Find Expert Help for Homes and Businesses Damaged by Storms

Bay Area Storms

Rain falling in Marin county. Photo: Jeffery Chan, 2019

 

We’re thrilled to welcome the rain home to the Bay Area. But that doesn’t mean we have to be happy about the problems rain can bring. These resources for storm damage will help you prepare for winter rains, stay safe during storms, and clean-up afterwards.

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Photo: Edge Roofing, 2019

Before, During & After the Storm

Before the storm

  • Schedule a roof inspection.
  • Make sure your rain gutter and downspout system is ready to flow.
  • Seal your home’s exterior.
  • Check your storm drains.
  • Keep your gas tank full when storms are expected.
  • Make sure everyone in your family understands your emergency plan.

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What you need to know about storms in the Bay Area

  • Flash Flooding

    Stay Safe

    Being informed is the best way to stay safe this rainy season. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know.

  • Preparing Your Home for a Wet Winter

    Get Ready

    While it’s uncertain just how much rain this weather pattern will bring, it’s a good idea to prepare your home for a potentially wet winter. Here are some important steps.

  • What to Do When a Tree Falls on Your Property

    Storm Damage

    If a tree has fallen on your property, follow these steps to remedy the situation.

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Storm Tips from Diamond Certified Experts

Jim Gardner

Jim Gardner Construction Inc.

Terry Powell

Terry’s Tree Service, Inc.

Jeremy Ke

All Seasons Construction

Mike Ross

Ross Roofing & Construction, Inc.

Robert Devengenzo

Devengenzo Landscaping & General Engineering Inc.

Blaine Munsch

Willow Creek Construction

Carlos Rodriguez

Mr. Roofing, Inc.

Dave Lopez

Advanced Roofing Services, Inc.

Steve Labourdette

Labourdette Construction

Solutions for Drainage Problems

Solutions for Drainage Problems

OAKLAND — When it comes to drainage, most homeowners don’t realize there are two different types of water that need to be addressed: surface water and subterranean water (also known as groundwater). Furthermore, these two types of water each require specific solutions to prevent subsequent problems.

Surface water solutions

For most properties, the primary source of surface water is rainwater that comes off the roof. While all homes have some form of gutter and downspout system, the downspouts on some older homes don’t properly divert water away from the structure; they just drain directly onto the ground. When this is the case, the water goes directly into the soil next to the home’s foundation, which can lead to foundation erosion and settlement over time.

To prevent this, make sure all of your downspouts are connected to piping that diverts rainwater away from your home’s structure. Ideally, all of your downspouts should terminate at least five feet away from your home. Another option is to install permanent underground drainage lines that carry rainwater to your yard or the street.

Groundwater solutions

Groundwater is water that gets beneath your foundation and, if not addressed, can seep up into your crawl space and basement. A good solution for groundwater issues is what’s called a French drain—a gravel-filled trench with piping that redirects water away from the area. To be effective, French drains need to be dug below the lowest point of wherever your drainage problems are occurring.

By addressing both surface water and groundwater, you can develop a comprehensive drainage system that protects your home exterior and foundation from related problems.

The Benefits of Proper Tree Maintenance

The Benefits of Proper Tree Maintenance

LIVERMORE — The upkeep of trees on a property is an important yet often overlooked aspect of home maintenance. In addition to having their health periodically assessed by a professional, you should keep your trees well-trimmed via regular pruning and periodic canopy thinning.

Thinning the canopy of a tree typically consists of removing elements like deadwood, cross branches and excess growth. In addition to improving a tree’s ventilation (allowing wind to pass through the tree more freely), thinning results in weight reduction, which lessens the strain on a tree’s trunk and roots. Furthermore, thinning a tree’s canopy increases sunlight exposure to its interior branches and your overall property.

When it comes to trees growing near your home, it’s also a good idea to trim branches away from your roof line. When a tree’s branches come in contact with your roof, they can provide easy access for rats, squirrels and other rodents, which can then find their way into your attic. In addition to potentially bringing various insects and diseases into your home, rodents can pose a fire hazard if they start chewing on your electrical wiring.

