HOMEWORX – Invest In Your Home By Protecting It From Leaks and Floods – By Mark Wexler
Properties across the GTA are increasing in value, and bidding wars are breaking out over a limited number of desirable detached and semi-detached homes. As a result, more people are renovating their current homes as they look for ways to maximize their living space. They’re upgrading rather than relocating because even if their house has appreciated in value, who is to say they’ll beat out the competition in Toronto to land their next dream home, anyway? But those looking to build on their investment rather than move might also need to budget for maintenance—or preventative maintenance. After all, spring is upon us, and it is not only a time of hot real estate activity. With the warmer weather comes rain, and many homes suffer basement leaks, floods, and backups. Whether you’re living in a post-war bungalow or newer subdivision, virtually all foundations have hairline cracks. Sometimes these are invisible to the naked eye. Maybe you just haven’t noticed a crack, or it could even be too far below the surface to see. To make matters worse, homes older than 60 years typically don’t have weeping tile or sump pumps. In newer homes, water drains through the gravel and the dirt near the foundation and travels into the weeping tile. (These aren’t actually tiles, they are accordion-style hoses wrapped with cloth, and if water flows through these towards the house, it’s led to the sump pump which forces out away from the house.) For lack of sump pumps and weeping tiles, you can try to waterproof your perimeter. But, if you still have water trickling towards it, in a number of years it’ll make its way into your basement again. The best way to truly protect your basement is by diversion. Because water will naturally flow to the lowest point, it’s important to ensure that doesn’t happen to be your basement. In 75 per cent of the cases I’ve come across, preventative measures have been needed, and water diversion was the immediate cure. Undertaking seasonal inspections of your eaves and downspouts is a good place to start. If they’re clogged up, they won’t divert water away from your house like they’re supposed to. Instead, water will flow right over them and seep into your foundation. Often, homes simply don’t have enough downspouts or extensions on their downspouts. Although some homeowners don’t like the look of these extensions, diverting water away from the house is paramount—far more important than aesthetics. The good news is you can add a plastic extender to your home by yourself, making this a cost effective DIY fix. Another common cause of foundation leaks is the grading around some homes. From time to time, due to poor grading, water flows directly back to a home. A landscaper can re-grade your property to direct water away from the foundation. Driveway/foundation or walkway caulking can help as well. Don’t wait for your basement to be submerged in three feet of water. Try these preventative measures today, so it doesn’t cost you later.