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Blog Home Maintenance Water Can Be A Home's Worst Enemy
Water Can Be A Home's Worst Enemy
Home Maintenance
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While out on a home inspection in Carlsbad the other day, I was doing my typical rounds going around the exterior of the home identifying deficiencies and problems with the structure that primarily had to do with the lot topography. The potential home buyer was with me all the while and couldn't help but notice that all the issues seem to have a common root cause. Water. It struck him as odd that this substance, upon which we all depend, can be the source of such destruction within a home.
This home had significant stucco damage around the bottom 12 inches of the home and was especially bad at the rear of the property nearest the hillside that unfortunately sloped towards the house. So I thought I'd write a quick blog post to identify some of the more common areas were water can be a nuisance when it comes to the maintenance and upkeep of your home, and at the same time provide some tips and techniques to help prevent damage from this merciless enemy.

Water and Concrete are a Dangerous mix

Ausbl├╝hungen
It is important to understand the concrete is very porous by nature and will readily absorb moisture if given the opportunity. When water absorbs into concrete, it travels upward by capillary motion and once it reaches the surface, evaporates leaving behind salts and various minerals that it has leached out of the concrete. Some of these minerals are required for concrete to remain solid and structurally sound. When minerals such as lime are leached from concrete, the concrete can become brittle and weak.

 

Water in Expansive Soil

Soil material containing Sand, silt, clay
Expansive soil is all too common in San Diego and I would venture to guess that the majority of homes in this region sit atop this very unstable material. Expansive soil is made up largely of clay in Southern California, and when moisture absorbs into the soil it swells and expands. This can have disastrous consequences if the soil beneath your foundation wall or under the slab in your home is of the expensive type because moisture can cause foundation walls to heave and crack and it can also damage foundation slabs. It is well-known and common that homes in San Diego that were built in the 50s and 60s will have cracks in their interior plaster that will opening close with the season. There's very little that you can do about it. It's a force in nature that we just can't control.

Water In Wood

Wood-Window-Box-Rot-FWB
Moisture in wood brings about a whole host of unfortunate circumstances most of which you would be better off to avoid altogether. Termites thrive in moist wood as does fungus, which can be very destructive to wood in its own right. Water is considered a "universal solvent" and given the proper amount of time can dissolve just about anything. Consider a wood fence post that is placed in direct contact with moist soil. This wood material will begin to decay almost immediately and after a short time, maybe even as early as one year will need to be replaced. Pressure-treated wood that has a chemical preservative added to the wood fares a little better. It may last 3 to 4 years before requiring replacement.

 

Identifying and Fixing the Problem

The solution in most cases is deliciously easy. Head down to Home Depot and purchase some rain gutters and install them on your home at the bottom of all of your sloped roof sections. Pay attention to how you will be installing the downspouts. It is recommended that they discharge at least 3 feet from your home's foundation. Now look at your lot in general. Does the ground slope away from the home in all directions? If not, you may want to get out the shovel and adjust the soil accordingly. Now if you have a hill in the backyard that slopes toward your home, you may want to hire a contractor to install a "French Drain" at the base of the hillside to direct ground water around and away from your home.

Following these simple steps can significantly reduce the impact of ground water around your home. We would be happy to hear from you if you have other suggestions on how to control water around your residence. Drop us a note, call, or add a comment below.

 

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Darin Redding
Written on Thursday, 30 June 2011 22:23 by Darin Redding

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Last Updated on Thursday, 30 June 2011 23:17
 

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