If you live in Cleveland, OH, then you’ve probably gotten used to the way the weather rapidly changes. Unfortunately, the foundation of your home isn’t able to adjust as quickly as residents are. As a result, your foundation may fall victim to the weather’s ever-changing whims.
If you suspect that your foundation or basement has been damaged by Ohio’s weather, you’ll need to request an inspection from one of your local basement and foundation repair contractors. These inspections are usually pretty straightforward, but they may be mysteries to the uninitiated.
What, then, do inspectors look for while assessing your basement?
Looking Over Your Joints and Cracks
To get started, inspectors will look through your basement for obvious signs of a crack – such as the crack itself. These cracks tend to form along the joints of your home, but it is possible for them to form in more difficult-to-spot places, too.
Some of the most common cracks that inspectors are able to identify include:
- Horizontal Cracks – Horizontal cracks form as a result of extensive hydrostatic pressure, or the stress that impacts the foundation of your home when it’s exposed to ground and rainwater for an extensive period of time.
- Vertical Cracks – Vertical cracks form in your home when a builder’s inappropriately used materials, like green wood, start to fall victim to the negative impacts of moisture.
- Diagonal Cracks – Diagonal cracks form for the same reasons horizontal cracks do, but they are also indicative of uneven settling throughout your home.
- Stair-Step Cracks – If your foundation is made out of brick and mortar, the aforementioned hydrostatic pressure your home is exposed to will cause your foundation to crack down its mortar lines.
Even if an inspector can’t spot a physical crack, there may be signs throughout your basement that indicate that some kind of damage has been done to your home. Symptoms of a leaking basement that both you and a contractor can keep a lookout for include:
- Dropping basement temperatures
- Fogged-up windows
- Sticking doors
- Warped or damaged belongings
- Unpleasant smells
Checking the State of the Sump Pump
If you use a sump pump to keep your home dry, your inspector is going to want to look it over to check for any clogs or damage. A damaged sump pump can not only stop removing water from your home, but it can also put the whole of your yard at risk for extensive damage. Be sure to talk to your contractor if your sump pump’s been working more slowly over the past few months.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a sump pump, inspectors will skip this point on their checklists.
Checking Your Plumbing For Damage
A leak threatens more than just the structural integrity of your home. If you don’t notice that your foundation or basement is leaking, your pipes could soon start to endure damage, too. Pipes that are exposed to excessive external dampness can start to falter and leak, compounding the moisture already negatively impacting your home.
Inspectors on site will be able to look over your pipes and their joints to see if the dampness you’ve felt in your basement is hiking your water bill or if any problems in your home lie elsewhere.
Inspecting Your Insulation
You can use insulation to create a hydrophobic barrier between your basement and the soil outside of your home. Whether you do or not, though, your inspector is going to have to look your insulation over when looking for a leak. Why? Because even when it’s not actively working as a waterproofing solution, the state of your insulation can impact the health of your home. If it’s been damaged as a result of basement dampness or a leak, your insulation can harbor mold particles or even critters. An experienced inspector will let you know when it’s time to replace your insulation or if you’ll be all right for a few more years to come.
Should You Be Worried About Foundation Damage?
Not all leaks are a sign that your foundation has suffered damage. However, if a basement inspector is unable to find a crack in your basement, they’re going to have to look deeper. It’s possible that your home may have endured structural damage as a result of extensive hydrostatic pressure – but you won’t know until you’ve undergone a professional assessment.
Looking Over Old Waterproofing Solutions
Finally, regardless of whether or not there’s a sign of a true leak in your home, your inspector will have to take a look at any waterproofing solutions you’ve had implemented in the past. Unfortunately, not all of these solutions are permanent, and you may not be able to tell at a glance when the time comes to update them.
Don’t wait for a leak to up and disappear. If you suspect that your home’s fallen victim to water damage, reach out to a Cleveland, OH, contractor as soon as possible. These inspectors will be able to bring their expertise into your home and help you overcome the unique challenges your leak presents.