06 Apr Seattle Property Management: Protecting Homes From Water Damage
Seattle is beloved for its mild winters, big trees, and its proximity to the ocean, but with all of those beloved attributes comes one that people aren’t as fond of: rain. High rainfall means that your rental properties have a higher probability of water damage. Left unchecked, water can be your home’s worst enemy. As Seattle emerges from the rainy season, it’s time to examine your properties for signs of water damage.
Outside the Home: Roofs, Gutters, and Drains
One of your primary lines of defense against moisture damage is your exterior drainage system. This includes your roof, gutters, and the drains that move water off the roof and gutters and away from your home. Inspect your roof before and after the rainy season and after winter storms that may have caused debris to fall and lead to roof damage. Look for warped shingles, loose roofing, or pools of water on the roof. Make sure that gutters are clean. According to Angie’s List, “from foundation damage to roof leaks, clogged gutters can lead to expensive repairs when left untreated.” If they’ve been clogged all winter and it has been icy, they may have caused a water backup onto the roof, leading to ice damage under the roofing. Look at where your drains lead: if they empty onto the lawn, does this water flow right back to the home’s foundation, causing potential leaks?
Outside the Home: Water Management in the Landscape
In your garden landscape, you need to examine the lawn and soil to see if there are signs of poor water management that could lead water back into the home. An eroded area under the gutters could mean that the gutters have overflowed, leading water to pool next to the siding and foundation. A large puddle in the yard may not seem to be a problem, but if it’s near a structure, it could lead to shifting soil that may even cause the foundation to shift and crack over time. According to SFGate’s Homeguides, “a saturated yard can eventually cause water to build back up around the foundation of the home, rendering your other work irrelevant.”
Inside the Home: Water Stains and Mold
Pay special attention to the places in your home where the weather and the walls meet. Move from the basement upward, looking for water stains and signs of mold. Give basement rooms the smell test, sniffing for dank smells that could indicate mold or mildew. Windows may also accumulate mold, especially if windows are inadequately weatherproofed. Another area that tends to accumulate mold is the attic, where you should check for damp or moldy insulation and according to Do It Yourself, “pay special attention to the valleys where 2 roof planes come together, the flashing where the roof meets the walls, and the flashing around roof vents and chimneys.”
Inside the Home: Structural Damage
Another sign of water is the damage that it causes to walls and floors, often long after the initial water is gone. Look for warping and buckling of floors and cracks in walls that could indicate past seeping of water. Water damage from interior pipes can cause similar signs, and while the water leak may have been fixed, keep an eye out for ongoing small leaks by inspecting the interior walls for water damage as well.
When you’re involved in Seattle property management, you must keep on top of property maintenance, particularly the challenges that heavy rainfall and flooding can bring to your properties. Lori Gill and Associates can support you in achieving your goal of a rigorous maintenance and inspection regime. Contact us today to see how we can help you manage your properties.