The Pacific Northwest sees some of the highest annual rainfall levels in the country. For homeowners in areas like Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, this is a reason for concern. Of course, Pacific Northwesterners aren’t afraid of a little rain, but a high amount of precipitation raises specific needs for home maintenance. Are you prepared?
Fortunately, there are simple, routine steps you can take to prevent leaks, flooding and water damage in your home. We recommend following a home maintenance checklist to prevent these issues. If you follow a maintenance plan regularly, you’ll also be more able to identify issues before they become big problems.
Most weather-related damage happens to the exterior of homes. Your maintenance tasks will fluctuate with the seasons, but here are a few areas to keep an eye on:
Rain, snow, wind, and ice can do a number on your roof. Inspect your roof as weather conditions allow. Look for any loose, cracked, or missing shingles. Also, remove any moss, leaves, and small branches.
Flat roofs — as opposed to pitched roofs — can be a little trickier to manage. With enough precipitation, flat roofs are vulnerable to sagging spots, which can lead to leaks, mold, and other water damage. You may want to consider waterproofing your flat roof to prevent these costly problems.
Check the drainage near the foundation of your home. Puddles should not accumulate around your home for more than 24 hours.
Also, be sure to check your foundation for any cracks. Cracks and gaps can cause moisture to enter your home, which can lead to leaks and mold. Small cracks can be filled with caulk, but larger cracks need professional treatment.
In addition to foundation crack repair, you can also take proactive steps to seal and waterproof your foundation to prevent future problems.
There’s nothing like a quiet evening on your backyard deck or patio in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Make sure you do your due diligence to protect your outdoor living spaces.
Inspect your deck for any signs of wood rot or other damage. Keep an eye out for cracks on your patio too. These types of damage can put your property at risk for more serious water damage.
Remember, certain types of decks and patios can be waterproofed too.
Paint and siding are not only for curb appeal. These materials also work to protect your home from the elements. They even help prevent mold and rot!
Take a look at the paint and siding on your home. You may be able to get away with a quick touch-up job. For more serious peeling, pick a warm and dry weekend to give your home a fresh coat of paint.
It’s always a good practice as a homeowner to keep your gutters clean. Clogged gutters can cause major problems down the road. Remove leaves and other debris from your gutters to keep them working properly.
Also, make sure your downspouts are connected to your gutters and that all sections are fastened together tightly. That way, water can flow through them easily and away from your home.
Weather damage is not limited to the exterior of your house. Flooding, leaks, and water damage can also find their way into the interior of your house too.
Many homeowners use their basements to store valuable belongings without thinking about the risks. Basements are vulnerable to rodents, insects, and other pests which are able to enter through the smallest of openings. Keep an eye out for any signs of these invaders.
Basements are also a prime location for flooding, leaks, and other water damage. Check for dampness along the floor and walls. Also look for gray or black blotches, which could be mold. If you notice signs of moisture, you may need a better ventilation system or even a dehumidifier.
Don’t forget to make sure your sump pump is in good working order. It’s your best line of defense against flooding. You can always waterproof your basement too.
Crawl spaces and attics are regularly neglected by homeowners. That makes them the perfect spots for unknown leaks to occur.
Check your crawl space for cracks in the foundation, rusting metal anchors, and cold joints. Any sign of moisture is a sign of trouble. Moisture in your crawlspace can cause water damage to the structure of your home as well as mold and mildew problems.
The key is regular inspections, good drainage design, and crawlspace waterproofing.
Fortunately, winters are pretty mild in Portland and Vancouver, but that’s no excuse to neglect your furnace, forced air heating, or other HVAC system. Check out Energy Star’s guide to know what to look for when inspecting your heating system.
If you snuggle up to a fireplace during the winter, make sure to clean out any leftover ashes or debris. Also, take a close look at your chimney before you light your first fire of the season. There could be a creature or two nested up there without your knowledge.
Although not related to Pacific Northwest weather, if you only do one thing on this checklist, make sure your fire alarms and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Replace all the batteries just to be safe.
Owning a house is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of responsibility. There’s no landlord to call when something breaks; it’s just you!
We recommend following a systematic maintenance checklist to help things run smoothly. Instead of letting your housework pile up, just take it month by month, season by season, and work through things one step at a time.
What are you doing this weekend? Pick one or two things from this list to get started. Once you cross a couple items off the list, things will get easier as you build momentum.
If you need some help with your basement, crawlspace, deck, patio, roof, or foundation, Rock Solid Waterproofing is here for you. Contact us today with your questions and concerns about Portland home maintenance.