If you’re unfamiliar with proper tree trimming techniques, consider hiring an ISA Certified tree company to perform the task. Remember, by proactively maintaining your trees, you’ll not only make your yard a safer and more enjoyable environment, you’ll also increase the value of your home and property.

Identifying Groundwater Issues on Your Property

Identifying Groundwater Issues on Your Property

OAKLAND — Groundwater issues are a major concern in the Oakland/Berkeley area. Following heavy rains, the water that saturates the hills starts to move downward, eventually making its way toward the bay. As it travels, this water encounters a lot of home foundations. On vulnerable properties, water may be able to penetrate the foundation and seep into the crawlspace. Over time, this recurrent water intrusion can result in major damage to these below-grade areas of the home.

To prevent these kinds of issues, you should inspect your foundation and crawlspace following heavy periods of rain and check for signs of water intrusion. Here are a few things to look for:

  • White efflorescence around the foundation or in the crawlspace
  • Cracks in the ground near the foundation or in the foundation itself
  • A musty odor emanating from beneath the home

These are all indicators that water is getting into your crawlspace through your foundation. If you notice one or more of these issues, have a drainage professional take a look at your home. Often, this kind of issue can be remedied by installing French drains on either side of the home, which will prevent water from getting into the crawlspace.

Safety Tip for DIY Roof Inspection

Safety Tip for DIY Roof Inspection

MARINA — As a preventative measure, regular roof inspections are vitally important, as they provide an opportunity to catch problems like leaks and dry rot before they compromise the roof’s integrity. The frequency of inspections should depend on the roof’s age. If your roof is fairly new, it only needs to be inspected every three to five years; once it passes the 20-year mark, it should be inspected annually.

While it’s recommended that roof inspections be performed by professionals, some homeowners prefer to handle this task themselves. However, before going up on your roof, it’s critical to address safety. One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is using the wrong type of ladder to access their roofs—specifically, an A-frame ladder. This type of ladder is susceptible to tipping over when misused, which can lead to injury.

The correct type of ladder for accessing your roof is an extension ladder. Rest the ladder against the gutters or rake edge of the roof and make sure it’s positioned at a safe angle. Most importantly, tie off the ladder at the top—this will keep it anchored to the house and prevent it from tipping over.

Understanding Two-Pipe Drainage Systems

Understanding Two-Pipe Drainage Systems

LAFAYETTE — While often overlooked, drainage is nonetheless a vital functional aspect of any home. There are a few different ways to go about achieving proper drainage, but the most common method is installing a “two-pipe system.”

A two-pipe drainage system is designed to pick up water at two levels: above and below the ground. The upper pipe picks up surface water from drain inlets, as well as water washed down from the roof, while the lower pipe is designated for collecting subterranean water. During installation, the lower pipe is wrapped in filter fabric to prevent silt intrusion and then filled around by rock to maximize drainage. Altogether, a two-pipe system ensures water is collected at multiple levels and transported away from the home to the proper outlets.

Sealing Your Home Exterior

Sealing Your Home Exterior

PLEASANTON — If you own a home, you’ll want to take proactive steps to protect your investment. One of the simplest yet most impactful of such maintenance measures is to keep the exterior of your home well-sealed.

Every home exterior contains gaps, whether in door and window trim or between siding panels. When these gaps aren’t sealed, it leaves them vulnerable to moisture intrusion from rainy weather and exterior washing. The residual moisture from this water intrusion is a common catalyst for the development of dry rot, a harmful fungus that softens wood and compromises its stability. Once dry rot has gained a foothold, it can spread into your walls and flooring, creating potentially dangerous conditions.

As if dry rot wasn’t bad enough on its own, it also makes your home more susceptible to termites because they see the softened wood as an easy meal. Considering these potential consequences, it’s important to keep your home’s exterior trim and siding sealed with a high-quality caulk. Make sure the caulk you choose is intended for exterior use and reapply it as needed.

Avoiding Water Intrusion Issues with Steep and Flat Roofs

Avoiding Water Intrusion Issues with Steep and Flat Roofs

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — While water intrusion is a concern with any roof, different roof styles present different areas of concern. Here are two prevalent roof styles and the water intrusion issues commonly associated with them.

