The only thing more damaging to your home than fire is water. Water damage can be truly disastrous. Left unchecked, even a slow leak will rot drywall and studs, create mold, and eventually weaken major structural elements like joists and beams.

Much water damage results from easily curable flaws that homeowners can do on their own. Here are some simple repairs you can make to avoid water damage:

Properly Grade the Soil Around Your Home

The soil directly surrounding the foundation of your home should be at a 30-degree angle, encouraging water to flow away. Ground that declines toward the house will result in pooled water, which can enter the foundation at that point or seep downward and enter through the basement floor.

Simply pack the soil down and rake it so it ramps away from the foundation; picture a small ball being placed at the base of the foundation that would slowly roll away from the home. This grading effect should be at least a foot long.

Attend to the Downspouts

Make sure your downspouts are cleared at least twice per year — or more often if you have a lot of trees near your home that drop leaves onto the roof and downspouts causing clogging. Also, clear the base of the downspouts of debris to ensure they can carry water away from the foundation. These downspouts should be at least 2 feet away from the foundation.

Fix Cracked or Missing Caulk

Walk around your home’s exterior to look for cracked or missing caulk around doors and windows. Pay special attention to the top of the window casing where water can easily accumulate.

Inside, peel off and replace any cracked caulk around bathtubs, showers and sinks. Water can easily seep into these cracks and cause drywall damage and eventually mold.

Inspect Your Roof and Attic

Roof leaks can go undetected for years and cause significant damage. Take a pair of binoculars and look for missing/peeling shingles.

Inside your home, check your attic for mold or water damage and to ensure your bathroom fans are properly venting to the exterior. You don’t have to see any daylight in your attic to have a problem.

Lastly, even if you have a new roof, flashing only lasts 10-15 years whereas the rest of the new roof can last much longer. Have your flashing inspected professionally and replaced if needed.

Lynn Cooper is a licensed REALTOR in Virginia with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Whether buying or selling, Lynn is 100% committed to her clients before, during, and after the transaction. Connect with Lynn at 202-489-7894, [email protected] or @lynncooperrealestate.

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