Unfortunately, your house is not waterproof… it’s splash proof. Once you take this into consideration, it’s easier to identify all the sources of water penetration and damage to your home. Let’s discuss!
Shingled roofs are only splash proof. If shingles are missing or old, or water is able to dam up (frozen or clogged eaves), water will find its way into your home. Flat roofs are designed to be ‘waterproof’ but if scuppers/drains are clogged and the roof holds a lot of water for a sustained period of time, it will likely leak. Other things to watch out for with flat roofs are small punctures from fallen items, smokers butts, and high heels (if used as a deck).
Any below grade windows are extremely susceptible to leaking if there isn’t proper drainage around them. Window wells are designed to drain down to a weeping tile drainage system around your foundation. Often, leaves build up and degrade to create a thick layer of soil that dams the water up against windows. Same situation happens with basement walkout doors that don’t have an exterior floor drain or don’t have stairwells that are covered.
Bay windows are susceptible to small leaks where water flows down the brick walls inside and out and finds poorly designed systems.
Heavy rainstorms will help identify any missing caulking around windows and doors.
A proper foundation drainage system has water flowing into a drainage system, sump pump and away from the home along positive grading. Anytime you see pooling water against or near your home, it’s likely a matter of time before it finds its way into your basement.
Modern foundation drainage flows into a oil drum sized reservoir that has an automatic pump that ejects the water outside, ideally at a safe distance from the home. These pumps can fail over time or lose power in a thunderstorm. If you have an active sump pump, consider a secondary pump and battery backup.
PLUMBING (SUPPLY AND WASTE)
Your home has a distribution system of pressurized water. Pipes can leak when punctured by nails or drills, freezing temperatures, wear and tear, or fittings and faucets are adjusted or jarred. Don’t lose sleep at night if you’re keeping your house above zero degrees Celsius and cautious when puncturing your walls.
Draining or waste plumbing can clog with things that don’t belong in a drain such as roots from a nearby tree, children’s toys, feminine products, wet naps, or hair (pet or human). Once fully clogged, water will present at the lowest point, often a floor drain or toilet. Be extremely selective with what you put down the drains.
Think dishwashers, washing machines, fridges with ice/water dispensers and bidet attachments on toilets. These devices can fail and the plumbing connections to and from them can disconnect causing floods and excessive water damage where there isn’t a floor drain.