As the state of Florida heads into the most active part of the Atlantic hurricane season – August, September, and early October – most Floridians find themselves watching the news more often or checking their weather apps for the latest tropical info. This is the time of year when terms like “projected path,” “cone of probability,” and “spaghetti model” take on greater significance than at other times of the year.
When people think about hurricane-related damage to their homes, they imagine uprooted trees falling on the house or high winds damaging the roof. And while those are a cause for concern, an often-overlooked danger is all the rain a hurricane or tropical storm can bring. When all that water is combined with the high winds of a slow-moving storm, large amounts of water can get into your house through the soffits or openings that appear when roof shingles are damaged or blown away.
While soffits and roof damage are the most likely weak spots for a water intrusion event, there are plenty of other potential entry points. For some of them, there are steps a homeowner can take to reduce the risk and minimize the damage. And because it only takes about 24 hours for dangerous mold to grow after the water has entered the home, it’s worth taking some precautionary steps.
Check for gaps caused by loose stucco or mortar around hose bibs
Over long periods, the material around your hose bibs can crack and crumble away because it expands and contracts with the temperature. This is the same process that causes cracks in sidewalks, driveways, and asphalt. And it doesn’t take a huge opening to let water in, primarily if the wind drives the rain against that side of the house. It’s a relatively easy DIY project to fill those gaps with caulk or a cement stucco repair product available at any home improvement store.
Inspect the exterior paint if it’s more than a few years old
Even the best paint doesn’t last forever, and it can become more penetrable as it deteriorates. That means rainwater can soak through the paint and into the walls without you realizing it. The best way to check is to run your fingers along the house’s exterior when it’s dry and see if it leaves a chalky substance on your fingertips. If it does, you may be due for a new paint job.
Clean and patch gutters and downspouts if needed
At some point before a major storm, do a perimeter check of your home while it’s raining and see if water is spilling over the sides of the gutters or leaking through the seams, especially at the corners. You can also look at the ground and see where clear signs are showing where a lot of water is hitting, such as the absence of grass. If you’re uncomfortable getting up on your roof or on a ladder, find a professional gutter cleaning and repair company to service them safely.
Check where the dirt meets the wall all around your home
It’s important that the dirt slope away from the house’s exterior walls so that water doesn’t pool up against the house during heavy rain. If the water drains toward the house, it has nowhere to run off and sits there until it evaporates. Over time, that water will find even the smallest hole or crack and work through the concrete, expanding the opening as it does. During a tropical storm or hurricane, the wind and high volume of water intensify the problem.
At Healthy Home Environmental Services, we can comprehensively inspect your home after the storm has passed if you have any concerns about water intrusion. Also, we frequently work with the homeowner’s public adjuster or attorney, supporting them in dealing with your insurance company. We will then refer you to a quality mold remediation company if necessary.
For more information about the services we provide at Healthy Home Environmental Services or to make an appointment, please call 407-395-4549 or request more information on our website.