Water Damage-The Home Owner Scare Champ

Today is Halloween. Cue the music from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960’s slasher/thriller Psycho. Outside of what happens November 8th it’s the scariest day of the year! Later this evening, “TRICK-OR-TREAT” will be heard in neighborhoods all across our America as little ghouls, witches, and spooks hold out their candy bags in search of high fructose corn syrup in the form of candy bars and lollipops. Some of my favorite memories of this frightful time of year are the scary movies I watched growing up. From Dracula to Poltergeist, I love popping in a horror movie, letting the TV be the only light source to light up the living room, and enjoying a good scare.

I enjoy this kind of scare because I’ve watched all the classic scary movies hundreds of times. I know what to expect. On the flipside, when I don’t expect a scare I truly am SCARED! Which leads me to the point of my post today. Homeowners, you never want to be caught off guard and petrified when it comes to your home. One of the ghastliest discoveries one can find in regards to one’s home is finding water damage.

Water penetration into the home can also allow mold and fungus growth. Think about most of the zombie movies you’ve watched. Someone has been exposed to some virus or plague. That person looks normal on the outside for a time. Eventually they give into said virus or plague and turn into one of the blood thrirsty undead. Water damage zombifies your home. It starts with rotting from the outside or inside.  The damage will spread all over if you don’t stop it.

Remember Mothra and Godzilla? Water damage and fungus act just like those Japanese science fiction monsters and trample around on your immune system making you and your family very sick.

Water damage and fungus can destroy wood.  Water and high moisture levels are also a breeding ground for wood destroying insects such as termites.

Horror Movies 101: You NEVER leave the group you’re in. Once you go and look for others or investigate on your own you’re a goner. Just like you never go it alone in a scary movie, in the world of owning your own home you HAVE to regularly inspect your home for harmful water penetration. If leaks are caught early, overall damage is reduced and so is the repair bill.  I inspected a home recently where I found an outside door to a deck that was suffering from wood rot at the door jambs near the threshold.  When I then checked in the crawl space underneath this door and moved the insulation I found the plywood sub-floor as well as the outer wood band and floor joists rotted through (see picture below).

This is a picture of your house becoming a zombie.

This is a picture of your house becoming a zombie. Horrifying!

Also, all the wood in this example was still very wet meaning that water was still coming through the door jambs and to the sub-floor. Because this was caught so late, the floor joist, band and part of the sub floor will have to be replaced.

Here are some key areas that should be inspected to prevent water penetration into the home:

  • Windows and doors: Check for leaks around sills, jambs and top drip edge
  • Roof: Check at all penetrations such as plumbing boots, vents and chimneys. Also, ensure that gutters are clean and that downspouts are moving water away from the foundation.
  • Foundation and exterior walls: Check siding, especially where it meets windows, doors, roof and corner boards. In the crawl space, check foundation walls for holes or cracks and move insulation from floors to check wood members near exterior doors and plumbing waste pipes. Check vapor barriers.

The job of a home is to keep the elements out. The job of the homeowner is to give their home the regular maintenance and inspection it needs be a healthy home. Think along the lines of the 80’s horror film Poltergeist. Remember how Diane Freeling got back her daughter, Carol Anne, back? It was Diane’s love for Carol Anne that was too strong for the evil wreaking havoc on the Freeling family. Give your home the love it deserves. The TLC you give your home by conducting routine maintenance may turn back the water damage and mold monsters that want to lie in wait to terrorize your wallet!