Most Canadians look forward to the spring thaw, but the arrival of warmer temperatures can often have a wet and damaging side effect: flooding. But it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, especially as warmer temps cause snow to melt in mass while also leading to rainier weather from up above. Before you know it, flooding is on the rise, and your home is at risk for water damage.
As you anticipate the blooming tulips and nesting robins, use the following tips to help strengthen your home’s fight against any spring moisture the season sends your way.
Here are 7 ways to prevent basement flooding or water damage to your home this spring:
- Relocate snow
The closer piles of snow are to your home, the easier it is for it to melt and make its way into your home. Clear snow away from around the foundation and move it to be at least two metres away from the exterior.
- Check gutters and downspouts
When debris, such as leaves, sticks, and dirt, gets trapped in gutters, it can block the passage of water from flowing freely off of roofs and away from the home. Clearing out debris from both gutters and downspouts can help to prevent water from seeping into attics, walls, and foundations. If necessary, also add downspout extensions to ensure water is draining at least two metres from the home’s foundation, down to the street or catch-basin.
- Inspect and mend foundation cracks
Water can get in more easily when there are cracks in the foundation. For minor repairs, fill cracks with a concrete patch. For bigger concerns, it’s best to bring in a professional to make sure your foundation is repaired in such a way that it acts as a waterproof barrier between the interior and exterior.
- Make sure the ground slopes away from your foundation
If weather permits, regrade landscaping surrounding your home to make sure water drains away from the home instead of toward it. If necessary, pull plant material and add more soil where needed. Clearly, this is likely a task to be undertaken once the ground is thawed but definitely to be done prior to next winter.
- Install and maintain sump pumps (if applicable)
Sump pumps help to send water away from the home in areas such as basements and below-grade rooms that tend to flood more easily. If you don’t already have one, consider installing a sump pump or investing in a more portable version. If you already have a sump pump, inspect it to make sure it is in good working order and is clear of debris.
- Cover window wells
Installing window well covers not only allows for natural light in below-ground rooms but also prevents melting snow and rain from making its way into the home.
- Home inspection
Bring in a skilled professional to investigate your home in more depth than you might feel confident doing on your own. A professional will be able to specify vulnerabilities where water damage could occur as well as provide recommendations on how to mediate any concerns; particularly if your basement feels or smells damp or you find dampness creeping in around your foundation.
The unfortunate truth is that water damage can happen no matter what measures you take to reinforce your home. In the event of flooding, equip your home with tools to help you quickly respond to any potential damage, including: a generator, a wet/dry vac, fans, contact information for water damage restoration service professionals in your area. Mould is an issue that many overlook, and can be a health hazard; sometimes, it’s the minor repairs such as caulking around your windows or doors that could have prevented the damage!