Northern Ohio not only experiences lake effect snow, but it also has expansive clay soil. That moisture causes the clay soil to expand, building plenty of pressure against home foundations. Then, during the dry spells, it contracts, leaving space around the basement that rain can quickly fill. It all adds up to cracked and bowed basement walls that let in moisture and even allow flooding.
As a real estate professional, you know that wet basements keep prospective buyers away. So before you make any real estate investment, you’ll need to look for basement issues. Here’s our guide to help with that inspection.
1. Inspect Structural Support Beams and Foundation Walls
Cracks can lead to bowing and bulging basement walls, which undermines the complete structure of the home. Plus, moisture can penetrate support beams, potentially weakening them enough to present a point of structural failure. Signs of foundation problems include drywall nail pops, sticking windows and doors, sagging and tilting floors, and even mold and mildew in the basement. If you find any of these during your inspection, call a basement repair professional to identify the problems and provide repair options.
2. Look for Moisture and Water Damage
It’s all too easy in our clay soil to find that moisture has found its way into a basement. Look closely for any signs of dampness, blistering or peeling paint, cracks, and even bowing or bulging walls. You might also find mold or mildew along with a musty smell that permeates the basement. The best way to deal with a wet basement is with basement waterproofing. This uses an interior drainage system to collect the water before it does damage along with a sump pump that moves the water up and away from the basement. Foundation repair professionals can assess the full situation and recommend the right steps for waterproofing.
3. Look at Basement and Attic Insulation
Insulation and energy efficiency are the big drivers for a home’s utility bills. As you’re inspecting any home look at the easily accessible basement and attic to review the insulation. Check the basement walls for sufficient insulation. Ideally, they’re covered with waterproof insulation panels that also help protect against dampness. In the attic, review the level of insulation, adding to it or replacing it as necessary. Look also at the HVAC ductwork for any damage as well as proper insulation.
4. Search for Pest Damage
Critters get into the basement through the same cracks and gaps that moisture follows. Insects and rodents can cause considerable damage in a basement. Plus, once they’re in the home, they can easily make their way into other living areas. Look for ant nests and trails as well as termite mud tubes. You may also find rodent droppings and nests. The repair options include sealing any cracks and gaps, which can also help with moisture issues. It’s sound advice to call an exterminator for serious infestations.
5. Test the Basement Mechanicals/Appliances
Any mechanical or electrical items in the basement are at risk of flood damage. That means the washer, dryer, furnace, air conditioning unit, and water heater. Electrical outlets and circuit boxes are also subject to water damage. It’s best to have a technician test everything and make recommendations for repair and replacement options.
6. Review Outside Water Drainage
The outside drainage system covers gutters, downspouts, and landscaping. If the gutters and downspouts are clogged or damaged, the rainwater from the roof will run directly past the gutters and land on the foundation. Similarly, if the landscaping isn’t graded to allow the water to flow away from the foundation, it will instead pool around the basement walls. That builds hydrostatic pressure that eventually brings water into the basement. Clear the gutters and downspouts and make sure the landscaping is graded correctly. Also, consider underground downspout installation to really help with this challenge.
We Can Help With Any Basement Issues
As you review any basement issues with properties in northern Ohio you may be considering as an investment, contact the professionals at Ohio Basement Systems. We can provide a free inspection and repair estimate.