This winter, Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area suffered unusually cold temperatures. Piles of snow, freezing rain and rain coupled with high winds wreaked havoc on our homes. Although extreme weather is a part of Canadian weather your home may be suffering from some bumps and bruises manifesting in roof and foundation leaks. As a home owner it is important to be prepared for these issues and address them as they arise.
Recently, I was vacationing in Florida and had difficulty returning home due to our last (hopefully) wintry blast. The storm caused flight cancellations as our plane wouldn’t leave Fort Lauderdale avoiding the high winds and freezing rain and snow at Pearson.
I made it home after the storm had passed. While unpacking I looked up at the ventilation fan in the master bathroom and noticed a ceiling stain. I immediately recognized this as an issue after auditing several home inspections. Water infiltration and the associated damage can impact the value of a home and the health of the inhabitants.
The stain was not large. Rather than ignore the issue and hope for the best, I conducted a thorough visual inspection of the bathroom and adjacent rooms as water has a bad habit of creeping along finished ceilings, walls, and insulation (with the help of gravity) causing mold and rot.
I contacted a professional roofer with a solid reputation, and he was kind enough to stop by the house that afternoon. Once on the roof he located a spot where a few shingles were missing and an insecure flashing around a vent. The shingles were replaced, and the flashing secured for a quick cost-efficient repair.
High winds, freezing rain and snow can also cause moisture beneath grade level causing lateral pressure to your foundation as it freezes and expands. This pressure can cause cracks in the foundation leading to associated damage to wall, floors and ceilings.
As we enjoy an early spring thaw the large quantity of water produced from melting snow and ice, can pool allowing moisture to creep into the basement through foundation cracks, window, doors and any other opening. You should do a complete visual inspection around your home to look for peeling or bubbling paint, raised flooring, stains on carpet, musty or damp odours and any other evidence water may be present. If the water has been present for quite some time you may notice efflorescence (a crystalline deposit of salts seen on exposed concrete, brick, stucco or natural stone surfaces). Efflorescence is a result of moisture travelling through the solid material and minerals being left behind as the water evaporates.
It is also important to ensure that water is drained away from your home. Be sure to ensure down spouts are attached and leak free. If the down spouts have splash pads, ensure that they are crack free and graded away from your foundation.
These issues should be checked twice a year (spring and fall) as you open/close outdoor areas like patios.