Throughout your house, key construction materials — things like flashing and weather stripping — work to keep rain and moisture from coming inside. As a homeowner, it’s your job to keep those materials well maintained to protect the integrity of your home. Here’s what you need to know.
Roof. The roof has plywood decking, or more likely now, a thermal board that serves as both a temperature buffer and moisture barrier. If plywood is used, then a tarpaper-type of covering is attached upon which the final shingles are installed.
Flashing. Used in places where the lines of the roof diverge, a galvanized steel trim keeps rain out.
Walls. Around the frame walls of the house, a wrap known as an envelope is installed that serves as both a moisture barrier and thermal buffer. This material is essential for keeping moisture from penetrating the walls due to humidity and temperature differences. If masonry is the outside cover, then weep holes will be placed at the bottom every few feet to allow any moisture that forms in the walls to drain out.
Weather stripping. Your windows should be tight and well caulked around the window frame. The movable part of the window, called the sash, will have rubber stripping around it to keep air and water outside. Doors also have weather stripping at the bottom edge and around the door frame for the same purpose.
Plumbing. Plumbing should have tight joints, and a wrap of insulation where it runs through outside walls. If you ever have a water leak in your home, plumbing or the roof will be the most likely culprits.
What can you do? There are steps you can take to keep your home dry in the right places. When buying a home, even a new one, have the home professionally inspected. This will provide an overall review of construction quality, including roofing and plumbing. Once you are in the home, periodically check around window sills after hard rains. When driving nails into a wall, be mindful of whether plumbing is inside. Be sure to winterize outside faucets with good insulation wrap when the cold season begins.