The Number 1 Most Common Destroyer of Houses

What is the most common destroyer of houses? 

Is it fire?

Is it hordes of termites? 

The most common destroyer of houses is….. WATER!

Water is the number 1 destroyer of houses

The Damage

Something as innocent and inconspicuous as water can cause and has caused foundations and structures to crumble. 

Recently I inspected a house that had a small gap between the back concrete stoop and the house structure without any flashing present.  There was a little bit of wood visible and it looked like a small maintenance issue from the outside.

Upon inspection in the crawlspace, several of the wood structural members in this area had rotted away and was in need of costly repair.  This could have been prevented by a simple, inexpensive maintenance repair before it developed into a big problem.

Damage caused by water seepage

Preventative Measures

Most of the preventative measures for moisture intrusion are simple, inexpensive, do-it-yourself projects. 


Make sure the gutters are cleaned out and the downspouts extend far enough away from the foundation.

Seal Cinder Block

If you have a cinder block foundation, be sure to tuckpoint any cracks between the foundation blocks.  This is achieved by mixing up some basic mortar and using a trowel to apply and smooth it out to fill any cracks. It might be necessary to paint the interior of the cinder block in the basement with a water-proofing hydraulic cement, such as Drylok. 

Yard Grading

The grading of the yard needs to slope away from the foundation at least 6” within the first 10’. This will prevent water from settling by the foundation. If necessary, topsoil can be purchased in large quantities at a local nursery to correct the grading away from the foundation.  Some nurseries will even deliver the topsoil. Sometimes, you can even get free fill dirt from concrete or excavating companies.

Seal Other Seams

Also be sure to do the simple things like caulking around doors, windows, capping, or any other seams or gaps where moisture intrusion could occur.


If there is a crawlspace present, make sure it has foundation vents.  Proper ventilation will help control humidity and moisture. The dirt floor will need to slope to a central location in the crawlspace where there is a sump pit and sump pump.  The dirt floor needs to be covered with a moisture barrier plastic that is at least 6mil thickness. This might cost more than the other items listed, but it’s worth it to invest a few hundred to prevent thousands in damage.  These measures will help keep the crawlspace dry and prevent the wood structural members from rotting.

Maintenance is Key

Taking these steps is vital to maintaining the integrity of the home and protecting it against the devastating effects of moisture damage.

Looking to purchase a home in the near future? Contact Cornerstone Home Inspections to check your home for moisture damage or other issues before you purchase!

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