It’s amazing to think that something as life-giving as water can also be so destructive. And it’s something thousands of Canadians discover each year.

Whether you’re dealing with a simple leaking tap, or a catastrophic water event, the importance of properly waterproofing your home cannot be emphasised enough.

Between 2009 and 2014, it is estimated that insured losses from catastrophic events were around $1 billion a year. Most of this was due to water damage. That’s a staggering amount of money!

Even if you are insured, it can still end up costing you dearly. There’s the disruption, stress, and heartache caused by losing your home and/or possessions. In all likelihood, your insurance premium will increase, too.

Waterproofing Your Home

Of course, it’s not possible to control the weather or the occurrence of natural disasters. But it is possible (and highly recommended) to be prepared.

Properly waterproofing your home or business is one way you can protect against the ravages of water damage.

The other positive action you can take is to always, always fix water-related problems – such as a dripping tap – promptly. The tap, washing machine or shower may only be leaking slightly, but it’s enough to cause damage.

What’s more, who’s to say that while you’re out at work, that tap doesn’t let go completely and flood your home!

Fixing water damage and properly waterproofing your home is really a job for the professionals. Sadly, too many people try and save a few dollars by fixing the problem themselves, only to find the damage is worse than they thought.

What could be fixed for a low cost can quickly become a major water damage restoration job.

Grades of Water Damage

Water damage experts in Toronto recommend at least getting a second opinion before trying to remedy the problem yourself. For example, there are different grades of water damage, ranging from clean water to black water, or sewage.

Clean-up is harder than you think and can take a while to do. You need to dispose of ruined belongings and move other items away from the affected area. Then you can start to remove the water from your home or business.

In the case of a small, clean water flood, many homeowners decide to do the work themselves, thinking that once it’s done, everything will be fine. But there are other issues to face.

For example, did you know that mould can start growing within 24-72 hours of the event happening? Mould is a bacterial growth that can create a dangerous health situation.

Dealing with Hazardous Materials

If the damage has come from grey or black water, you could also be dealing with hazardous material, which could make you very sick indeed. This is a particular worry if there are children or elderly people living in the home.

Don’t think for one moment that this only occurs after a catastrophic water event. The same problems can be caused by a leaking roof that has been left unfixed. In many cases, the homeowner may be completely unaware of the leak.

Make a habit of regularly checking over your property, looking for tell-tale signs of water leaks. These can include stains on the walls or ceilings, cracked plaster, or an unpleasant odour.

Watch your family’s health, too. If they seem to be experiencing higher-than-normal incidences of coughing and sneezing, asthma, headaches or skin rashes, there could be a water leak in your home.

Common Waterproofing Mistakes

Practically all of these problems could be history if your home had proper waterproofing systems in place. Sadly, too many homes don’t.

Both builders and homeowners make mistakes. For example, common errors include using the wrong type of sealant or paint or sealing the wrong areas.

We often come across homes that have major waterproofing issues in the basement, and there are many causes. It might be that the owner or builder hasn’t sloped the dirt away from the building.

Or they may have made the common mistake of sealing the seam where the walls meet the floor. This cures the immediate problem but forces the water to go elsewhere.

One of the most common mistakes is not properly managing run-off from the roof. Consequently, rain and moisture will work its way down into your walls.

Another is inadvertently damaging waterproofing membranes – usually in the bathroom or shower area. This usually occurs when someone adds a shelf or other fitting and pierces the membrane with a nail or screw.

Always choose an appropriate tile or stone for wet areas and be sure to do a proper flood test before using the area.

Property Maintenance is Key

A very common cause of water damage is burst pipes. This can usually be avoided if property maintenance is carried out on a regular basis.

Remember, old pipes start to wear or rust, and drains regularly get blocked. But if you keep an eye on the plumbing, you can fix things before they break!

In Toronto, of course, we have the added challenge of dealing with very low temperatures. It is common for frozen water pipes to burst as the ice expands.

Often where householders go wrong is simply choosing the wrong contractor! Always choose contractors who specialise in this type of work. If you don’t, you could end up paying a lot of money for a bad job.

Take Preventative Steps

For Toronto water damage, it’s recommended you choose a contractor who not only specialises in repairing and preventing water damage, but also offers an emergency service. The very nature of water damage is that it often happens very quickly, with little warning.

The point is, if you own a property, it’s pretty likely that you will have to deal with water damage at some point. And the sooner the problem is fixed, the smaller it will be.

Don’t just put it on the ‘to do’ list and forget about it. The consequences of this action will be expensive – and not only in terms of repair.

You are likely to lose valuable furnishings, artworks, electrical items, furniture, and other items.

Prevention is better than cure, so take steps now to protect your property from water damage. Check all plumbing and appliances, gutters and downpipes, roof and window seals.

And if you think you may have a water damage problem, call in the professionals!