Safeguarding Your Home Against Major Rainstorms

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It’s become evident over the past few years that wherever you live, you are increasingly at risk at some point of experiencing unusually strong storms that can dump multiple inches of rain in a short period of time.

Heavy rains are increasingly inundating places that typically see little rainfall and flooding and heavy storm events are responsible for a significant portion of natural catastrophes that cause more than $1 billion in damages.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there were 23 rain events in 2023 that each resulted in over $1 billion in damages, including:

  • Four flooding events (in California, Florida and across the eastern and northeastern U.S.), and
  • 17 severe weather/hail events throughout the Midwest, East and South.

Rain can be a relentless force that tests the durability and resilience of your home. From minor leaks to major flooding, water damage can wreak havoc on your property, leading to costly repairs and potential health hazards.

However, by taking some proactive measures, you can safeguard your home against the damaging effects of rain.

Inspect and maintain your roof — Your roof is your first line of defense against rainwater. Regularly inspecting and maintaining the roof is crucial for preventing leaks and water damage.

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Look for missing or damaged shingles, cracks or gaps in the roofing material, and ensure that flashings are secure. Replace any damaged or deteriorated roofing materials promptly to maintain the integrity of your roof.

Clean gutters and downspouts — Gutters and downspouts play a vital role in directing rainwater away from your home’s foundation. However, they can become clogged with leaves, twigs and debris, hindering proper water drainage.

The National Center for Healthy Housing recommends cleaning your gutters at least twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. But during heavy storm years, you may want to check them more often to prevent water from overflowing and causing damage to your home’s exterior and foundation.

Install gutter guards — To minimize the need for frequent gutter cleaning, consider installing gutter guards. These protective covers prevent debris from accumulating in your gutters while allowing water to flow freely. Guards come in various materials and designs, so choose one that suits your home’s needs and budget.

Inspect and seal windows and doors — Leaky windows and doors can allow rainwater to seep into your home, causing water damage and mold growth. Inspect the caulking and weatherstripping around windows and doors regularly and repair or replace any damaged seals.

Consider adding weatherstripping or caulking where needed to ensure a tight seal and prevent water intrusion.

Check for exterior cracks and gaps — Inspect the exterior of your home for any cracks or gaps where water could penetrate. Pay attention to areas around windows, doors, vents and utility penetrations. Seal any cracks or gaps with caulking or weatherproof sealant to prevent water infiltration.

Maintain proper grading — The grading around your home plays a crucial role in directing rainwater away from the foundation.

Ensure that the ground slopes away from your home’s foundation to prevent water from pooling around the structure. If necessary, add or adjust the slope by adding soil or regrading the landscape.

Invest in proper drainage systems — If your property is prone to flooding or poor drainage, consider installing additional drainage systems such as French drains, swales or sump pumps. These systems help redirect excess water away from your home, reducing the risk of water damage and flooding.

Protect basement and crawlspace — Basements and crawlspaces are particularly vulnerable to water intrusion during heavy rain. Ensure that basement windows are properly sealed and consider installing window well covers to prevent water from entering.

Additionally, waterproofing the basement or crawlspace walls can provide an extra layer of protection against moisture.

Maintain landscaping — Proper landscaping can help absorb excess rainwater and prevent erosion around your home’s foundation. Plant native plants and trees and use mulch to help retain moisture and prevent soil erosion.

Avoid overwatering your lawn, as excessive water can saturate the soil and lead to drainage problems.

Regular inspections and maintenance — Finally, regular inspections and maintenance are key to ensuring that your home remains protected from rainwater damage. Schedule annual inspections with a qualified professional to assess the condition of your roof, gutters, drainage systems and other vulnerable areas.

Address any issues promptly to prevent them from escalating into costly repairs.

The takeaway

By taking these preventive measures, you can fortify your home against the destructive forces of rain and minimize the risk of water damage.

Investing time and effort in maintaining your home’s integrity will not only protect your property, but also provide you with peace of mind during stormy weather.

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