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The Inspector’s Basement Waterproofing Checklist

When a professional foundation and basement repair contractor conducts a basement inspection in your home, they’ll be using their experience to help you protect your financial investment as well as your family’s health. Even so, what do these inspections involve? 

Starting with The Joints

If your home is suffering from damage or a leak, your joints and walls will be the first structures to let you know something’s gone wrong. Inspectors looking over your home will start with your basement’s joints and walls when first conducting their investigation. This way, you can quickly determine what kind of problem you may be dealing with.

More often than not, your joints and walls will display their stress via cracks. There are several types of cracks that can appear in your home. These include: 

  • Horizontal cracks – Horizontal cracks let you know your home is suffering from the effects of hydrostatic pressure. As this pressure from saturated soil builds up around your home, it will cause your supporting materials to rapidly change temperature. As such, those materials will expand and contract until the stress causes them to fracture. 
  • Vertical cracks – Vertical cracks, comparatively, let you know the team that originally built your home likely used inappropriate materials, like green wood, for your supports. 
  • Diagonal cracks – Diagonal cracks form for the same reasons horizontal cracks do. However, they also indicate that one side of your home is suffering from more hydrostatic pressure or settlement than the other. 
  • Stair-step cracks – If you have a foundation or other support structures made out of brick and mortar, your pressure cracks will most likely form along mortar lines in stair-step patterns. 

If you’re in the habit of scheduling annual home inspections, you’ll be able to assess the state of these cracks relatively quickly, given your inspector’s experience with your home. However, if a professional can’t find any cracks but still suspects something’s gone wrong, they will need to keep an eye out for other signs of damage in these areas.

All of the following signs indicate that something may have gone wrong with your basement or foundation: 

  • Decreasing temperatures in your basement or crawl space 
  • Foggy windows 
  • Sticking doors 
  • Warped wooden frames 
  • Damaged belongings 
  • Mold clusters 
  • Unpleasant smells 

Checking Your Sump Pump

If your walls, supports and joints don’t show signs of damage, an inspector’s next step will be to look over your sump pump, if you have one. If your pump ends up blocked over time, or if it no longer functions as well as it used to, it may end up pumping water back into your home and adding to existing damage. 

Assessing Your Plumbing for Damage

For this same reason, an inspector will want to take a closer look at your plumbing. If your plumbing is exposed to too much moisture over the years, your pipes can begin to leak. Those leaks lend to the moisture in the air and can make caring for your home all the more difficult.

It’s easiest to determine how well your plumbing is working by testing the water pressure throughout your home. Plumbers can help you through this process or can conduct a reading for you.

Testing Your Insulation

When waterproofing your home, you will have the option of investing in hydrophobic thermal insulation. This insulation can keep moisture from entering your home during light rainstorms. That said, insulation – specifically soft fiberglass insulation – can also rapidly become a home for mold if it ends up suffering from water damage. An inspector will need to examine your insulation to determine whether it’s still doing its job or if it’s become a mold haven – and subsequently, an indicator of further damage throughout your home.

Looking at Your Foundation and Structural Supports

If you’re seeing signs of damage throughout your home but can’t visually pinpoint where that damage may have originated, then the problem may be with your foundation. This kind of damage can appear in even new homes and will need to be attended to quickly if you want to maintain a healthy quality of life – not to mention your home’s market value.

Inspections do not typically involve significant excavation throughout your home. However, it may not be possible for a professional to understand what’s gone wrong with your home until they’ve begun to address the problem at its source. Be sure to discuss your repair options with your inspector during an inspection so you can better prepare for what repairs may call for. 

Updating Your Waterproofing Measures

Finally, during a home inspection, an inspector will need to look over any waterproofing measures you already have in place to ensure they’re working as they should. Unfortunately, not all waterproofing measures are permanent, and they may need maintenance and repair from time to time. Ideally, an inspector can visit your home at least once a year to check in on the measures you have in place and replace them, if necessary. Maintaining a home in Charlotte, NC, doesn’t have to be difficult. For in-home inspections conducted by experienced professionals, you can reach out to the foundation and basement repair contractors in your area. With a free quote in hand after your inspection from experts at Mount Valley Foundation Services, you can choose which repairs and waterproofing measures will best help you protect your investment.