What a spring we are having in Winnipeg/Manitoba this year! The amount of calls and questions we have had from clients and potential clients about water entering the home is higher than any year that I have been a realtor, and rightfully so.
The weather conditions in Manitoba this year are causing a number of water related issues to many homes. A quick read through the news and you will see info about the river, ponds and other water bodies in the City of Winnipeg and rural municipalities overflowing with water.
While this can be a trying time for many of the people experiencing these issues this is also the perfect time to find problems and remedy them. I am going to go over some of the issues with water that we have encountered recently and what you can do if any of these situations are happening to you.
Foundations: Due to the extreme amount of snow we received last winter along with the large amount of rain we have been experiencing the past few weeks many people are having issues with water in the basement. Some of these issues related to the foundation of the home can be attributed to a build up of snow, frozen ground and continued precipitation. The biggest thing to do is to find out what the actual issue is. This may require removing some of the interior walls in basements if the basement is finished. While not a fun job it is imperative to find out what exactly the issue is so that it can be repaired correctly. The chances are that if you have water seeping into the walls from the exterior there is high likelihood that there is a crack in your foundation. Now don’t get too freaked out, a foundation repair can be an easy fix. Finding out the extent of the damage will determine how it can be repaired and what exactly needs to be done. There is also the potential for water to get into a foundation if there is just standing water at the house. Some things to check: is there any water pooling along the foundation walls? What does the grading look like? Is it graded so that the water is running away from the house or towards it? While preventative maintenance is best done in the summer and fall to prepare for spring melt, if you know there are issues that can be fixed now then it is best to get on them.
Downspouts: good operating downspouts/eavestroughs are extremely important for getting water away from a home. Checking that your eavestroughs are not frozen, or clogged with debris is a maintenance item that should be tackled throughout the spring, summer and fall. On the downspout portions it is important that the downspouts are functioning and that they are extended at least 6-8 feet away from the house.
Sump pumps: if your home has a sump pump (typically any home built after 2000 will have one, earlier than that may not) it is important to check and ensure that it is operating correctly. On the exterior of the home you want to have the drain hose connected to the discharge pipe and you want it to be extended a long way from the foundation of the home. Inside you want to make sure that the pump is operating as it should be, that there is nothing in the pit that could cause a clog in the pump or could cause the float switch to malfunction.
Window wells: checking window wells for water is an important part of keeping your basement water tight. No matter how good a window you have if there is water pooling up against it, it will leak. Window wells are designed to drain water through weeping tile in the window well down to the weeping tiles at the base of the foundation. Making sure that the bottom of your window well is not covered in debris, leaves, or frozen with snow an ice will help keep it operating correctly. If you find that it is pooling water then you may want to find a pump and drain it of water while we wait for warmer weather. When the time comes in the summer you may need to see if the weeping tile in the well is operating correctly and if not it may need replacement.
Roof and siding: with all of the snow we received this winter there was the potential for drifts and piles to build up on roofs and in areas that do not typically get wet other than a heavy rain. Checking shingles and any extrusions (chimney, venting) in the roof for damage and water seals will help keep your roof dry. The same thing goes for siding, if there was any water infiltration over winter and any freeze/thaw cycles happening there was the chance for siding to pull away from the home and could leave an opening for water to get in. Checking your siding for any damage, loosening or shifting and that any caulking seals are still flexible and not cracked or broken.
Any home extrusions: any type of extrusion from the basement wall should be sealed. This could include: A/C piping and cables, ductwork, fan vents, sump pump piping, etc. you should ensure that the openings are sealed, if it is a small space caulking will likely work but if it is larger you may need to have expanding foam or other sealing options.
While this is not the be all end all for issues with water and how to fix them, we know that these issues can cause some major headaches for people. Also know that all houses are susceptible to these issues, not just older houses. Although older houses have more potential for them even new houses require maintenance to keep them watertight.
If you are having issues with water and do not know who to reach out to we have a list of contractors we have worked with over the years or clients have been pleased with. We have seen many of these issues over the years and typically most are easy fixes. The goal is always to have your home as functional as possible and keeping it watertight is one of the best ways to do that.
Hopefully we have some real spring weather on the way and we can look towards hot dry summer days!
Tel: (204) 226-1261