Where Does Water Damage Come From?

By: Ross McLean, Broker | Lucy McLean, Sales Representative | Peter Steele, Broker

Where Does Water Damage Come From?

Just the words “water damage” can cause homeowners serious concern. That’s not only because of the problems it can bring when it comes to your property and personal possessions, but the implications – a leak or whatever is causing your moisture intrusion can potentially be expensive to repair. However, the best way to keep costs down and sort out the problem efficiently is to determine where your water is coming from. Typically, there’s three common causes of moisture intrusion and water damage:
 
1. Basement Window Wells 
 
The outside of your basement windows is a common place for water to collect and intrude into your home if the window wells aren't draining properly. Basement window wells are the depressions in the earth full of gravel that your kids catch frogs in during the summer months. This gravel is important, because it allows rainwater to drain through and away from your windows.  
 
But over time, leaves, debris and yes, frogs can collect in your basement window wells and interfere with the gravel's ability to drain effectively. Cleaning out these window wells every few months during the summer and at least once after the leaves fall in autumn will not only prevent future leaks, it could fix leaks you're already experiencing through your basement windows.  
 
2. Basement (General) 
 
Clogged eavestroughs and downspouts are the main reasons you may experience water leaking in through your basement walls, and even your upper-level walls. At least once a year, make sure your eavestroughs are cleaned out and not clogged with debris - you may want to double check after the leaves on your property have fallen in the autumn months.  
 
Downspouts that are poorly aimed will push water into your walls, so ensure your downspouts aim away from your home onto a surface that slopes downward and away from the foundation walls. Downspouts can also get clogged, so disconnect them once a year and make sure there's nothing blocking them.  
 
3. Bathrooms 
 
If you find water damage on walls or ceilings next to or directly underneath a bathroom in your home, you could have a leak in one of your bathroom fixtures like your shower or bathtub.  
 
If re-caulking the shower and tub fails to stop the leak, cut out a small portion of the water-damaged drywall and ask someone to run the water in the shower. If you see water pouring in behind the wall, you may need to replace the tile or grout in the shower or bathtub area. While this is one of the more expensive leak repairs, it is completely necessary because the risk of mold growing will be huge.