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El Niño Is Here – What Homeowners Can Do To Protect Their Home

As is widely reported, we are in an El Niño. It is anticipated that it will the wet weather will last through February 2016. However, it can last through Spring 2016. The Weather Channel reports that since the last strong El Niño in 1997-98, the reduction in the amount of Arctic sea ice and Northern Hemisphere snow cover introduces a factor previously unknown and thus making this year’s El Niño unpredictable.

Homeowner Concerns

Homeowners should be prepared for above average and sustained rain falls. This applies regardless of an anticipated El Niño. Southern California is subject to a semi-arid climate. California residents may recall the damage and deaths from flooding as a result of the strong 1997-98 El Nino.

However, during the previous winter there was triple the financial damage despite there not being an El Niño winter. The flooding was the result of excessive rainfall that fell in a short time period combined with snowmelt from late December to early January.

Thus, with El Niño on its way this year, homeowners should be bracing for a deluge of water during the early months of 2016.

Recommended Efforts To Protect Your Home

Waterproofing the roof: If you see any cracks or gaps, get them sealed well before the peak rains begin. Also, apply a sealant, but make sure that you give it plenty of time to dry before the rains resume. If your roof has tiles or shingles, look for ones that might be broken, cracked, or missing, and have them replaced immediately. Also, look to see if any metal trim is rusted or cracked. You must remember that any work on your roof requires time and dry weather to set.

As referenced above, it is not enough to just get through this year’s El Niño. You should consider re-designing your roof structure to correct lack of positive drainage, flat areas and ponding.

The gutters: Make sure there is no clogging due to accumulated leaves, twigs, stones, grit, or toys. These often clog the drainpipes, leading to accumulation of water, which can then leak in your ceiling or down into the foundation of your home.

Check for cracks in the ceiling and walls: If there are any cracks along the edges of the ceiling, you may be susceptible to moisture and water seepage in the walls. Fill these with plaster or wall putty (which will also require repainting the walls or ceiling). Check doors and windows for any gaps that can let in rainwater. These gaps can be filled with a variety of sealing products, including brush seals.

Trim trees: Check the trees near your home, and trim any branches that might give way during heavy rains or strong winds. Falling branches are one of the surprise causes of damage during big storms such as El Niño.

Clear Stucco Screed: Stucco screed runs along the base of a home and drains water which permeates stucco. Homeowners or unlicensed contractors will unknowingly cover the screed with sidewalks, patios or landscaping. This prevents the water from draining and thus it backs up into the stucco causing rotting of the wood, foundation and frame of he house thereby causing water intrusion into the home.

It’s Never Too Late: Regardless of El Niño’s strength as a responsible homeowner, you should be prepared for any wet weather. At Sandstone Construction we are happy to review wet weather preparations with you and any other home remodel needs you may have. Please visit us at Sandstone Construction.