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Leak-proofing Your Home

When it comes to leak proofing your home, you have one primary goal in mind: keep water out so you don’t incur any structural damage. Follow these tips to thoroughly leak proof your home so water stays outside or confined to the plumbing where it belongs.

Protect Pipes

Keep your pipes from freezing and bursting with these tips:

  • Prepare for winter: This includes disconnecting the garden hose and blowing out your sprinkler system before a deep freeze hits.
  • Wrap pipes with heat tape and insulation: The tape heats up with a built-in thermostat. If you plan to also add insulation to the pipes, install the heat tape first. Know that only some heat tapes can be used with insulation.
  • Seal air leaks: Keep frigid air out of areas where water pipes run by adding insulation and sealing air leaks in the wall and ceiling.
  • Keep pipes warm: On frigid nights, keep the thermostat set to at least 60 degrees. Consider running a trickle of warm water from a few faucets over night. The cost of running a little water is far less than repairing a burst pipe and the water damage it causes.
  • Prepare for vacations: If you’re traveling during the winter, take steps to prevent the pipes from freezing while you’re gone. To do this, shut off the main water supply and open a faucet until the water stops running. Keep the thermostat to 55 degrees or higher and open cupboard doors to let warm air circulate around the pipes there.

Clean the Gutters?

Yes! Leaves, branches and pine needles clog the downspout and prevent the gutters from draining runoff from the roof and away from your home. The result may be foundation problems and ice dams on your roof.

Plan to clean the gutters twice a year – once in the fall and again in the spring – with these tips:

  • Choose a sturdy ladder: Use a fiberglass or aluminum four-legged ladder for a one-story home and a sturdy extension ladder for a two-story home. Find one with a shelf you can set a bucket on to collect debris from the gutter
  • Rake the roof: Remove debris from the shingles with a special roof rake.
  • Scoop out debris: Wearing work gloves and safety goggles, scoop debris from the gutters with a plastic trowel. Place the debris in the bucket.
  • Run water into the gutter: Spray down the gutter with a garden hose to wash small debris down the downspout. If water pools in the gutter, there’s a clog in the downspout. Tapping it should be enough to loosen the clog.

Direct Runoff Away from the Home

If your property is prone to flooding, try these tips:

  • Slope the soil: Once a year, rebuild the slope around your home by adding 2 to 3 inches of crushed stone or topsoil around the foundation.
  • Dig a trench or dry well: Dig a U-shaped trench or cylindrical well in the lowest part of your property. A trench should be 3 to 4 feet deep and 2 to 3 feet across. A well should be 3 to 4 feet in diameter and 5 to 6 feet deep. Line the walls of your trench or well with fabric and fill it with gravel.

Seal Windows and Doors

Stormy conditions can send rain beating against the side of your home. Prevent windows and doors from leaking water inside by sealing them:

  • Apply caulk: You should apply this flexible substance both on the interior and exterior of the window. Fill any seams between stationary joints that could allow water to seep inside. Make sure you choose caulk rated for your intended purpose, especially for the portion you apply to the exterior.
  • Apply weatherstripping: If windows and doors don’t close tightly, seal them with weatherstripping. This rubbery material has an adhesive backing so it can stick to the window frame or door jamb and help moveable joints seal tightly.

Fill in Openings in the Foundation

Even the smallest cracks in the foundation can let water infiltrate your home. Seal these cracks to leak proof your home:

  • Address small cracks: For any cracks less than one-quarter-inch wide, seal them with caulk. Fill cracks closer to half an inch wide with foam backer rod first, and then seal them with tripolymer sealant.
  • Address large gaps: Hand-pack hydraulic cement into larger gaps from both inside and outside your home. Make sure you wear rubber gloves to prevent chemical burns. Work quickly because hydraulic cement sets up quickly.

If leaks or flooding occurs, please contact Rainbow International®. We specialize in helping homeowners recover from water damage if the home has been flooded by burst pipes or water intrusion from outside.