Summer weather conditions such as humidity and hurricanes can take a toll on homes and properties if not properly protected.
Weather damage to the home can range from saturated crawl spaces and insulation to decaying wood framing and even mold in some spaces. But experts say there are steps homeowners can take to mitigate some of the potential damage from storms, flooding, and humidity.
Organizations in South Carolina have spent millions of dollars repairing homes damaged by floods and hurricanes in recent years. Reports from the South Carolina Office of Resilience show the agency completed more than $ 765,000 worth of work in Charleston County following Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and more than $ 4 million after the millennial floods of 2015 .
Ninety-two households turned to the state disaster recovery office in Charleston County for help after Matthew and more than 200 after the flood.
Brad Hibbard, managing director of Mount Valley Foundation Services in Charleston, said erosion and water saturation are two major issues homeowners face in the Charleston area.
During the summer, it is not uncommon for a large amount of rain to fall in a short period. The erosion that sometimes occurs after an event like this can cause houses to settle, which could require foundation repairs, Hibbard said.
And because of the high humidity at this time of year, when a crawl space becomes saturated with water after a rain, it often stays that way and the porous wood soaks and eventually rots and decomposes.
“And the way to eliminate or at least minimize the amount of damage that this type of weather can cause is to protect that investment up front,” Hibbard said.
In July, the average selling price of single-family homes in Charleston County was $ 685,212, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors. There are over 200,000 National Flood Insurance Program policies in South Carolina, mostly concentrated around population centers along the coast.
Flood insurance is not compulsory everywhere.
Hibbard recommends that homeowners take additional steps to protect their properties. He said crawl space encapsulation and proper drainage can help solve some of the problems that summer weather can create.
This could include installing pumps or drainage tiles. Hibbard said the encapsulation prevents moisture from entering crawl spaces. So on days when humidity is high outside, it is kept at a healthy level in the crawl space.
Pumps help drain and keep standing water away from homes. In turn, it helps protect any wood in the crawl space and the home in general.
Installing rock beds all around a home’s foundation is also a way to prevent damage, according to advice from Mount Valley Foundation Services. This allows water to seep into the ground and prevent cracks. Since the foundation soil will have enough moisture, it will not crumble or cause settling as easily.
Hibbard said he noticed that erosion from flooding was one of the main causes of the homes being installed. When this happens, the soil under the concrete footing is washed away over time because the water continuously pours down to the bottom of the foundation of the house.
In addition to creating problems with crawl spaces, high humidity can cause low points in floors, denting and noisy wood, and can lead to cracks in walls and ceilings. Doors and windows that are difficult to open or close can also be signs that a house’s foundation could be damaged.
Homes along the entire east coast are susceptible to this damage due to the climate and type of weather conditions experienced in the area, Hibbard said. But early identification of foundation damage is important. And humidity control is the key to avoiding major damage.
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