With lower mortgage rates and rising home demand along with rising home prices, it’s prime time for real estate investments in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. However, those home investments can quickly turn sour if the basement is damaged from flooding. Here are six steps to help you quickly identify any basement issues along with what to do about them.
1. Inspect the Structural Supports
A home’s basement forms the foundation as well as support for the entire house. If something is wrong with the basement walls or support beams, it will definitely be felt throughout the rest of the house. It will show up as cracks in the interior and exterior walls, a tilting chimney with its own set of cracks, as well as tilted or sagging floors. All that also makes for doors that can’t close and windows that are stuck shut, or worse, stuck open. This is the time to call for professional foundation repair without any hesitation.
2. Search for Any Water Damage
If the foundation has challenges, it’s usually going to show up first as leaks in the basement walls from cracks. That water then leads to all sorts of problems. Watch for damp floors, musty smells, mold and mildew, and efflorescence, a chalky white powder caused by dampness. Another source of water is basement windows and window wells that haven’t been maintained, particularly the window well drainage system. Basement waterproofing involves installing an interior drainage system with a sump pump and dehumidifier. Basement waterproofing experts are the folks to call for further insight and repair estimates.
3. Review Attic and Basement Insulation
A home with cracks in the basement walls might also have a few openings in the attic insulation. Plus, those basement cracks and the resulting moisture will ruin any insulation in that part of the home. Make sure the attic has enough insulation, supplement it, or replace it as needed. Waterproof insulation panels are the perfect approach, particularly if you plan to finish the basement. They will not only provide insulation but protect against water damage. Another area to check is the HVAC ducts. They need adequate insulation as well, and any tears or rips will cause the heat or air conditioning to leak before it gets to the home’s living areas.
4. Inspect for Pests and Pest Damage
Cracks and gaps in the basement walls allow critters to enter almost as easily as they allow in water. You can expect to find ants, spiders, termites, and even small animals, including rodents. All this is extremely unhealthy and can cause structural damage. Consider termites boring into wood structural supports. Look for nests, tracks, and droppings. Seal the cracks you find and call in an exterminator to make sure all the pests are gone.
5. Test Basement Appliances
When floodwaters inundate the basement, even if they’re only a few inches deep, they are going to damage any appliances on the floor and quite possibly electrical wiring and outlets. If you find evidence of flooding, perhaps by a water line on the walls showing the highest level of water, you’ll need to at least test the appliances and quite possibly replace them. That includes the water heater, washer, dryer, and HVAC system. Bring in a technician for the testing. They can also build a required repair or replacement list.
6. Review the Outside Water Drainage
The reason behind cracks and bowing in basement walls is that hydrostatic pressure builds up from rainwater collecting around them. Clogged downspouts and gutters could be one of the reasons since water would pour directly off the roof onto the foundation. Another reason could be landscaping that causes the water to pool around the basement walls. Make sure gutters and downspouts are clear and that the landscaping is graded to move water away from the foundation. Also, consider installing downspout extensions.
We Can Help With Basement Issues
As you consider any basement issues in properties you may be considering for investment, contact the professionals at Baker’s Waterproofing. We can provide a free inspection and repair estimate.