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April 2017

Avoid water damage from spring thaw

Spring is finally here! But springtime means spring thaw, and spring thaw means potential flooding that can cause serious damage to your home. There is some good news though—it's a lot easier to prevent water damage than to repair it. Here are some actions you can take to stop melting snow and ice from wreaking havoc on your house.


By definition, the purpose of your eavestroughs or gutters is to collect water from the roof and redirect it away from your foundation. Eavestroughs should be linked to a downspout to discharge rainwater a safe distance from your house. Make sure they're free of debris (ideally, always clean them out before winter sets in) and that you've got horizontal downspout extensions attached to them (at least 1.5 metres long). For help with this, just visit any reputable hardware store.


A good balcony is built with an incredibly slight slope—just enough to allow water to run off. If, instead, your balcony or terrace collects rainwater, it can cause cosmetic and structural damage over time. Here's a tip: apply a good quality sealant where the wall and balcony floor meet.


Ah, the French drain. Many of you reading this are probably still unclear about what it is, so here's a brief overview. Also known as a weeping tile, a French drain collects surplus groundwater and surface water and redirects it to the sewer system. If your home was built more than 50 years ago, it might not have a French drain.  If you do have one, a camera can be used to check the condition of your drain. And you'd better hope it's in good condition, because it's extremely expensive to replace!


As unusual as the name might seem, flashing is material used to weatherproof various parts of your home. Flashing is often made of sheet metal and protects the intersection of two opposing surfaces.  For example, it's commonly used where two different sections of the roof meet. Even though flashing is essential, it's often overlooked or poorly installed by builders who don't understand its purpose. If you need help determining the quality of your flashing, or figuring out whether you have any at all, call in a professional for assistance.


Usually, your yard will be sloped so that water discharges away from the house. That being said, sometimes landscape changes can cause the ground to retain water. Add or remove dirt if you need to, but make sure water never stagnates in your yard, especially near the foundations.


Our harsh winters really do a number on window sealing. With changes in temperature, windows can lose their flexibility and start to crack. The best way to prevent water from seeping in through the windows is to inspect the seals on windows before winter sets in and change them if needed.


Window wells

Window wells prevent water penetration through basement windows, particularly for windows that are less than least eight inches above grade. Make sure your window wells have a drain to redirect water away from your house. In the fall, clear your window wells of any leaves or debris.
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