As the wettest mainland state in Australia, Victoria sees its fair share of rainfall. Basically, every part of your home is at risk from water damage. Floors, electrics, structure and even the foundations of your home can suffer irreparable damage when exposed to water for too long. In many areas of Victoria, flooding is a very real threat, too. If you build a property in an area that is prone to flooding, you best be sure that your foundations can bear the brunt – otherwise your home could end up washing away. Then, of course, there is the ever present threat of termites, which like to live in and around areas with plenty of moisture. With all that in mind, it’s important to know exactly how water adversely affects your home.
The foundations of your home are the last place you want affected by water. In flood conditions, weak foundations will give out and the entire building is likely to collapse. Water pooling in the foundations is another problem, which can lead to subsidence or movement, causing cracks to form in the walls of your home. If your home isn’t elevated, flood water will get into the building and damage everything that it touches. Your furnishings, electrics, walls and floors will suffer the most damage. Once the waters have receded, you will have a major cleanup operation on your hands with toxic silt and mud. Also, during a flood the sewer systems are likely to back up; so along with all the other dirt and debris, your home could be swimming in raw sewage. If you are unable to take care of drying out your home within 3 days, you will likely have mold to contend with, too. To help you keep ahead of the game, the Bureau of Meteorology weather updates can advise you of flood and storm warnings for your area.
Any time that water is allowed to batter your home or, worse still, water ingress occurs, you are going to have problems with erosion. This issue affects every part of your land, including all structures. Badly designed structures, which allow water to pool; damaged or inadequate downspouts, causing water to overflow; unsuitable drainage systems, which prevent water from escaping, are some of the most common causes of erosion. To prevent erosion becoming a major issue, it is essential that a professional building inspector checks the property for potential problems. Erosion is a stealthy assassin, so you won’t necessarily know there’s a problem until the damage has been done.
As already mentioned, flooding can cause extensive damage and contamination in the affected areas of your home. However, nowhere is safe from condensation, burst pipes, or unseen leaks. This is especially true if the source of the leaking water is from the top of the building. Your insulation, dry wall, timber framing, electrical conduits, floors and ceiling will all suffer. Ceilings may collapse, and wooden floors and other timber structures will warp out of shape. The cost of repairing water damaged structures can be astronomical, so it’s important that you have your home checked, i.e. annually, and especially after violent storms.
Home owners often forget about external areas when it comes to potential water damage. If your land does not have sufficient drainage, you may face problems with plants, crops or landscaping being destroyed, sinkholes developing, as well as the constant presence of water affecting the outside structures of your home. If you live near a river or the coast, your home could be on borrowed time, too. When you consider that it was water that carved out the Grand Canyon, it’s worth thinking twice before building near expansive bodies of water. You do want your home to last, after all. Yes, water is a powerful and important resource – just make sure, that when it comes to your home, water is only ever a force for good.