For armchair adventurers who would much rather be ensconced in a couch than trek on wet streets, staying home is a good way to enjoy the monsoon—sans leaking walls and musty smells, of course. A cup of hot coffee too? Why not. Take a sip and read on for a quick guide to enjoying the season in relative bliss.
START WITH THE ENVELOPE
Check for cracks that promote water leakages and moisture. They are one of the top reasons for mould and mildew. Re-paint the exterior walls with weatherproof paint to avoid damage. You could also try a water sealant, a special liquid that’s applied like paint and acts as a protective layer on concrete walls. For maximum protection, have the walls painted after the sealant is on. Keep tarpaulin sheets handy; these can be used to cover balconies during heavy rains. Clay tiles on the terrace allow water to seep through the joints, the intersection of the parapet and terrace, or through cracks if the tiles are broken. Search for weak joints and administer some tile-joint filler. Replacing damaged tiles with new ones can also solve the problem. Parapet walls need attention. Cracks on the top and sides of these have to be broken open and filled with sealants. For interior walls ensure they are treated with wall-care putty—it fills up pores or small gaps in the walls and ceiling through which water could seep in. This prevents chipping of the paint, even if the walls are damp. If there is a crack in the walls or ceiling, fill it with white cement or Plaster of Paris.
STRENGHTEN YOUR THRESHOLD
It’s common for wooden doors to swell during the monsoon season. Check for loose hinges. If necessary, re-fix them into the frame. In case a section has expanded, use sandpaper to reduce the bulge. The same can be applied for bulging drawers and cabinets. Monsoon-proof windows with a rain track, sill and gradient slope ensures that water coming at high speed flows out instead of coming in. It captures water and drains it out. Rustproof grills and railings with red oxide and a coat of paint.
Do a thorough check of the wiring and electrical connections. Ensure that there is no power overload at any electrical point. Using multi-plug bars for running multiple gadgets simultaneously may lead to short circuits, especially if there’s dampness in the walls. Get silica gel pouches (available at electrical shops) and place them near your gadgets to prevent them from getting moist.
THE INSIDE VIEW
Do away with heavy drapes; sheers allow in whatever sunlight there is during the monsoon season and also create a light, airy feeling. Moisture can damage wooden furniture; treat them with solvents and polish to ensure they stay in good condition. Dry-clean your leather or fabric sofas. Move your plants outdoors during the rains. The transpiration process (when a plant ‘sweats’ to cool itself) increases the dampness in the air inside the house. You can use traditional camphor in cupboards to get rid of moisture, opt for the very effective silica gel sachets, or the more aromatic patchouli sachets to keep your fabrics dry and fragrant. A low-voltage bulb inside the unit will also do the trick. Neem leaves are effective against silver fish, which are a common problem in the rainy season. To keep your home dry, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner.
Brighter coloured upholstery, cushions, curtains and accessories are a great way to battle the grey. Bold-shaped lamps and fresh flowers also help quickly transform spaces. Ensure your shoe cupboards are peppered with silica sachets and shoes are stuffed with newspaper to keep everything dry.
GROUND BENEATH YOUR FEET
Roll up expensive carpets. Cover them with thick plastic sheets and store away—the damp weather is not good for them. Instead, consider options such as bamboo mats or moisture-resistant acrylic carpets for the floors. Floor rugs at the doorstep ensure mud and slush is not carried into the house.