Protecting your Home against Rot
House rot is an annoying - and expensive - problem. But there are a lot of preventative measures homeowners can take to help keep moisture (the source of all things rotten) on the exterior of your home at bay.
Follow these six tips to help keep the exterior of your home dry and hopefully, eliminate the potential for rot.
1. Clean the Exterior Regularly
Early indicators that your home may be experiencing a problem with excessive moisture is the growth of microbes (such as mold, bacteria or fungi). Generally, as these microbes grow, they digest the substrate and gradually destroy it. Ultimately, this leads to rot.
Regular cleaning not only prevents the build-up of microbes but also provides you the opportunity to scout out areas of your home that may be excessively moist. The idea is to head off the potential for rot at the pass.
We recommend using the garden hose and a soft-bristle brush to clean the exterior of your home every few months. (If you don’t want this to be part of your “honey-do” list, you can hire a reputable pressure washing service to clean your house for you.) If you have siding, be sure to spray in a downward direction so as not to contribute to water collection beneath the panels.
2. Allow for Direct Sunlight
Use natural methods to help keep the exterior of your home dry. Combat the potential for rot by allowing as much direct sunlight to shine on the exterior of your home as possible.
Trim trees and keep shrubs and surrounding foliage tidy – and when possible not touching your house - in order to help that natural remedy shine through. Keeping plants away from the exterior has the added side effect of promoting air circulation which also helps your exterior dry.
Eliminate climbing vines. While this greenery that scales your home can add a lovely rustic appeal, vines can also seal in moisture. This type of organic coverage makes it impossible for your home’s exterior to dry out and blocks a large amount of sunlight, creating the perfect environment for excessive moisture.
3. Mind the Sprinklers
If you use a sprinkler to water the lawn and landscape, be sure that it’s not hitting the side of your house. This tip is especially useful for garden sprinklers that are located close to the foundation of your home.
4. Get your Head in the Gutter
Divert rainwater run-off from the roof away from the foundation by installing gutters and extending the downspouts so water is diverted beyond the planting beds and out into the yard.
Regularly clean debris out of gutters (especially all those live oak leaves!) enabling gutters not only to do their job guiding run-off but eliminating the ability for moisture to collect and pool.
5. Eliminate Moisture from Below
Fans can be placed under your home to help ventilate and keep soil dry. You also may want to consider covering the entire crawlspace with a vapor barrier (plastic
sheeting, 6 mil or higher). Overlap the seams by a foot or more and run the plastic up the sides of the foundation.
6. Check AC Drain Pipe and Ventilation Ducts
Regularly check your air conditioner unit to be sure the AC drain pipe isn’t clogged and extend it if needed to direct condensation water away from your home’s foundation.
Also, sometimes the duct from your clothes dryer will produce steam on the outside of your home. Check the venting around these areas frequently to make sure they are clean and free of excessive moisture.
Following these six steps will help you get ahead of the game in keeping your home dry and rot at bay. If you want to ensure you’re starting with a clean slate – or you suspect moisture issues - you might consider having a home inspector conduct a thermal imaging inspection.
Thermal imaging can detect moisture in ceilings and walls, leaking plumbing, rot behind EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems) and stucco, wood-destroying insects, electrical issues, HVAC function, roof leaks, structural defect and energy loss. KC Inspections offers thermal imaging inspections as part of their Home Inspection Plus package as well as a stand-alone service.
Give them a ring at 904-404-9092 to find out more about whether you should consider a thermal imaging inspection for your home.