How to Waterproof Your Home
Updated: Mar 31
Above all else, a house is built to provide shelter from the elements. To protect the house against invasion by unwanted air and water, heat and cold even animals and insects. This battle against the elements is fought with a varied arsenal of materials and equipment. There are plugs and sealers, pumps and vents, insulation, awnings and tinted plastic, plus special techniques and equipment for emergencies such as hurricanes and floods, earthquakes and lightning storms.
Few houses demand every weatherproofing remedy in this article, but sooner or later most require one or more of them to remain sound and comfortable. Ever few years, for example, new caulking and perhaps new weather stripping are needed to replace what has worn out and to seal up gaps that appear as the house settles. Once properly sealed, a house may have to little air entering to carry moisture away or to keep the furnace burning efficiently. Therefor, ventilators must be installed that take advantage of natural air currents that create their own with electric ventilating fans. Intentional ventilation of this sort has a major advantage over the accidental air currents that come through odd cracks and crannies; it lets you control how much air gets in where.
Although ventilation removes airborne moisture, other measures are necessary to cure a house of leaks. More homes than ever have water in the basement. One cause is the proliferation of shopping center parking lots, which by reducing natural drainage of rainfall into the earth, send water into residential areas to flood basements that had never been wet before. In some cases, the key to dry basement may be as simple as cleaning out the gutters or sealing cracks in foundation walls or leaks in the roof. When such routine steps are insufficient, you may have to lay underground pipe to carry water away, perhaps to a dry well, or you may want to apply waterproofing to the foundation, or even install a pump in the basement.
Another kind of seepage has nothing to do with water but exacts a toll in dollars and comfort. In winter, heat escapes from the house through the walls, roof, basement, doors and windows. In the summer, heat leaks in by the same routes. Such losses, in either direction, have become intolerably expensive as energy prices have risen, the cost pf gas for heating increased about 14 percent in 4 years in the early Seventies, and the cost of electricity went up almost 25 percent. Depending on where you live, your house may benefit from as much as a foot of insulation you can build as well as install yourself-are a necessity in all but the mildest climates as a finishing touch in making your house impervious to the elements.
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