Monday, October 22 , 2018, 2:21 am | Fair 63º


Amid Predictions of El Niño, Waterproofing Long-Neglected Homes Should Start Now

Before the rain arrives, savvy homeowners will get a jump on fixing roofs, cleaning gutters and ensuring proper drainage

It’s far better to make roof repairs when skies are blue. Now’s as good a time as any — especially if an El Niño winter is on the way.
It’s far better to make roof repairs when skies are blue. Now’s as good a time as any — especially if an El Niño winter is on the way. (Creative Commons photo via Flickr)

It’s probably the furthest thing from most homeowners’ minds at the moment, but now is the time when we should be thinking about the many reliable sources predicting rain this winter — a lot of rain.

After years of drought, the prospect of a wet El Niño is an exotic, happy scenario. Hallelujah! Water! But wait ... are our houses up for it? 

Sorry to rain on your parade, but, yes, our houses are probably going to get very wet this winter. That’s not necessarily a good thing for a house unless your home is properly prepared.

Now is the time to think proactively about the effect that water will have on your home. The following top-to-bottom checklist suggests things you can do to help your home better handle the storms ahead:

Look at Your Roof describes doing this job this way: “You don’t have to risk life and limb. ... Just take a look from the ground. You’re looking for misalignment in the roof — shingles that look bent or deteriorated, or are missing altogether. Keep an eye out for wave-shaped patterns in tile, which can be a sign of warping.”

If you’ve been in your house for a while and remember a roof leak but have been able to ignore it because we’ve not had rain for so long, you’ll discover that that leak is still there and did not go away on its own. Now, before the rain starts, is the time to repair it.

Check Your Gutters

Faulty gutters are the No. 1 reason behind water intrusion in homes.

Hire a handyman or drag the ladder out of the garage and remove any debris that has built up and could potentially block the flow of water in your gutters.

This is a good idea to do now during our driest months, too, as gutter debris could easily catch an ember in the event of a fire.

Once you are sure your gutters are clear, move onto other drainage areas located around your house and yard, and make sure they are also clear and unblocked.

Check Windows and Doors

Water does not move top to bottom exclusively. It moves sideways and upside down, too.

If there is space for water to get inside around your windows and doors, you may need to make fit adjustments or invest in weather stripping so your doors and windows close tightly against the elements.

Think About Where the Water Goes

After the first rain, walk around your home and take a hard look at how water moves on your property.

Does it pool anywhere? Is it moving the way it should toward your drainage system? Are your pipes delivering water all the way to the bottom of that unstable or newly planted and exposed hillside?

It is sometimes necessary to trench, add or repair a pipe if water is pooling or not moving away from the house in a safe way. Hillside netting or other erosion prevention might also be necessary.

Repair Cracks

Water has a way of seeping into cracks and creating further damage. Cracks in exterior walls, concrete and decks will not get better by denying that they are there. In fact, a little bit of rain will make them notably worse.

Stucco repair, deck sealer, paint and putty are your best friends for preventing water from seeping into cracks and getting into your home.

Sandbag It

If you are aware that your home has had issues with water build-up in the past, it’s not a bad idea to plan ahead and have sandbags on hand and ready to go to redirect water in key danger areas.

Have an Exit Plan

We who are lucky enough to live on the Central Coast are well acquainted with the idea of emergency plans regarding earthquakes and wildfires. Having an emergency plan for shelter given the event of flooding is a good idea.

Hire a Waterproofing Company

Yes, there are experts at this! Lucky for us, we’re not the first who have encountered the problem of water trying to make its way into our homes.

Contractors, roofing professionals, landscape designers and waterproofing experts are a good resource for trouble shooting your home’s weak spots when it comes to water intrusion and, potentially, a very sound investment for your home.

— Noozhawk contributing writer Hilary Doubleday can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk@NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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