Hurricane Florence will be hitting the East coast in a few days, are you ready? Whenever there is a big storm that delivers unusual amounts of rain and high winds our phones ring off the hook the following week with clients wanting to know what to do to get the water out of their basement, fix the roof, or figure out where the leaks are coming from.

Unfortunately, most homes in our area are not built to handle abnormal amounts of wind and rain. Our homes do very well when rain drops straight down and only delivers a half inch at a time, but when the rain is sideways, and we get more than an inch or two in a day all bets are off.

What do we do?

1) Do the obvious first. Make sure the gutters are completely clean and sloping toward the downspouts. Gutters with a little debris or bad slope will usually be fine with moderate rain but will not be able to handle substantial rain.

2) Make sure the downspouts are extended away from the house for at least 6 feet and the grade within six feet of the house is sloping at least one inch per foot away from the building. We want to carry water over the backfill area onto virgin soil if possible. The backfill area will become saturated quickly and the next easiest path will likely be your basement if not done right.

3) If you have a sump pump make sure it is working in advance. You will have a very hard time finding a sump pump after a big storm hits.

4) Having a backup generator can be a life saver in the event of a power outage. Your sump pump will not work lacking power. Even those with a battery backup will only work for a few hours. If you have one, test it to make sure it works before the storm.

5) Look around the outside of your home for areas that could use some caulking or trim that is loose or missing. Our homes are built for vertical rain and will leak in any gaps when the rain is horizontal.

6) Remove any debris from the roof and repair any damaged, lose or missing shingles. High winds can tear off damaged or loose shingles that may have been that way for the last 10 years with no problems. It will be hard to find a roofer after a big storm.

7) Roofs usually leak at the flashing. Even when installed perfectly high winds and heavy rains can result in leaks. Check the ceilings for leaks after the storm. In most homes the flashing is installed adequately for normal rain, but there is often room for improvement and that may become obvious after a big storm.

8) After the storm look at your roof to see if any shingles have blown off or been damaged.

9) In the event you do get water in your home, clean it up and get the area dry within a few days. If an area remains wet for more than about three days, you run the risk of mold growth.

Should you have storm related problems ProTec can be called in for a damage assessment and mold testing if needed. Good luck and let’s hope this one misses us.

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