We live in Florida and I always like to let my clients know at every Windermere home inspection that they need to protect the home from flooding and water intrusion!

Believe it or not the biggest reason for water intrusion in Florida is roof damage which causes major leaks and issues on the inside of the home. The weather here in Florida is very hot and very wet and your house is like a boat, you want to keep all the water on the outside. 🙂

4 Major Culprits Causing Water Damage in Your Home

There are several ways that your home could actually have water damage. The 4 major ones that I see all the time in the homes I inspect are…

  1. Poor window caulking,
  2. Stucco cracks and
  3. Improper stucco applications which have openings that allow for water intrusion
  4. Poor drainage collecting at the foundation from roof drainage – many times a French drain is needed to divert the water away from the foundation.

This means that you want to make sure your windows and doors are properly caulked and that weather stripping is in good condition.

The number one place of water intrusion that I find in homes is through where the caulking has separated at the doors and windows.

The second thing I look to see is if there is proper drainage around the foundation of the home, making sure that roof run off of rain water is not landing right next to the foundation or that the gutter downspouts do not empty right at the edge of the foundation. If they do this will cause erosion and possible settlement problems along with the possibility of water intrusion.

This will cause the home to settle, maybe not enough to cause structural damage although it is possible, but water at the edge of the foundation is the main culprit for stucco cracking. Stucco is just a thin layer of cement. Any movement at all will cause the stucco to crack.

Water can go through a stucco crack and through a concrete block wall to the home’s interior. If you have stucco cracks, they should be sealed with caulk and then the caulk painted over.

Gutters are a Florida home owner’s best friend because they help keep the ground dry at the foundation, (which in Florida is usually just sand) but the downspouts should be extended away from the buildings foundation.

Excessive water around the foundation can not only cause settlement and erosion issues but when the ground is saturated, the hydro-static pressure of the water in the ground can push the water up between the stucco/siding and the foundation and cause water intrusion into the home.

The last thing to check for possible water intrusion is the roof.

Many people think that because they put a 40 year shingle on their roof that they will not have to worry about the roof for at least 35 years. Well, that may be true in other parts of the United States, but not here in Florida.

We have one of the harshest climates for roofing. With the excessive heat, high winds, and heavy rains, (and these are besides the hurricaines) most roofs will not last 20 years. Many roofs start to shows signs of needing maintenance around 13-15 years of age. That’s why if you are looking to purchase a home or even a business in Florida you want to get your roof inspected by a certified roof inspector.

It is around this time that exposed nail heads will have rusted and have the ability to allow rain to enter into the nail hole and cause leaking.

By 18 years, low quality shingles will be dried out and start lifting causing them to blow off in high winds and thus needing replacement. Florida changed its building code in 2017 that now requires the edge of the roof to be sealed with tar. Roofs that were installed before 2018 are susceptible to wind blowing rain under the shingles at the roofs edge causing water damage to the decking.

If you have this issue and the shingles are not ready to be replaced, you can take a tube of roofing tar and a caulk gun and seal the edge of the roof so that it is sealed from high winds and water intrusion.

How is your home standing against water intrusion?