the complete protection you’ll need. The concrete that your walls are made of can be mixed with substances that will make it waterproof and the exterior walls can be wrapped in an plastic sheet- you’ve probably seen blue Tyvek and Typar wraps around new buildings. If you have an older building you probably don’t have the same protection as a modern home, so contact a contractor to see what you need to be bought up to speed.
They’re no fun to clean, but your gutters and drains need to be kept free of obstructions or you risk them either breaking or your drains overflowing and creating a pool of standing water that can get into your walls or basement. You’ll also want to make sure that the metal gutters in older buildings aren’t corroded- if so you might consider replacement.
Windows and Doors
Wooden door and window frames can swell in wet weather, and improperly installed windows and doors can let in moisture. Sealing them can be as simple as applying silicone, or could involve getting new doors and windows. Modernizing these won’t just improve waterproofing, but improve your home’s aesthetics and energy efficiency.
Given how disastrous a water leak can be and how much can value can be added from modernizing to waterproof your home, it’s hard to argue that it’s something that you can put off. If you’re lucky, a recently-built home should have good waterproofing already, whereas an older home could have dozens of problems that could cost thousands to fully fix. You’ll only know the extent of the repairs and upgrades that need to be made by calling and having a professional check your home for areas that can be improved.