Water is literally one of the most destructive materials on the planet. The same soft liquid that you bathe your precious children in carved out the Grand Canyon. I’ll never forget at my first home inspection as a Real Estate Professional an old inspector uttered those famous words, “Water is not our friend”. Inside or outside water can wreak havoc around our homes and landscape.
We had a tenant in one of our rental properties recently decide it was a good idea to store frozen meat in his automatic ice cube bin. Unfortunately, he did not turn off the ice maker. To make a long story short ice was diverted, melted and caused an excess of a thousand dollars damage between his unit and the one below. Now, I’m not saying anyone could be that foolish, but you need to keep an eye out for small things that could become big things. Look up at your ceiling and walls frequently. Any type of staining or paint bubbling can indicate a leak. The sooner leaks are discovered the less damage is done. I found this out in my downstairs bath one day when a chunk of the ceiling fell on my head while I was in the shower. I failed to notice the staining earlier. The upstairs shower had a leak. So, pay attention and look up! In the basement we need to look down. There can be seeping during and after heavy rains. Consult a waterproofing company before more damage happens.
Outside the main things about water concern the roof and foundation. Gutters and downspouts are the most important thing to protect you roof and foundation. Clean free flowing gutters and downspouts carry water away from the roof and away from the foundation. They need to be kept free of debris. Now we all know going up on ladders can be downright dangerous. Call a professional, a good handyman will work in a pinch. Clogged gutters cause rain to splash up and in time will get under the shingles and damage them. Clogged downspouts will leak and overflow with water running down and pooling around the foundation. Downspouts can be extended to divert water away from the house. Check around the house monthly, especially after a heavy rain to see if there is any water collecting near the house. Make sure all outside drains are clear. Any pooled water is also an invitation for mosquitos to breed.
So, let’s keep water in its place, in our showers, sinks and washers and away from the shingles, foundation, ceiling and walls. As our old inspector says, “Water is not your friend!”.
Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago