Water is Your Home’s Biggest Threat: Inspector Offers Advice for Handling Heavy Rain

With heavy rainfalls becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change, water damage poses a significant threat to homes. Whether you live in a flood-prone area or experience occasional downpours, water can be your home’s biggest enemy. WQOW TV News 18 spoke with a home inspector to gather expert advice on protecting your residence from the destructive force of water.

Waterproof Your Foundation

The foundation of your home is crucial in preventing water ingress. Start by ensuring that the soil around your home slopes away from the foundation. This helps keep rainwater from pooling next to your house and seeping through the foundation. Adding a layer of mulch or gravel can further improve drainage.

Consider applying waterproof sealants to your foundation walls. These can help repel water and prevent it from penetrating into your basement or crawl space. For an added layer of security, installing a sump pump can be beneficial, especially in areas prone to high groundwater levels.

Maintain and Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Your home’s gutters and downspouts play a critical role in channeling rainwater away from the roof and foundation. Neglecting to clean them can lead to clogs, causing water to spill over the edges and pool around the foundation of the house.

Regularly clean out leaves, twigs, and other debris from your gutters, particularly before the rainy season. Inspect the downspouts to ensure they are directing water at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation. Extensions or splash blocks can help in guiding water further away, reducing the risk of seepage.

Inspect and Repair Roofs

Your roof acts as the first line of defense against water, and a compromised roof can lead to significant water damage inside your home. Regularly inspect your roof for signs of wear and tear, such as missing or damaged shingles, cracked flashings, or loose tiles.

If you find any damage, repair it immediately to prevent water from seeping into your attic or living spaces. In areas with heavy rain, consider using weather-resistant roofing materials designed to withstand severe conditions. Regular maintenance can prolong the lifespan of your roof and keep your home dry.

Seal Windows and Doors

Windows and doors can be common entry points for water during heavy rainfalls. Inspect the seals around your windows and doors to identify any gaps or cracks that could allow water to enter. Reapply caulk or weather stripping to seal any openings effectively.

For areas that experience heavy rain and wind, consider installing storm shutters to protect your windows from breaking under pressure. Additionally, ensure that your door thresholds are properly sealed, and consider installing a door sweep for added protection.

Install a Backwater Valve

If your home is prone to sewer backups during heavy rains, installing a backwater valve can prevent raw sewage from flowing into your basement. This device automatically closes if sewage tries to back up from the main sewer system, offering a layer of protection against unpleasant and hazardous events.

Regular maintenance and professional inspections are necessary to ensure that the valve is functioning correctly, especially before the onset of the rainy season.

Invest in Home Insurance

Despite all preventive measures, sometimes water damage can be unavoidable. It is essential to have an adequate home insurance policy that covers water damage. Review your policy to understand what types of water damage are covered, and consider adding separate flood insurance if you live in a high-risk area.

Document your belongings and keep records of home improvements to make the claim process easier if your home does suffer from water damage. A comprehensive insurance policy can provide peace of mind and financial assistance in the event of a disaster.


Water may be essential for life, but when it comes to your home, it can cause devastating damage. Taking preventive measures such as waterproofing your foundation, maintaining your gutters, inspecting your roof, sealing openings, and investing in appropriate home insurance can go a long way in protecting your home from the ravages of heavy rain. By staying vigilant and proactive, you can minimize the risk of water damage and keep your home safe and dry.

Spokane Home Inspector