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Sometimes it pays to listen to advice- minor house flood

We had a little flood upstairs in our house last week. It meant repairs, ripping up some carpet, fans to dry things out…

I’d like to blame faulty construction or maybe an act of God. But the reality is this- we (mostly I) ignored some good advice, and paid the price.

We live in the lower mainland of British Columbia. We are essentially in the middle of a coastal rainforest: mild climate, lots of greenery, and lots of rain. This means that maintaining your roof and gutter system is a big deal. A year ago we had some service work done on our roof- replacing the cap shingles, sealing some things, that kind of thing. We had noticed some moisture in the basement that year, and the roof work was our attempt to prevent further recurrences. The roofing guy said our roofing was basically okay- but that we really should look at having our eavestroughing cleaned twice a year.

Twice a year?! That’s crazy talk! I don’t have a head for heights and, besides, there are parts of our roof that are over 30 feet off the ground at over 30 degree angles- that’s not something I want to do. So we hire someone to do the work- its a couple hundred bucks usually, but seems worth it . In the five (going on six) years we’ve lived here, we’ve had the gutters cleaned four or five times. Back in Alberta where I was born, that would be nearly a lifetime of gutter cleaning…well, if you are lazy like me it would be.

Needless to say, our roof leak was due to overflowing gutters. This was compounded a bit by a rodent hole. The rodent (squirrel) hole had been wired shut during our “humane” de-squirreling a couple of years ago, but the small hole was still there- no problem, though, unless something was seriously wrong with the gutters.

The service guy found the problem in a couple minutes, unblocked the gutters, and told us that we should have our gutters cleaned twice a year. We have two 100 foot cedars behind the house, and lots of smaller trees…and of course all the rainfall you could possibly want. He also gave us me some advice re: pulling up the carpets, keeping the room cold, running a dehumidifer, and running a fan to dry out the soaked area.

This time, Irene and I are going to do our best to heed the gutter-cleaning advice. There wasn’t any serious damage from this flood- the water flowed in to an attic crawlspace, and the water that reached the games room was limited: a few gallons, maybe a quarter to half an inch over the area you see in the picture. Not enough to pool over the carpet, but enough to “fill” the carpet and underlay in that area. Its taken a week to dry out…

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