While I won’t say I’m an expert with this issue, I’ll go over things I’ve learned and experienced with what water or moisture can do to a home. Since most if not all of a home is made of wood, water intrusion can rot the wood leading to deterioration of the structure itself. And excess air moisture can lead to many issues including the dreaded 4 letter word: Mold.
Any time we visit a homeowner during a seller’s consultation I have a checklist I review while doing the first walkthrough. First, I start at the top and try to physically access the roof condition and try to confirm with the homeowner the age of the roof. In the past few years this has become more important for both the buyer and the lender along with the buyer’s insurance company. For the buyer an old roof means an expensive repair in the near future. The lender is worried about a leaking roof damaging the home. The insurance company now looks at an old roof as high probability of a damage claim. If you know your roof is older than 15 to 20 years, expect that to be an issue when you sell. But also consider replacing that old roof sooner to stop you from paying out even more when it leaks and does extensive damage to your home’s structure. Leaks can be slow to become obvious to you and by then a lot of damage can be done. At the very least if you’re not sure about your roof’s condition, have it checked by a roofing professional. Once you are sure your home is protected from falling water you’re one step closer to a dry home.
The next item I’ll go over with a homeowner is the foundation, basement, or crawlspace. Basements in central Indiana will often at least be damp. Older ones leak some or in some cases a lot. Waterproofing can be expensive but it’s important to have a dry basement or crawlspace. Most of this area has higher water tables and when it rains a lot water will collect in the ground around your home and by nature seeps towards lower areas such as your basement or crawlspace. If water stays there long, it results in ‘biological growth’ that often is in the form of mold. And if mold if allowed to flourish it can be very expensive to remedy. But the one thing most people miss is that mold is not the problem, it’s the wet condition that allows it to flourish. Also keep in mind the wet conditions will rot wood so after a long time the home can be structurally weakened. It’s very important to remedy wet basements and crawlspaces for many reasons and ignoring them can result in a very expensive bill to fix the moisture issue, structure damage, and remediate the mold.
And finally, there is the moisture issue that we’ve dealt with multiple times that really surprises the homeowner: the attic space. The design of homes has changed a lot in the past 100 years and now newer and updated homes are being made more airtight to save in energy costs. While older style homes could ‘breathe’, newer homes tend to keep everything inside, including moisture in the air. Showers and baths, washing clothes and dishes, and air humidifiers all add moisture to the air, especially in winter when cold temperatures outside dry the air. This moist, warm air eventually escapes into the attic and condenses on the cold roof decking if the attic is not properly ventilated. Properly ventilating the attic is something that has only recently incorporated in building codes. We’ve seen many times that in older homes the homeowner was unaware that this moisture in the attic was slowly causing mold and rot of the roof decking. In a few cases the entire roof and decking must be replaced just because it was missing a few vent holes.
The main thing to take away from this article is that you shouldn’t ignore your home maintenance. And pay special attention to water intrusion, from above, below, or within, as it probably contributes to some of the most expensive home repairs if it’s found too late. With a good roof with proper venting, watertight painting, good caulking on siding and windows, and good drainage away from the home, you’ll be way ahead of any of these water intrusion surprises.
Want a free no obligation sellers consultation on your home? Feel free to give The Derrick Team a call at 317-563-1110 or contact us here.