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Heavy rains are here; how to keep your home dry

A home waterproofing professional tells Home Matters how to keep your home dry in the Northwest's rainy season. (KIRO Radio/Josh Kerns)

Heavy rains have already arrived in the Northwest, this week Home Matters brought in a home waterproofing expert with tips for how to keep your home dry.

Aaron Calvo, from Perma Dry Waterproofing, shared some tricks of the trade that he’s learned in 12 years of home waterproofing.

A good first step he suggests in ensuring your home is set up to withstand Northwest rains is to check how water is draining from your roof.

“Where does the water from your roof, once it comes down to the ground, end up? A lot of people walk around the house and they go, ‘Oh well it goes into a pipe.’ But that’s about as far as the thought in their mind goes,” says Calvo.

Calvo recommends homeowners run water through their downspouts to see whether the water is draining away from the home properly.

“A homeowner can go around on a Saturday afternoon and put a garden hose down in these pipes in the ground, let them run for 10 minutes, either that drain is going to back up on them pretty much instantaneously and spill a bunch of water around the foundation, or they’re then going to put water down it, then they can go in their basement, if they’re brave enough they might get into their crawl space, and they’re going to go looking for this water.”

Residences with yards sloped toward the house are especially at risk for challenging water situations. In these cases, Calvo recommends considering a French drain.

“You’re talking about a 12 inch deep trench with a perforated pipe, and then gravel to replace the dirt that you’ve taken out. You’re trying to divert the water away from the house,” says Calvo.

“My opinion is that if you’ve got a sloped yard that’s running toward your house, a French drain in your yard to help divert the waterway is a real healthy and important thing.”

If water does somehow get into the home, Calvo says it’s important to do what you can quickly to contain the problem.

“When it’s raining, companies like mine are really hard to get out there today. We can go weeks and weeks before getting to somebody.”

In that case, he recommends homeowners take a few actions to limit the mold growth and other damage that can come as a result of the water.

“Your entire carpet could be saturated. You’ve got to get it out of your house. You’ve got less than 24 hours before mold beings to grow on an organic material,” says Calvo. “Take that stuff out of there, dump it out, and put it in your driveway because it’s not going to do you any good just sitting, mildewing in your basement.”

If the walls appear wet, Calvo also recommends opening up sheet rock to allow the backs of walls to dry. As it may take some time for professionals to arrive in a heavy, wet season, it’s important to do what you can quickly to prevent further damage.

Perma Dry Waterproofing is a sponsor of the Home Matters Show heard on KIRO Radio on Saturdays at 8 a.m., Sundays at 6 a.m. Available anytime ON DEMAND at

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