Water: A home’s Greatest Enemy
Sure, there are fires and earthquakes, but in practical terms, water is the greatest enemy that your home faces on a daily basis. Water, or more specifically moisture, can bring a home to it’s knees. I have seen it time and time again! The pic is from a home in Los Altos. I mentioned it in my report with a recommendation that a more invasive inspection by a specialist be performed. The buyers wanted the home badly and decided to go ahead with the sale regardless. Upon opening the wall to install a corner window, they were shocked to find significant damage to the interior of the wall, including a wide area of black mold. Water had gotten behind the siding in this area and over the years had practically destroyed that section of the wall. The buyers told me that for them it really wasn’t an issue, as they would have purchased the home regardless.
The best defense you have against water intrusion in your home is keeping your roof in good shape and the gutters and downspouts clean. Using downspout extensions during the rainy season will aid in directing water away from the home. Any areas of the soil or hardscapes that surround your home should be slightly sloped down and away to prevent water from ponding against the home. Water that is allowed to pond against the home can oversaturate soils, which can lead to reduced support of the foundation footings.
Another area where water intrusion can be an issue is the siding of your home. Gaps and cracks in the siding and trim should be inspected annually and patched as needed. It is never advisable to caulk the bottom edges of the siding, trim, or windows, as any water that does get behind the cladding needs a way to escape and not become trapped. Keeping the bottom edges open will help provide a path for this water to escape.
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