Although precipitation can fall at any time of the year, Spring in particular is a time of heavy, pounding rains. Flooding is obviously one threat to your home during these weather events, but it’s not the only one. A combination of long-lasting rain, lashing winds and other forces can really put a beating on the home and can cause a handful of insidious—but ultimately preventable—issues as well.
Here’s a short guide to prepping your home for the heavy rains ahead.
Ready Your Roof
Your roof is your first and best line of defense against the elements, rain in particular. Age, weathering, improper installation or faulty flashing are all potential ways that heavy rain can penetrate these defenses. To ensure that your roof is up to the task, take the following steps.
Conduct a ground level roof inspection. Using a pair of binoculars, stand away from the roof to get a good view and look for shrinking or curling shingles as well as shingles that are slipping out of place. Take a look at flashing as well.
Conduct a rooftop inspection. This will require a ladder and potentially some sort of anchor + rope system. If your roof is steeply pitched, consider a professional for this step. Once on the roof, you’ll have a better chance of getting a thorough inspection of the flashing. You’ll also have a chance to inspect gutters, plumbing boots, satellite dish installations, etc.
Additional roofing resources to consider:
While you’re up there on the roof, take some time to inspect the gutters. You should be cleaning these routinely, particularly after the fall. Leaves and other debris can clog up gutters and downspouts, causing a whole mess of rain-related issues. Improperly functioning gutters will fail to move water away from the home and the home’s foundations, which can lead to water infiltration at the foundation level.
Clearing debris is step one. You’ll also want to check all the seams and make repairs if necessary. Ensure that the gutters themselves are properly affixed to the home and won’t easily tear away in high winds.
Lastly, make sure that all downspouts are in proper working order and are directing rain water away from the foundation of the home.
Additional gutter inspection and repair resources:
Shore Up Siding
Siding plays a key role in keeping out the rain. But siding—like roofing—doesn’t last forever. Also, heavy winds and horizontal rains can drive water up under the siding, so it’s important to take a few steps to make sure this major player in the home’s defenses is up to the task.
Once or twice a year you should conduct a siding inspection. You can do it at the same time you inspect your roof. Wood siding can be cleaned and repainted to keep it looking nice and new and to help it repel the water. Cedar shakes may need replacing and should be done properly, with galvanized or unfinished nails. Make sure to remove any pine needles, twigs or other debris that could interfere with proper rain runoff during a storm. Here’s a helpful How To on repairing wood shingles that have become damaged over time.
Stucco is another siding option that won’t last forever. Over time it can become cracked or chipped, creating a potential entry point for rains. Here’s a guide to repairing cracked or chipped stucco on your home. It’s a two-day project that requires a few tools and materials, but you don’t need to be a professional contractor to get it done right.
Natural wood decks and porches will also need a little routine maintenance and upkeep if they are to stand up to seasonal heavy rains. First, inspect the deck for signs of wood rot. Wood rot is the result of a fungus feeding on moist wood. As the fungus feeds, the fibers of the wood break down and the wood decomposes. Wood rot on a deck or porch can be a serious hazard, so inspect potential trouble spots, like the underside of the structure, where it fastens to the house and areas near downspouts.
Stains and sealers are designed to keep moisture from rotting your wood deck or porch, and most need to reapplied every year or two. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations for reapplication, re-stain or re-seal or deck or porch as necessary.
Additional deck protection resources to consider: