Prevent Exterior Water Damage With These Simple Tips

exterior water damageConcerns about potential water damage shouldn’t be limited to your home’s interior. Materials that make up the exterior roof, walls and foundation of the house—wood, masonry, concrete—can be vulnerable to water damage under certain conditions. Also, external water damage often doesn’t stay outdoors: Water seepage originating outside tends to infiltrate indoor spaces, as well. Here are ways of detecting and dealing with exterior water damage before it becomes an interior issue.

  • Have your roof inspected. It’s a job for a professional who knows what to look for and can do so safely. They will check for damaged and missing shingles and defective flashing around vent pipes, chimney and skylights. Up in your attic they’ll inspect the sub-roof for telltale evidence of leakage, too.
  • Check exterior walls for loose siding boards, cracked bricks or masonry and signs that exterior wood sheathing is deformed or damaged due to water.
  • Inspect any openings in exterior walls that admit wires, plumbing pipes or heating and A/C lines. Seal around them with foam or caulk.
  • Look for signs of termite activity in or around exterior walls. Be aware that termites eat drywall as well as wood.
  • Trim back shrubs and/or tree limbs so they don’t touch sides of the house or the roof. Vegetation contacting exterior walls or roof surfaces traps chronic moisture, potentially accelerating deterioration of building materials.
  • Ventilate the attic to prevent ice dams on the roof. Heat rising from living spaces accumulates in the attic, causing uneven snow melt on the roof. Ice dams form, obstructing roof runoff and triggering damaging leaks. Adequate ventilation keeps attic temperatures uniformly cold.
  • Make sure that ground around the perimeter of exterior walls is slightly graded to divert water away from the house and prevent seepage into the foundation or basement.
  • Water cascading out of clogged, overflowing gutters can penetrate siding and cause severe damage inside exterior walls. Keep gutters clear and free flowing. Also, extend gutter downspouts to discharge water at least three feet away from the house.

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