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  • Writer's picturePhil Evans

7 Tips to Avoid Water Damage During the Rainy Season

The rainy season is here and there are a number of things homeowners should be doing to keep our homes safe from water damage. A wet basement, sagging floors or bowed walls stains and mold, are all giveaways that you may need to take a look at your home’s foundation for water intrusion and damage. That includes checking the sump pump, trimming branches, clearing gutters, and draining sediments from your water heater.

Water damage is very common and can cause a number of problems that range from paint damage to affecting your home’s structural integrity. Water damage can destroy the foundation, so buyers and homeowners need to keep their eyes open for signs of its presence currently in the past. Here are seven tips to keep your home safe during the Winter and heavy rains in Portland.

  • Improve grading. Slopes may be directing water toward the base of a home rather than away. Cracks or vents in the foundation then allow water to enter.

  • What to do: First and foremost, make sure that the grade slopes away from the house. Sometimes a French drain is needed so water dissipates slowly from near the foundation into the landscape. If you find your grade slopes down towards your house or you find puddles of water around your home, contact Timber and Rose Realty Group for a list of recommended drainage contractors our clients have worked with.

  • Proper landscape. Trees are probably not the first thing that comes to someone’s mind when thinking about water damage. Just make sure to keep trees and shrubs properly trimmed back from your home. Shrubs and plants that grow up against your home can cause water to drain from the tree or plant to run down the side of your house. With time, this can result in serious leaks. You should also consider how the leaves can gather and obstruct gutters, drains, or other water paths. If you have a very large tree next to the house, remember that roots tend to grow toward water which can destabilize a structure such as walkways and penetrate foundations.

  • What to do: If large trees already grow near a house, check that plumbing lines are free, and confirm there aren’t foundation cracks. If problems arise, the tree may need to be taken down. Contact us for landscaper and arborist recommendations.

  • Gutters and downspouts. Speaking about leaves that obstruct gutters, you’d be surprised to learn how much water damage could be prevented by having functional gutters. Water flowing off a roof will land near a house and possibly cause damage over time as well as damage to siding.

  • What to do: Inspect your gutters and downspouts, making sure they are in good working order and properly channel water down, out and away from your property. In case you’re in the process of installing new drainage, a good way to go is to have both gutters and downspouts installed around a home or building’s perimeter with easy cleanout ports. The downspouts should extend far enough to carry away the water, at least six feet (this is where proper grading comes in). Call us for gutter cleaning and roof specialists.

  • Check for diagonal cracks. It can be very unsettling to find a crack on the foundation of your home. They can be caused by a number of reasons, like movement, temperature changes, and time. But large diagonal ones require attention from a structural engineer to avoid bigger issues.

  • What to do: Cracks suggest settlement and send a red flag that something might be wrong with a foundation. Depending on the severity of the damage, the foundation may need underpinning. Watch out for cracks of a quarter-inch in width and V-shaped, as it may indicate pressure on an exterior wall. All cracks should be inspected by a foundation engineer. Timber and Rose Realty Group has several to recommend.

  • Check for significant leaks and stains. An unfinished basement makes it easy to check for water damage because it’s easier to see signs like stains. If it’s a finished basement, make sure to look for clues like a rust color that shows through paint, which can be a sign of moisture. Efflorescence, a white powder left behind from minerals in water, is very normal and not a sign of water damage necessarily. Dark colors, such as mold, are more of what homeowners in Portland are looking for. Cracks and mold are the most common signs of water intrusion for basements that are below ground.

  • What to do: If you have a damp basement, your first clue will be the smell. But if the damage is covered, you’ll probably have to pop open ceiling tiles to examine what’s behind them. Call Timber and Rose for recommendations on tried-and-true contractors specializing in foundations, crawlspaces, and basements.

  • Watch out for uneven floor surfaces. This happens with old houses, but if the floor or patio was leveled and now slants, it might be time to hire a structural engineer.

  • What to do: Floorboards, tiles, and carpet can be picked up, joists shimmed, and a new layer installed. If there is water damage under patio floors, you may need to remove the pavers, install a membrane or a drainage system, and then put the pavers back. This could be a DIY job but if you would rather have someone else do it, call us and we can recommend licensed and insured contractors to help.

  • Waterproof a foundation. This is possibly the most expensive solution but for homes with real water issues and homeowners that can’t risk anymore water damage to their home, this may be necessary. In this case, your home’s foundation may need some kind of waterproofing. Keeping the foundation dry will prevent moisture from accumulating on the outside or entering inside.

  • What to do: After confirming with a drainage and waterproofing specialist, waterproofing a basement could include installing vapor barrier, fans, vents, sealing cracks, roof patches, French drains, and sump pumps.

There is a solution for just about every kind of water damage homeowners experience. Often times there is damage that is affecting our lives without us even knowing it, such as with mold in our attics and basements. The costs may vary but we can recommend many experts to spot and diagnose a problem and suggest the best fix. Contact us at and we’ll send some recommendations your way!

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