Whether caused by the ferocity of a natural disaster, or a forgotten tap left running, water damage can be a costly problem. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that flooding alone costs U.S homeowners in the region of $8 billion a year, with as little as one inch of water able to cause over $20,000 worth of damage to an average residence. Water also provides the perfect environment for mould and bacteria – it can take as little as 24 hours for microbes to begin growing in still water. Severe, lasting damage can be caused in a matter of hours, but take months to rectify.
While it is almost impossible to completely prevent damage from extreme weather, there are a number of ways that you can protect your property from everyday risks, and protect yourself against the associated repair costs. Firstly, making sure that flood damage is included in any home insurance cover is essential. Many homeowners make the mistake of assuming that this will be included as part of any standard policy, but in fact, it’s often an additional service. Needless to say, it can be well worth the nominal extra costs, should the worst happen.
Inside the house, consider the durability of your materials as well as their aesthetic appeal. Wooden floors, although a popular choice in many homes, are quick to rot after excessive exposure to water, and the same is true for carpets. Stone and tile, on the other hand, are very effective at resisting water damage. Reinforced glass and natural or artificial stone are good options for ground-floor counters, cupboards and tables, while stainless steel nails and hinges will resist corrosion.
Always shut off the mains valve before vacating your property for more than a few days. Catastrophic water damage is more likely to occur when you're not at home, but turning off the water supply greatly reduces the risk. If you're unsure where to find the mains valve, it's normally located next to the water meter.
Getting into the habit of checking roofing and piping can preempt any wear and tear or maintenance related malfunctions, tackling them before they represent a significant problem or necessitate high expenditure. The costs of hiring professionals for minor repairs is likely to be much less than the cost of restoring a flooded property. Organising regular maintenance can more than pay off when the time comes to put your home on the market, allowing you to reassure potential buyers that they're investing in a property that has been exceptionally well cared for and represents a secure investment.
To ensure that your next investment is a quality property that takes every precaution against the elements, contact Engel & Völkers. With a portfolio that covers almost 40 countries worldwide, we have experience in locating high-end homes in every climate from temperate to tropical.