If you live in a hurricane zone, then your home is going to be under a strong barrage of wind and rain at least a few times each year. Many people focus on the inside of the home to keep water out. They install a sump pump, repair cracks in the basement, and run a dehumidifier to ensure any water that comes in doesn't cause too much mold. But it's really the outside of your home that needs attention! Here are five ways to ensure the outside of your home is waterproof and ready for the onslaught of hurricane season.
1. Have the masonry sealed.
Hire a contractor to come and seal your masonry with a waterproof material. The material should fill any small cracks so water does not seep in during a storm, and it will also help keep your masonry from deteriorating when exposed to water over a longer period.
If you decide to do this step yourself, make sure you choose a waterproof coating made specifically for concrete. Clean your concrete with water and a scrub brush, and then let it dry completely before applying the sealer. Usually, you'll need to apply two coats -- with a few hours between them -- for adequate protection.
2. Have cracks sealed.
If there are any larger cracks in your home's exterior masonry, waterproof coating alone will not fill them. You will need to caulk them. Use a sanded caulk, as this is more rugged and will stay in the cracks for longer. Scrub the cracks with a wire brush, and then apply the caulk with a caulk gun. Use your finger or a small spatula to smooth the top of the caulk. Always apply caulk a few days before rain is expected so it has plenty of time to dry.
3. Clean your gutters.
Sometimes, water comes into your home as a result of clogged gutters. Water builds up in the gutters and then pours over the edge of them, saturating the side of your home and pooling around the base of the foundation. Before hurricane season rolls in, make sure you clean your gutters. Consider installing gutter guards to keep additional leaves and needles from entering the gutters. If your gutters are angled in a way that prevents them from draining, call a local gutter company and arrange to have them rehung.
4. Don't plant trees or shrubs too close to your home.
If you have shrubs and trees planted directly against your foundation, their roots may cause foundation damage that allows water to enter during a heavy storm. Consider removing trees and shrubs that are directly against your foundation, and do not plant any more in this area. Have your shrubs and trees trimmed each year, preferably in the fall, so the branches do not rub against your home or break off, causing damage.
5. Improve your drainage.
Sometimes, water does not enter during the storm -- but afterward when water drains toward your foundation and finds its way in through cracks. Improving the way your landscape drains will help prevent this type of water invasion.
Start by making sure your landscape is sloped away from the perimeter of your home. If it is not, you will need to have a landscaper add some fill to the area closest to your home. They may also dig ditches or add some drainage tile to the yard to keep the area even drier.
If you follow the advice above, you should have better luck keeping water out of your home during heavy storms and hurricanes. Contact a contractor who offers exterior waterproofing services to learn more.