With spring on the horizon, it’s time to give yourself and your home a pat on the back for successfully weathering the winter. It’s also time to evaluate what needs to be done around the home before spring showers are in full swing. Winter may be harsh, but the damp spring weather brings forth a new set of challenges for your home. Take these 5 waterproofing precautions before sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying the above 0 temperatures. At the end of the day, it’s always easier to prevent a flood than to deal with the aftermath.
1. Check your Gutters and Downspouts
The combination of rain and runoff from melting snow spells trouble for homes with damaged gutters and downspouts. Over the winter, built up snow and ice may have caused wear and tear to your gutters, so you or a pro should do a thorough inspection of these systems before spring. If your gutters appear to have survived the winter undamaged, you’ll still need to have a pro clear out debris and leaves from your gutter line to ensure that it will effectively direct runoff.
If your gutters and downspouts aren’t properly cleared, they will overflow, allowing water to drain directly into your home’s foundation. You should also check that your downspouts extend away from your foundation and basement window wells. These features should drain at least 4 feet from your foundation, if not, hire a pro to install extensions.
2. Inspect the Roof
While you have the ladder out, take the time to do a once over of your roof. In addition to looking for loose and broken shingles, you should also pay close attention to the state of your flashing. If you notice significant cracks, dents, or gaps, you’ll need the help of a pro who can replace or repair the material. Next, check out the sealant around your roof’s vents and piping. You’ll want to verify that these seams aren’t cracking or damaged, as the systems underneath are particularly sensitive to moisture. If you prefer to spend your time on the ground, have a roofing specialist come by to do a thorough inspection.
3. Fix Cracks
The next step in your home inspection should be your foundation. Head down to your basement and check for cracks in your foundation walls. Freezing and thawing cycles throughout the winter may have caused cracks to form, or caused ones that already existed to expand. If your basement is finished, check for watermarks and discolouration on your walls. These are indicative of moisture seeping into your home.
Next, head outside to evaluate the condition of your exterior foundation walls. Again, looks for cracks and fissures. Depending on the state of your walls (unfinished concrete versus panelled and painted), there are a number of methods that can be used to repair cracks and water damage. Consult with a waterproofing specialist to determine the best option for your home.
Cracks in your floors are indicative of a larger issue. A shifting foundation or eroded soil could be to blame for the formation of small fissures in your basement floor. These challenge your home’s structural integrity and should be inspected by a foundation specialist immediately. This pro will determine the necessary course of action to ensure your home is not at risk of flooding or even collapse!
4. Inspect Windows
Ice build up often breaks down the sealant used to waterproof and insulate your windows. If you notice your caulking has started to wear away, hire a handyman to re-seal your windows against the elements. Pay close attention to your basement window wells. Ensure the area is clear from debris and that your wells can drain efficiently. If not, a windows and doors expert will need to restore your drain system.
5. Prune Your Trees
You might also want to consider having the trees on your property trimmed. Trees can sustain significant damage during the winter months, leaving branches brittle come spring. As a result, they may not be able to support the weight of heavy rainfall and end up causing damage to your home and property. Have an arborist come by to get rid of any dead branches and ensure your home and family are protected in case of stormy weather.
For Canadians, coming out of hibernation is a long and slow process. As the temperature creeps higher, we need to ensure our homes are equipped for the spring showers to come. Now is the perfect time to start booking your spring maintenance projects – check out HomeStars to find the perfect pro for the job.
Cover image courtesy of The Travelers Companies.