Reno Expert: Weather the Storm
by Jim Caruk
Keeping the water in your home in its rightful place
Water is essential for life. But too much of it can be a problem, particularly when it comes to the buildings we live in. Water leaks in your home can warp floors, cause walls and ceilings to buckle and, if undetected, can lead to potentially hazardous mould buildup, all of which can be very expensive to repair.
START AT THE TOP
When building or renovating a home, you should look for as many waterproof or water-resistant products as possible. Your roof is your home’s first line of defence, and nothing does a better, permanent job of keeping the water out than a metal roof. Full disclosure: I’m a brand ambassador for metal roof manufacturer Vicwest Building Products.
Water and drafts often sneak into homes around windows and doorframes where the old caulking has dried out and left gaps. Sealing the gaps with exterior grade caulking is a fairly easy task for any DIYer who has a ladder, a caulking gun and a free afternoon.
Rotted wood siding is another area where water can get in. Rather than replacing with wood, consider vinyl or metal siding, or a factory-finished composite product that’s designed to keep the water out for decades. While they’re at it, have your siding contractor install exterior house wrap and, ideally, rigid-foam insulation below the siding to help improve your home’s energy efficiency.
A leaky pipe inside the house can cause major problems. Find out fast by installing leak detectors such as the FloodMaster system.
Visit reliancedetection.com for more details.
CAPTION: Photography courtesy of Reliance Detection
Waterproofing a basement is best done from the outside, by excavating around the entire perimeter and adding an impermeable barrier against the foundation. Unfortunately, with many homes there just isn’t enough room to get the equipment in to do the work. The solution in that case is to add the waterproofing material on the inside, and have it connected to a sump pump that ejects any water that does get in.
Water in the basement is bad, but sewage in the basement is even worse. A backflow valve is a fairly simple piece of insurance that prevents sewage backups from entering your home. These boxes have a one-way valve that lets the waste water flow out of your home and to the city sewer system, but closes if a blockage tries to force liquids back in. Many municipalities offer a rebate on part of the cost of installing a backflow valve.
For complete peace of mind, it’s worth investing in a leak detection device. These systems have sensors that detect water pooling on the ground and set off an alarm. Some “smart” systems will even text or email you that there’s a problem if you’re not at home. For more on those, see “Home Sweet Automated Home.”
|Jim Caruk, Renovation Editor
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