Finally! The summer is here! Children finished the school year, longer days, warmer weather, and hopefully for most of us some vacation time to chill out and to slow down. Over the past year, I have written on many topics as related to keep our homes in tip-top shape and avoid expensive repairs. I received several calls related to the articles and am quite pleased that Bodeck Home Inspections was of assistance. 

Summer is a great time to do a “look-see” on all the “systems” (ex. electrical, roofs, HVAC, plumbing) that make up a home. My personal favorite topic to discuss are roofs. Why roofs?  Because a roof is the one system that keeps us dry and safe. This time of year, weather can turn nasty and sometimes violent (hurricanes, tornados, etc.). The northeast has seen its fair share of these destructive storms. Many of us just love a good rainstorm! The crackling sound of the thunder and flashes of lighting, as we are safe and dry inside our homes. But, after the storm has passed, we may start seeing puddles around our windows and doors. Ceilings are damp and paint starts to bubble. Then we start to dread when we hear the weather folks predict more rain! Well, readers, a strong suggestion: Do a walkthrough of your home. Look around the windows and see if paint or wood is damp. Look at the ceilings and take note if paint is bubbling. Check the outside of your home as well for vulnerable spots that water can enter your home. Are the leaders and gutters dripping? Do you see runny black or stained marks that may run along the house? These are all signs that water is not draining away from your home. Its important to understand the difference between water-resistant vs. waterproof. This is a source of confusion for many people. What’s the difference? A very popular home improvement website offers an excellent explanation:

If you’ve ever been shopping for a particular product and the manufacturer markets it as “waterproof,” that product should be totally sealed or protected from the effects of water. Good old H2O won’t penetrate or affect the product at all.

For instance, a plywood boat would need a waterproof finish to keep it from deteriorating while it’s in constant contact with water. The finish creates a barrier that keeps water from soaking into the wood and weakening it or causing a leak.

Similarly, a basement waterproofing product would seal water out, keeping it from getting into the basement. This could be a rubber membrane on the outside of the foundation, an epoxy coating on the inside, or several other types of products. The point is that water cannot seep through the seal.

Water resistant is very different from waterproof. Items that are water resistant will repel the effects of water to a point. After a period of exposure, or a certain amount of pressure, water will either soak the item or seep through. When it comes to building materials, a water-resistant material, such as pressure-treated lumber, will combat the effects of water, but it won’t prevent water from passing through. Once the water soaks the lumber, it will seep through to the other side.

There are plenty of materials at your local home store that are water resistant, and they’re typically used for exterior applications or ground-level installations. These materials include pressure-treated lumber and plywood, certain metals, and masonry materials.

While these products resist water, they’re still susceptible to water damage. Pressure-treated lumber can take on water, and should it freeze inside the wood, it can cause cracking and splitting. Also, continued exposure to moisture can wear the lumber’s water, insect, and weather resistance down.

Likewise, some metals and masonry materials can be considered water resistant because they won’t let water pass through, but the water eventually leads to wear and corrosion.

The point of all this information is that your roof - despite repelling water away from your home - is not waterproof! A brand-new roof can be damaged as badly as an older roof. To sort this out, as well as other home-related issues, is to call in a home inspector for a limited, targeted inspection to determine its viability. A great, affordable option is a four-point inspection (roof, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC) every few years for the entire home. The inspection looks at these four areas for general function, safety issues, age, and miscellaneous issues insurance underwriters typically would want to know. They are relatively inexpensive and will save you money in the long run.

Wishing all you a restful, fantastic, safe summer.

Jay Aron is a licensed NYS Home Inspector, and seasoned Electrical Engineer, and owner of Bodeck Home Inspections in Kew Gardens Hills. He is available for home inspections including houses, condos, and co-ops. For more information, call 516-417-6111 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..