Exterior home leaks can cost money, time, and energy if you don’t act fast! Leaks caused by exterior damage can cause wood rot, water damage to home’s interior, insect infestation, peeling paint, mold damage, and costly damage to roof and siding. Not keeping up with routine home maintenance can make your property highly susceptible to hurricane, tornado, and storm damage. Homeowners in areas like Sarasota, Longboat Key, Siesta Key, and other locations on the Florida Gulf coast should be prepared for whatever storm season should bring.
How to Can I Locate Exterior Home Leaks?
This article outlines common areas in a Florida home that can be damaged by storm damage or a result of poor home maintenance. The first step to repairing your home leak is identifying leak source. Next, investigate all the damage it has caused. If you didn’t oversee the construction of your home, now is the time to survey your property. Be sure your exterior is properly maintained and prepared to handle Florida’s rainy season. If you have an exterior leak, properly identifying the source of intrusion will help prevent mold, water, and structural damage to your home.
Here are common sources of exterior home leaks and some suggestions on identifying and repairing:
Roof – Items that penetrate roofs are common causes of roof leaks. As you are trying to identify the source of a leak, start by looking at the stains and tracking backward. Even on older roofs, it’s uncommon for a leak to be caused where there is only shingles. Chimneys, vents, and plumbing are common sources of roof leaks. Be sure to look several feet surrounding these areas.
If roof access is available, track down the leak by locating a water stain or mold to easily locate the leak. If a stain or residue isn’t visible, ask someone to assist in helping you find the leak by running hose water onto the roof. Let the hose run for a few minutes in one area so you can locate the leak from the inside. This process can take over an hour, depending on how large your roof is.
Once the leak is located, it’s time to repair the damage. Replace or repair roof shingles in close proximity to the leak to be sure the damage addressed. If the leak is from a plastic or metal plumbing vent boot, check it for cracks and broken seams. For example, if the rubber surrounding the pipe is torn, water may be getting into your home this way and running along the outside of the pipe. Repair the plumbing vent, as well as shingles surrounding the leak.
If you’ve determined your roof leak is from a broken or cracked roof vent, know that caulking the damage will not fix the problem for long. The damaged vents should be replaced, re-caulked, and surrounding shingles secured.
Windows or doors – If you suspect your exterior home leaks originate around a door or window, check for paint and caulk discoloration and swelling of the frame. These can be signs water is getting into your home. Wind-driven rain is a major cause of water getting into a home beyond roof leaks.
Exterior Walls – Beyond roof leaks, water can come into homes through cracks in siding and spaces between corner boards on exterior walls or areas where piping and wiring come through the exterior walls. At the location where you suspect a leak, investigate caulk for cracks or discoloration. Remove and replace all damaged caulk. Also, replace any missing siding and make sure pieces overlap the step flashing by 2 inches or more.
How to Prevent Water Damage Through Home Maintenance
Prevent leaks and avoid damage caused by water intrusion with regular home maintenance and thorough inspections. Here are some common areas of homes and tips on maintaining them.
Flashing – Flashings are the thin, metal strips found around windows, chimneys, doors, and roofs. They connect two different surfaces and prevent water from intruding. Install flashings everywhere they are needed and be sure to replace any flashings that are rusted.
Vents – Make sure all your vents have hoods, including attic vents, gable vents, exhaust vents, and clothes dryer vents. Vents should also have boots and an exhaust to the exterior.
Air Conditioners – Air conditioner drain pans should be properly sloped so no standing water is present. Check to be sure drain lines are clear and clean. If the air conditioner hasn’t been turned on in awhile, the overflow should be cleaned with compressed air or a water-bleach solution prior to first use.
Wood Siding and Sheathing – Wood siding should be free of water damage and at least eight inches between the wood and ground.
Attics – A great way to maintain your home’s attic is checking for air leaks and holes.
Expansion Joints – The material between pipes and bricks in a home are called expansion joints. Leaks can happen if these joints are not in good condition. Check for cracks in the joint sealant. If you see any cracks, remove the old sealant. A backer rod should be installed and new sealant should be filled in.
Landscaping – Tree branches should be kept at least 8 feet away from exterior surfaces. The distance will prevent insects from more easily accessing your roof. Vines can open cracks in siding, so vines should be kept off exterior walls.
Drywall – If you are replacing drywall, consider installing it slightly higher and cover the gap between the wall and baseboard with molding.
Exterior Walls – Properly maintain exterior walls by keeping them well painted and well sealed. Avoid placing items constantly against them, such as leaf piles, compost piles, and soil from landscaping.
Irrigation – Adjust the spray pattern of your sprinklers to avoid having water spraying directly on your home.
Humidity – Overall, the humidity in your home should be around 30-50%. If you see wet stains on ceilings and walls and condensation on windows, your home might be too humid. Lower your home’s humidity by using exhausts fans after a warm bath or shower. Also, when you are staying away from home for a while, turn your temperature on your air conditioner up, rather than off. Air conditioners help remove humidity from the air, something especially helpful for Sarasota and other Florida residents!
Found Exterior Home Leaks? Know What To Do Next
Your best line of defense when a leak has been spotted in your home is acting fast! Mold growth, damaged home interior, and structural damage can happen when action isn’t taken quickly. Especially if your home has been damaged by a storm, fire, or flooding, it’s important to minimize your expenses on repairs by acting fast.
If you aren’t equipped to repair your home, consider hiring leak detection and water repair specialists to handle clean-up, repair, and recovery. Leak repair specialists have access to testing meters and professional-grade fans and vacuums to ensure your home is repaired, dried out, and protected from future leaks.
If you have spotted water damage you believe is being caused from exterior home leaks, we encourage you to contact our highly trained staff at Accutech. We are trained and ready to tackle any water damage your home is facing, no matter how severe. Contact us today to learn more about how Accutech can repair your drywall, tile flooring, ceilings, paneling, wood flooring, and more. It’s our desire to see our customers happy, safe, and comfortable.