Steep roofs
Roofing contractors will often espouse the quality of a particular type of shingle, but when it comes to waterproofing a steep roof, it’s what’s beneath the shingle that matters most. Due to a steep roof’s configuration, components like flashings, underlayment and leak barriers are vital in protecting against water intrusion. While proper installation of these components can maximize a roof’s lifespan, when roofers cut corners with waterproofing, problems can begin to arise.

One common scenario is when a roofer replaces a roof’s shingles but neglects to replace flashings and underlayment, which often results in premature leaks. Likewise, citing the moderate Bay Area weather, roofers often neglect to install leak barriers in areas like valleys, skylights, chimneys and roof-to-wall transitions. However, while the local weather conditions aren’t as harsh as in other areas of the country, elements such as wind-driven rain can still lead to water intrusion issues in Bay Area homes that don’t have this added protection.

Flat roofs
Due to the superior technology used to waterproof flat roofs, flashings and other steep roof waterproofing components typically aren’t applicable. However, there’s another water-related concern when it comes to flat roofs: the home’s drainage system.

The drainage system of a flat roof home often consists of a single drain that goes through a principal wall and into a downspout, which channels all water that falls on the roof. If this drain gets clogged, it can cause water to back up and overflow inside the home. Even worse, it can create a weight issue on top of the roof and potentially lead to a structural collapse. So, if you have a flat roof, make sure you’re proactive about cleaning your gutters and drains.

The Impact of Roof Pitch on Roofing Material Selection

The Impact of Roof Pitch on Roofing Material Selection

ALAMEDA — Tar and gravel roofs have been around for a long time, but in recent years their popularity has waned. This is largely due to aesthetics, with many homeowners choosing to replace their tar and gravel roofs with composition shingles because they like the way they look. However, in some cases this can be a big mistake, because even though a roof may look good, it might not function like it needs to.

Residential roofs vary in terms of steepness (or “pitch,” as it’s known in the industry). Roof pitch is expressed as a rise/run ratio. For example, a roof that rises 6 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run has a 6:12 pitch. Some roofing materials are designed to function within a certain range of pitch in order to meet their intended lifespan. That’s why it can be a problem when a homeowner replaces their tar and gravel roof with shingles, because each of these products is designed to perform at different pitches.

To meet shingle manufacturer criteria, a roof needs to be at a pitch of 4:12 or greater to install shingles. However, many homeowners choose to install shingles even though their roofs have pitches of 2:12 or 3:12. Not only does this void any warranty the shingles might have come with, it often leads to premature failure of the roof. Over time, as rainwater runs down the roof, the shingles will start to settle and “cup” in certain areas, creating a small dam that diverts water to the left and right. Eventually, this water will get into the roof’s seam, seep in the nail holes and, once the nails rust out, make its way into the attic. This chain of events can cause the shingles on an incorrectly pitched roof to fail in as few as 10 years.

For this reason, when replacing your roof, it’s important to consider its pitch and install an appropriate product—ideally the one it was originally designed to have. If you have a tar and gravel roof, it’s wise to go with its modern equivalent, known as a “built-up” roof. Instead of gravel, a built-up roof is covered by a cap sheet, which provides a watertight layer of protection and looks a lot nicer.

The Importance of Proper Deck Waterproofing

The Importance of Proper Deck Waterproofing

SEBASTOPOL — When installing a new deck, waterproofing is a crucial aspect of attaching it to your house. By taking thorough measures to properly waterproof your deck, you can expect it to have a longer lifespan and avoid rot issues with both the deck and your house.

One of the main components of deck waterproofing is the flashing, which consists of a couple different elements. First, there’s the Z bar, which is a piece of metal in the shape of a “Z” that fits over the wooden ledger to deflect rain and moisture. Another important component is membrane flashing, which is installed under the Z bar, behind the ledger and in any area where moisture is a concern.

Siding is also important when it comes to deck waterproofing. When attaching a deck to a house, cement siding works best because it provides a solid, waterproof barrier. Often, when a contractor replaces a deck, they’ll find the house has been infected with rot due to inappropriate siding installation.

When completed, both the deck and the home will be protected by several layers of waterproofing material that include various pieces of flashing and siding. All these components work together like shingles to repel water, which will keep your deck and home safe from rot.