River Springs Home Enemy #1

Water Drop Solid State Home Inspections

The following article appears in the River Springs January 2014 newspaper.

Lurking in our pristine and comfortable River Springs neighbourhood is a killer. It passes nearly undetected, typically arrives in the dark of winter, and it even lurks around on our roof tops. Of course I’m talking about water.

Water is the the #1 enemy of wood frame houses as it is one of the three key ingredients that causes our homes to deteriorate (rot). It also is a very sneaky material as it can seep into the smallest of cracks and cause major damages.

Water Risks from the Outside of our Homes

If you have lived more than a season in River Springs, you will have noticed we get some rain, and that is an understatement. Our climate gets an incredible amount of rain that our homes are expected to manage. As a home inspector, I’m looking at houses abilities to manage water well and while there are dozens of risk areas, here are the big ones:

Roof - Our coverings are designed to act as an umbrella to shed water away from our homes and into gutters to be directed away from the home.

• Walls - Our wall systems need to keep water away from the wood structure of our homes. Walls can fail where there are gaps in material or when we place our soil and flower beds against the exterior cladding allowing water to wick in from the soil.

• Ground - Water travelling along the ground or even water in the soil will try and push into our homes through any cracks. Making sure surface water always drains away from the structure

is key to preventing ground water from reaching our homes.

Water Risks from the Inside of our Homes

Water comes into our homes in two primary ways:

  1. Indoor Plumbing - We literally pipe this enemy into our homes to aid in our lifestyles for

cooking, cleaning, and drinking. Plumbing leaks that go undetected can result in expensive

water damages to the home.

Water Vapour - Time for some high-school physics. Air can suspend moisture as vapour

and warm air can suspend more moisture than cold air. So when we boil water or have a shower, we generate warm, moist air and when this warm moist air hits a cold surface, such as a window frame, the air cools and loses the ability to carry all the moisture. The extra moisture deposits as water which can cause expensive and often hidden damages.

Final Thoughts

Like with any enemy attack, we must put up a strong defence to prevent the enemy from winning. A good defence for our homes includes a complete roof covering, regular maintenance (paint/caulking/repairs), and watching for signs of weakness in our defences. It never ceases to amaze me how a $6 tube of caulking, and 15 minutes, could save so many home owners thousands of dollars in damages.

 By James Bell - Owner Solid State Inspections Inc.