With the beginning of spring, Oklahoma now looks to the beginning of storm season, and we all know just how damaging those storms can be. Fortunately, a few proactive measures can help to minimize the damage nature’s fury can inflict. Mike Smiley has been the owner of Smiley Home Inspection Service for 13 years and he shares some tips to make your home as prepared as possible for the upcoming rain and wind.

“Water causes almost 90 percent of all home problems inside and out,” Smiley said. “The main thing to lookout for is proper drainage.”

When water pools up near the foundation of a house, it can cause all kinds of issues to the foundation and the structure. This typically happens when the house is near the bottom of a hill, but sometimes home owners do not realize that they are at the bottom of a hill. Even a gentle slope, almost invisible to the naked eye, can cause water to pool.

To find out if this may be a problem at your house go outside after a particularly heavy rain and walk around your home to see any standing water that may have formed near the base of your home. 

To mitigate this issue Smiley suggests doing some terracing around your property to allow the water to drain away from your home. This can be achieved by installing a “swale.” A swale is simply a depression in the ground that uses gravity to carry the  water that pools up in one area to another away from the foundation. Swales can either be above ground and be used to irrigate lawns and landscaping or run through pipes buried beneath the ground.

Another factor that influences water buildup around foundations is guttering (or in some instances, lack thereof).

“Most homes need guttering,” Smiley said. “Make sure that they are functioning properly and that they force water away from the foundation.” 

The easiest way to ensure that your gutters function properly is to make sure that they are not clogged. Leaves and other debris can obstruct gutters during the fall and winter months. Once the weather permits, inspect your gutters to make sure they are flowing freely and not being bogged down.

Smiley continues with his warning against water damage by discussing the ways in which a simple coat of paint helps your home by not only making it look better but actually protecting it.

“If your home needs painting, a good coat of paint can help protect the wood from the elements,” he said. When wood gets wet, it begins to disintegrate and decay. The paint acts as a shield to stop this process in its tracks.”

Smiley’s final tip is about low-hanging branches that sometimes hit our roofs.

“Keep low tree limbs away from the roof,” he said. “In all the wind we get those can really damage shingles.” Those shingle can be expensive to replace and if the damage is severe enough, you could be looking at replacing the entire roof. And if the roof is in disrepair, it can lead to leaks caused by the number one cause of home damage, water.

These are just a few examples of ways to get your home ready for the stormy weather that will soon be upon us. By spending some time and money now to fix any of these potential problems, you’ll actually be saving yourself even more money (and preventing an even greater amount of stress) in the future.