Maintenance: Water Damage Solutions

Wind-driven rains and standing water can lead to damage

Follow the guidance below to minimize the chance of water getting inside your home or business.

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 appear 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. The following are basic categories of caulk: waterproof or waterproof and paintable.

Follow these guidelines to help determine which caulk is appropriate for the job you are completing. All outdoor applications should use waterproof caulking.

  • Waterproof Products

Caulk that keeps water out is a necessity in areas that will be exposed to water, such as windows, doors, kitchens, and baths, so a permanently waterproof caulk is needed. If the caulk is not permanently waterproof, the area could be left vulnerable to water damage and mold growth.

  • Waterproof and Paintable

Some projects require a caulk that is waterproof and paintable. If the area will be exposed to water or the outdoor elements, a permanently waterproof and shrink-/crack-proof caulk is needed. If the caulk is not permanently waterproof and shrink-/crack-proof, the area could be left vulnerable to water damage and mold growth. If the caulk needs to match the exact color of the adjacent surface, it also needs to be paintable.

Redirect Pooling Water

Pooling water near a house can lead to significant interior damage.

If the finished floor of a house is at least 6 in. above soil and mulch, wind-driven water can accumulate next to the house and blow up against the wall. This could lead to water getting inside and damaging the walls and other interior finishes.

  • Address this problem by looking at the grading of the property.

  • The grading should direct water away from the house to avoid pooling water.

If water has gotten inside a house after heavy rains or there is standing water next to the house, this puts the house at significant risk of damage.

  • Evaluate the drainage of the property and consider adding a waterproof membrane to the wall where leaks have occurred.

  • Adding ground or French drains can help move water away from the house.

If there are penetrations of a house within 6 in. of the ground, the grading may not be sufficient to keep water from pooling next to the house. This could allow water to be blown up by high winds and get inside these penetrations.

  • Caulk around the penetrations and use sandbags to create a barrier around the penetration.

  • Sandbags should be placed directly against the house to avoid creating a dyke that can hold water behind it and against the house.