April weather in Canada can be unpredictable. One day it’s sunny and warm, then you wake up the next morning to a snow squall. There is one thing you can count on, and that’s a lot of water falling and flowing in and around your home.
It’s flooding season — so don’t get caught unaware with a flooded basement. A strong roof and a proper drainage strategy are the best ways to prevent flooding.
Start with a roof check and looking for any instances of broken or missing shingles. If you’re not sure what exactly to look for, a roofing pro can also help assess the state of your roof and make suggestions in case a repair is needed.
If your roof is in good shape, the next task is to make sure you’re set for drainage. There’s a lot of thought that needs to go into making sure water drains harmlessly away.
Eavestrough for every roofline
OK, so we’ve made certain that the roof is healthy. Next step is to make sure that when water flows down your roof, the eavestrough is doing its job, and is moving that excess water far enough away to prevent flooding.
You also want to keep the gutters clean — it’s a small job but an important one. They need to be free of blockages and debris. Otherwise, instead of passing through and out the downspout, it could spill over and directly hit your foundation. Installing mesh gutter guards will keep gunk from clogging up the pipes and allow water to seamlessly pass through — and you won’t have to keep climbing the ladder to clear them out. That’s a worthy investment in my books.
Each season, you should make sure the gutters are still fastened tightly to the home. If they have started to pull away, they won’t properly catch water flowing down the roof.
Your home may have more than one roofline — and each one needs to be lined with a gutter. You want your downspout to expel water at least one metre away from the foundation. If it’s dumping water right there, then what’s the point? You should be able to get an extension from just about any hardware store, so if you think the gutters are draining too close to the home, it’s an easy fix.
Do you see big puddles accumulate on your lawn? It could also be an indication of bad grading. You want your yard to slope down away from the house, to allow water to run off away from the foundation and not toward it. If you did some landscaping last year, only to find big puddles this year, it may mean the property is improperly graded. When the ground is fully thawed out, call in a landscaper to help regrade your yard.
Keep sump pumping
A sump pump is a mechanized device to remove excessive below-grade water away from your foundation. It pumps that water away from your home to somewhere it can’t do any damage. If your sump pump is depositing the water too close to your home, it may find its way back to your foundation and cause problems. This is a good time of year to have your pump professionally inspected to make sure it’s in good shape. Unfortunately, they don’t last forever; it depends on frequency of use, but pumps typically last 10 years or so.
Do you have a backup generator in case of a power outage? When the power goes down, you don’t want to have to worry about your sump pump losing power, too. Hopefully, your sump pump includes its own battery backup, but to be safe I’d want to guarantee it’s working, with the added security a generator provides. Even a smaller unit to provide a little backup power to run your essentials is a good idea for any homeowner.
Watch Mike Holmes in his series, Holmes Makes It Right, on HGTV. For more information, visit makeitright.ca.