5 Ways to Protect Your Home From Water Damage During Hurricane Season

IBHS_WaterIntrusion_04Although Tropical Storm Chantal has weakened into a wave, Florida and parts of the southeastern United States might be affected by large amounts of rain this weekend. With the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season still two months away, now is the time to fortify your home against wind-driven rain and standing water. IBHS suggests five projects that you or a professional can do around your home to reduce potential water damage.

SEAL GAPS

Aging and weather can lead to gaps around the penetrations entering your home and around windows and doors.

Over time, gaps can form in areas such as where water faucet pipes, gas pipes and air conditioning pipes enter the walls. Gaps also may exist behind electrical outlets, junction boxes, circuit breaker boxes and electric and water meters. Cracks or voids under window sills also can be created due to weather and aging. Water can enter through these openings and cause significant damage that you may not notice until it is too late and major repairs are needed.

To seal these gaps, apply caulk. The type of caulk you use will depend upon the location where it’s needed. Read more about how to choose the correct type of caulk and proper application.

REDIRECT POOLING WATER

Pooling water near a house can lead to significant interior damage. Consider these improvements to keep water away from your home:

  • Look at the grading of your property. The grading should direct water away from the house to avoid pooling water.
  • Evaluate the drainage of the property and consider adding a waterproof membrane to the wall where leaks have occurred.
  • Add ground or French drains to help move water away from the house.
  • If there are penetrations of a house within 6 inches of the ground, caulk around the penetrations and use sandbags when storms threaten to create a barrier around the penetration.

Additional information on Redirecting Water From Your Home.

INSTALL A SUMP PUMP

A sump pump is an effective tool to keep water out of your home or business, but it  may require demolition of a portion of the basement floor. Suggestions to consider:

  • Install a sump pump with a battery backup system.
  • To be effective, the sump pump needs to be located away from the basement walls and have positive drainage away from the building.

Learn more about Sump Pumps and their Installation.

PROTECT VENTS AND SOFFITS

gable-end-ventAttics are vented (cooled) in three ways and each can be major paths to let water into your home. Click on the resources below to see how to protect your home from wind-blown rain through these locations.

Another area that can be a source of water damage is the soffits themselves. Vinyl and aluminum soffits are commonly installed in tracks that are poorly connected to the roof framing and walls. To perform properly during high winds, it is especially important that vinyl and aluminum soffits be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation requirements for high wind conditions.

Additional information on Strengthening Your Soffits

SEAL YOUR ROOF DECK

Sealing your roof deck can provide an added layer of protection against water damage. A roof deck should be sealed using a membrane that is strong enough, when properly attached, to stay in place if the primary roof cover blows off. It also should be  water-tight enough to keep water out of the attic if the primary roof cover is lost. Watch what happens to a home when the roof covering is lost and the roof deck is not sealed in this video from the IBHS Research Center

sealing-roof-deckOptions for sealing the roof deck during new construction or when re-roofing include (depending on your roof type):

  • a “peel and stick” membrane over the entire roof deck;
  • a 4-in. to 6-in. wide “peel and stick” tape installed over all the wood roof panel seams, covered by a 30# felt underlayment over the entire roof; or
  • a high tear strength synthetic underlayment with all vertical and horizontal seams taped.

 Other options to consider:

  • Apply a closed cell spray polyurethane foam to the underside of the decking.
  • Install a closed cell polyurethane spray foam applied to the underside of the roof sheathing at the joints between the sheathing panels and along all intersections between roof sheathing and all roof framing members.

 Additional information on Sealing Your Roof Deck.

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