If you are a homeowner within the Greater Shreveport and Bossier City, LA area, it is critical to protect property from water damage. Take it from this Home Inspector. The damage that water can inflict can be severe. Read on to learn more about what home inspectors in our area are looking for regarding water damage, and how to protect your property from it.
Home Inspection Tip: Planned Water Shed is Critical
Upon arrival to any home that I am to inspect, I look to see how the home was placed on its site to ensure that the grade of the lot provides sufficient fall all of the way around it. The land must slope (grade) in such a way that rain water will shed away from the building’s foundation.. We get a good amount of rain fall here in Shreveport/Bossier City and the grading of building lots is not always sufficient to shed the water required to protect the properties on them. Many people unknowingly negate their watershed grade when they install plant beds too close to their foundation, even right against the slab to a height that water will spill into the home. A good rule to follow is to allow six to eight inches between the top of the slab and the ground to provide enough room to allow the water to shed appropriately. Make sure your landscapers do the same, and watch your yard when the rain begins to fall. Watch for pooling and water running toward your property. This can be a sign that your property does not have appropriate watershed measures in place. When insufficient grading is present, alternative measures must be taken.
Gutters are one of the most popular measures taken by homeowners to remove rainwater from their properties. Gutters and downspouts guide the rainwater off of the roofing and away from the property. As an inspector, when I see gutters, I first look to see that the gutters have been installed properly. Questions such as “do the gutters have adequate fall to the downspout”, does the downspout have on extension that deposits water away from the foundation, or does it empty into a French drain. Check your gutter systems to be sure that all of these questions achieve the appropriate response.
Gutters can be unsightly on some homes and I see more use these days of the French drain system for controlling water runoff. French drains are made by digging a trench about two feet down and laying a drain pipe in it. The contractor will cover this with gravel and soil and your grass to top it off. Water will weep down through the soil and gravel and drain through the piping to where ever you want it to go. The only things you see on the French drain is a grate where the rain water enters and a small section of piping at the other end where the rain is disposed of in a more desired location for the water. Many people prefer the French drain for its aesthetic appeal and its versatility.
When To Invest
How can you know that you need to invest in a system to control the water on your property? What should you watch for? Here are three easy signals to watch for that will tell you that water issues exist on your property:
Erosion around your foundation, i.e. the little trenches that form when rain runs off the roof and erodes the ground below the eaves and soffits.
The absence of grass in certain areas or holes that have developed. Washed out or continually moist piers or slabs are more serious indications of too much water lingering around the foundation.
In extreme cases I have seen water stains on the inside of interior walls where water has seeped in through the wall.
Come back in two weeks when we will be discussing another way to protect your property. We will also discuss more ways to ensure high marks on your next Shreveport and Bossier City, LA area home inspection by asking Licensed Home Inspector Lee Boggs what to watch for, and how to prevent problems before they start! Do you have a specific topic you would like to see discussed? Please contact us to let us know what topics you would like to see, and we will do our best to answer your questions in one of our upcoming posts!