The Power of Water
As the water continues to rise this week in Houston, TX and the surrounding area, our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by Hurricane Harvey. As you’ve probably heard by now, this historic storm dumped not inches, but FEET of water over a short amount of time, with some places receiving three feet of rain in just a couple days. No doubt a storm of this magnitude would be devastating wherever or whenever it occurred, but it is still heartbreaking to see the damage caused by our most bountiful resource. The entire Sharp Homes Team sends our best wishes to everyone involved in this natural disaster, those brave men and women continuing to provide emergency services, and to all those who will help with the clean up and restoration.
Water is one our most basic needs and one of the few elements that can give life as quickly as it takes it away. Floods like those in Houston this past week are ever present reminders of how little control we actually have over our surroundings. Even on a smaller scale of a roof or pipe leak, water seems to be almost magical with its power to destroy and work around or into every nook and cranny. Anyone who has had to trace a leak in their home can tell you that water can travel forwards, backwards, up and down walls, and across several feet of wall before making an appearance. It can be an impressive sight! So what can you do in and around your home to help prevent water issues?
The pessimistic view (or maybe realistic view) is that no home or structure is safe from the power and force of Mother Nature and water. If water wants to get into your home, it will find a way. Whether driven by 80 mph gusts or the swells of a flooded creek, there simply is no guarantee or product available to 100% protect your home – while keeping it livable, accessible, and up to your local HOA standards.
In practice, however, there are steps you can take – and Sharp Homes does – with your home that can help eliminate opportunities for water intrusion.
First is the foundation walls and the support system around them to keep your basement dry. We use only the highest quality foundation crews for all of our basements, but more importantly we use a waterproofing system (in lieu of the standard damp proofing) that completely seals your foundation from the outside as a first barrier against moisture. This system comes with a 10 year warranty that provides an extra level of comfort for your new home. Additionally, we use high quality drain tile back filled with gravel to direct any water near your basement to go around the foundation walls, through the drain tile to your sump pump. As an option, we can add a water source backup pump to your standard sump pump that will keep your pump running in the event of a power outage.
The next level of protection is the site grading and location of your home. Wichita and both Sedgwick and Butler Counties do a lot of work with master drainage plans and new developments to account for storm water runoff, ensuring home are placed in a way as to not be lower than surrounding home, nor too high and thus pushing water off onto their neighbors. As a builder, Sharp Homes must prove through independent, licensed surveyors that your home meets or exceeds the minimum requirements.
Finally, all of our homes are built with the highest quality materials and best building practices from the ground up to help prevent water intrusion into your new home. We use water resistant bottom plates to prevent water damage to your walls and we mindfully wrap your house (and all penetrations) completely in a moisture barrier system. Our expectations and selections of our “base” products, vendors, and subcontractors are always evolving to make sure our homeowners are getting the best quality product, installed by the most discerning craftsman, and backed by a world class warranty. We also work hard to get all of our home “dryed in” as soon as possible. This means getting a home framed, wrapped, and roofed quickly which helps to limit the exposure of the framing and sub floor to the elements, including moisture. While it is not bad for these elements to be exposed, it certainly helps prevent problems down the road if they remain as dry as possible.
In the end, we take all the steps we can to protect a new home from the elements both during construction and for the life of the home through our choices in materials and building partners. While there is no way to prevent what Mother Nature may bring to your neighborhood, you can rest assured that a Craig Sharp built home has the best chance at standing tall after it’s over.
If you would like to help the thousands of fellow Americans devastated by Hurricane Harvey, please visit the Red Cross Donation Page here: http://rdcrss.org/2xA7G11