With the heavy rain we are expecting in the next few days, you’ll have a good chance to observe how water is interacting with the exterior of your home. The trick is to remember when you are both home and it is light outside. I find a location-based reminder on my phone to work well!
One of my favorite home inspectors refers to paint as the most important water proofing substance that comes in a wide variety of colors! While many of us think of paint as something decorative, in reality is serves an incredibly important purpose – keeping the (most likely wood or stucco) exterior of your home from getting wet. The old saying “A stitch in time saves nine” is a concise summary of the value of keeping your home’s exterior paint in water-tight condition.
Caulk works hand in hand with the above-mentioned paint at keeping your home’s exterior sealed from water. It’s particularly handy for crevices, corners, and other areas prone to small gaps. There are a wide variety of caulks available, so consult with your favorite local handy-person for advice on which caulk is best for your particular building type.
Walk around your property with your eyes on the foundation. If, like most homes in San Francisco, your home is not fully detached then depending on when your home was built you may be able to observe your foundation from both the interior and exterior at the front and rear of your property, as well as along the sides from the interior. Obviously, where walls are finished it is impractical to open them, in which case keep your eyes peeled for any stains or soft spots along the walls. For exposed foundation, look for cracks and holes. Larger cracks or holes probably warrant further inspection and repair to keep water away from the interior of your building.
Leaves and blowing debris can easily clog the gutters if your home has them. If you aren’t comfortable checking them yourselves, there are plenty of professionals for hire that will do it for you. Almost every San Francisco home has some type of drain and/or drain pipe and dirt and plastic bits that often accumulate over the dry season will build up and can block the drains. Sweep or hose them out. Then take a few moments to look at any drain pipes, making sure that they are connected in a flowing manner and that water will flow as intended and not become blocked, obstructed, or otherwise doing something that might allow rain water to backup in to your home.
If your roof is accessible, give it a visual inspection for any missing or worn-out roofing materials, as well as any low areas that will create opportunities for pooling on a flat San Francisco roof. The job of a good roof is to keep water out and redirect water away and off of the building. If your home has an accessible attic, check for signs of water penetration under the roof after it rains.
What are your favorite tips for keeping your SF home warm and dry?