Water damage is an ongoing concern for homeowners in the Southeast. Not only can heavy water flow wash away foundational elements and threaten the structural integrity of the home, but smaller, more insidious infiltration can lead to mold and rot buildup that causes the home to deteriorate over time. As a result, the following breakdown looks at 5 home renovations that Florida residents can use for preventing water damage.
In the moist Florida climate, water damage is a threat to mar any area of the home. However, nowhere does water damage have more potential to be catastrophic than in the below-grade areas of a building. Poorly ventilated below-grade areas can be a breeding ground for mold and rot. In addition, porous concrete foundations can absorb water, leading to swelling, cracking, and shifting that can be difficult and expensive to repair.
Therefore, it is critical that Florida homes take steps for waterproofing their foundation walls. A waterproof foundation will consist of an exterior membrane that guides water absorbed from the soil down to a drainage board and away from the foundation. Combined with an adequate above-grade drainage and piping system, foundation waterproofing can help ensure that water never reaches below-grade areas of your home, enhancing structural integrity for years to come.
The heavy rainfall and powerful winds to which Florida is no stranger will put a home’s building envelope to the test. As a result, it is only natural for some cracks to appear over time. Nowhere are these cracks more likely to rear their head than in transitional areas of the home, such as where window or door frames meet the walls.
While caulking or weatherstripping tape may suffice for sealing off the more visible cracks in these transitional areas, water may still be able to flow through hard-to-reach areas. In this scenario, liquid window flashing is the best choice for keeping your home watertight. Fluid-applied flashing provides continuous coverage around windows, doors, and wall/ceiling penetrations, flowing into every crevice and providing a smooth, continuous barrier through which water has no chance of passing.
While applying window flashing is an effective means of sealing your home against moisture, there may come a time when your windows simply become too degraded to be saved by any type of sealant. Whether it be broken seals, cracked glass, or UV-damaged frames, the forces of nature in Florida are sure to take a toll on windows.
Therefore, to give your home the best protection against moisture, it is a good idea to install hurricane grade windows. These innovative windows were tailor-made for the Florida climate, capable of withstanding winds up to 250 MPH, with impact testing to repel a five-pound 2X4 plank traveling at 100 MPH. While hurricane windows are tough, they can also be fabricated in a number of designs to enhance the curb appeal of a wide range of building types.
A leaking roof has the potential to cause all sorts of devastation within a home. Not only will it derail insulation efforts, but water seeping from the roof will follow the path of least resistance until it is either absorbed or reaches level ground, causing costly repairs to other areas of the home in its wake.
Unfortunately for Florida homeowners, many of the most popular roofing materials have serious drawbacks for tropical climates. Asphalt tiles can get swelteringly hot, wood shakes absorb moisture too easily, and clay tiles are a threat to crack when confronted with heavy impact. As a result, many homeowners are considering the benefits of composite roofing tiles. Fabricated from a blend of sand, fiberglass, rubber, and recycled paper, composite roofing offers the highest moisture, fire, and impact rating of any roofing class. In addition, it can be fabricated in a wide variety of colors that will better reflect the Florida sun than traditional asphalt shingles.
Finally, creating a water-resistant driveway is an important aspect of preventing water damage in your home. Not only does standing driveway water have the potential to find its way inside, but heavy runoff can wash away the substrate of many concrete driveways, causing them to buckle, crack, or collapse.
To help mitigate the effects of water runoff, some owners have a slot drain installed to their driveway. While this can be an effective solution, a modern gravel driveway that leverages the most innovative driveway drainage solutions is an increasingly popular choice for Florida-area homes. Using interlocking grids to hold gravel in place, modern permeable pavers are able to leverage the natural drainage properties of gravel without the rutting or clumping concerns that plague traditional gravel driveways, keeping the home’s exterior looking pristine in the face of even the heaviest flooding.
5 Effective Home Renovations for Preventing Water Damage
Renovating to prevent water damage is a fact of life for Florida homeowners, as the moist climate gives water the chance to undermine the safety, functionality, and aesthetics of buildings in the region. With this in mind, foundation waterproofing, applying sealants, new windows, a roofing upgrade, and a gravel driveway are 5 of the best home renovations for preventing water damage.
Brian Jeffries is the content director for the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.