Whether it’s a burst pipe, an undetected leak or an extreme weather event like a flash flood or a storm surge, water can cause extensive damage to your home or business. Water damage not only destroys your belongings and threatens the structural integrity of your building but can present dangerous health hazards as well. Fortunately, there are multiple steps that you can take to help protect your property from water damage.
Research shows that homes are up to 10 times more likely to incur damage from water than from fire, yet most standard home insurance policies don’t include coverage for flood damage. Whether your home or business is located in a high-risk flood zone or not, it may be to your advantage to purchase flood insurance. Events like heavy rains, snowmelt, water main breaks, levee failures and even new construction development can lead to unexpected flooding. A good flood insurance policy will not only cover structural repairs and replacements for your belongings but will pay for water damage protection improvements and clean up costs as well.Sealing the Building Envelope
One of the most effective ways to protect your structure against water damage is to make sure that the exterior components that make up the building envelope are water-tight:
- Roofs. Annual roof inspections help ensure that shingles are secure and free from rot or decay. Features like chimneys and vents should be checked for leaks, and roof sheathing and rafters should be inspected for water stains.
- Basements. Sump pumps and drains should be regularly maintained to ensure proper operation. Pumps should discharge water as far away from your home or business as possible. Any windows or exterior doors in your basement should be equipped with flood shields or barriers.
- Exterior Walls. Well-sealed windows, doors and exterior walls help keep water damage at bay. Any cracks in joints and foundations should be plugged with waterproof sealant. If you live in an area prone to flooding, keep sandbags at the ready to help direct water away from the foundation.
Before and After a Flood
Even the best-protected home is subject to damage during a flood, so it’s a good idea to keep building materials like plywood, plastic sheeting and carpentry tools on hand in case of an emergency. If you live in a region where floods are frequent, you may wish to invest in a back-up power generator as well. Stock up on bottled water and batteries, and make sure that your first-aid kit is up-to-date. Keep copies of all important documents in a water-tight container.
After water damage, time is not on your side. Standing flood water poses multiple health risks, including injuries, infectious diseases and contact with harmful chemicals. Contact your insurance company immediately and make arrangements for a professional water restoration company to inspect the premises. A reputable restoration specialist will offer prompt inspections and accurate estimates that allow you to assess the situation. Whether you need water removal and extraction services or mold remediation, a qualified restoration company can help restore your home or business to its pre-flood condition.