In the Carolina’s, we’re experiencing the perfect storm to create home repair issues. Last year’s wet snowy winter was followed by an unseasonably rainy spring and summer. This fall and winter are forecast to be even more extreme. What does all of this moisture do to your home? If not properly addressed, it can escalate minor home repair issues into major home maintenance problems.
Here’s why. When water finds a way to get under your home’s skin – either through dried out caulk, rotted sills, damaged window or door framing, exposed seams, or more – it can not only damage your home’s exterior; it can also seep into your home’s structure. When that water then freezes during periods of extreme cold, it expands, causing whatever point of weakness allowed it to gain entry to get worse. This new, wider gap permits even more water to penetrate the weak spot during the next rain shower. To effectively combat this cycle, you need to retain a licensed professional home repair contractor who will look beneath the surface issue to repair underlying weaknesses. Here are a few of the most common problem areas we see in Charlotte homes:
Autumn leaves clogging your gutters can allow rain to overflow these vital channels, eventually causing water damage to surrounding wood. If you notice gutters that are pulling away from your home, there may be water damage in the fascia that supports them.
Windows and doors
If you feel drafts or see water leaks near windows or doors, dried out, chipping caulk is the first thing to check. A faulty seal allows leaks and also reduces your home’s energy efficiency. Rotted wood and trim around windows and doors is another place where water leaks in and heated or cooled air seeps out.
Areas where paint has peeled away are prime places for water damage. If no damage has yet occurred, prime and paint those spots. If there is visible rot, call in a professional to properly repair the damage and ensure that the underlying structure remains intact.
Cracks in brick or stucco or standing water
Look for settling cracks in brick veneer and stucco that may indicate the beginnings of a foundation issue. Check your crawl space for standing water and/or your foundation for water damage. Foundation issues can be complex and are always best left to trusted professionals.
If you notice these tell-take spots on ceilings or in the attic, they could be indicating shingle or flashing problems. On an interior ceiling, they can be your first indication of leaking pipes or wet insulation issues that need to be addressed.
Finally, it just makes sense to have an HVAC specialist check your unit before winter hits to avoid any chilling surprises. An easy preventative measure you can tackle is changing air filters. It will help your HVAC work more efficiently and extend its life. (Follow manufacturer’s recommendations on changing filters monthly, every 3 months, quarterly, or annually.)