Water should stay on the outside

images-2It is that time of the year again and we will start getting  panic calls. My windows leak, my door lets in water, my roof leaked and so on. When we ask when was you roof last sealed, quite often the answer is gee I don’t know. You should know and you should check your roof on a regular basis, to make sure there are no cracks forming.  A properly built home, should not leak, sure water may blow under the front door. But the roof and walls should be secure. Obviously, I understand the floors here are tile and the buildings block and concrete, so even if it gets in, it is no real issue, but it should not happen, water should stay on the outside, in anything short of a hurricane.

I will start by talking about doors. Which seems pretty simple, but it is not. If you have a wood front door, sooner or later you may have issues, as the wood shrinks when dry and swells when wet, creating a loose fit or a tight fit, season depending. In the old days, when fishing boats were made of wood, they had to keep watering down the insides of the boats, when they were hauled for repair, to avoid shrinkage. You can imagine the problems of putting a dried out wooden boat, back into the water, as it takes a few days for the wood to swell to normal. Well, your door is no different, it sits in the beautiful sunshine for weeks and then suddenly needs to seal against the rain. It simply is not going to happen, it is going to leak.. Then there is the issue of the floor under the door, if it raises ever so slightly as it goes inward as it should, a door will bottom out before it gets fully open. But since we want water to run out of a house and not into a house. It should be sloped and the door needs to be a little bit off the floor, to accommodate the rise in the floor. That is why the bottom of your door, should have a good rubber sweep. It keeps the rain out, as well as a lot of bugs. But they harden over time and need to be replaced, every so often. The best door to use here is a metal skinned one, they don’t shrink or swell. They are very secure and never need painting, unless you want a pink one. They can make a very good seal as well, if you use self adhesive foam weather stripping on the closing edges of the door jamb.

How about windows? If they are wood you will have the same issues. A properly fit and caulked aluminium window, will not leak no matter how hard it rains. Proper windows have drain holes at the bottom outside of the casement and the outer raised lip is lower than the inside raised lip. Rain can never rise up high enough to go inward before it spills over the lower lip if the drain hole get plugged or overcome by rain volume. I have a seaward window, that looked like it was being hit with a fire hose the other day and guess what? Not a single drop inside. A proper window makes all the difference. Sliding glass doors are actually big windows, so the same principals apply. Proper caulking and manufacture and they will not leak.

Since for the most part when it rains here, it is accompanied by strong winds, all your windows and doors should have an awning over them, concrete ones are simple and cheap and there are various aluminium or tile styles too. It just adds a little rain protection by itself, but there is a hidden advantage, if you have aluminium hurricane shutters. Even in the hardest rain and driving winds you can leave windows open, with the shutters closed for air circulation. If the top of the shutter is close to the awning, no rain can get on top and the shutter itself is the barrier. Sliding doors are a little bit wetter, as the rain can bounce off of the ground up under the bottom of the shutters. But, I simply put flat plastic panels at the bottom of the screens to prevent splashing. The shutters have the added advantage of being a great theft deterrent, if you happen to be away, as well.

If you are having water get into your house when it rains, you shouldn’t and it is not too difficult to prevent. If you need serious help give us a call.

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