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2016-06-01 14:36:36
Dealing with Wet Basements

One of the top home inspection concerns, according to buyers, is evidence of water damage. Yet, more than 60 percent of homes with a basement have leaks.


Evidence of a Leak

The most common evidence of a moisture problem in your basement is the appearance or odor of mold. Sometimes mold is hidden and the only evidence of it is the odor: an earthy or musty smell. Mold may be black, white, red, orange, yellow, blue and even violet.

Check the point where the floors and walls intersect. Water damage will be evidenced by marks on the drywall or floor. The cause of this type of leak could be a faulty water heater, overflowing washing machine or even from water seeping in through cracks in the walls.

Look for evidence of scaling. When moisture gets inside of concrete, stone and stucco it causes salt deposits. These, in turn, will cause the surface of these materials to flake or peel. Salt deposits can also be identified by a white or gray power-like substance on the wall. If you see this, it's a good indicator that you've found your leak.

Other things to look for include any wood that appears to be rotting, rusty nails, buckled floors and peeling paint.


Identify the Source

Identifying the source of the leak is the first step to resolving the problem. Check to see if there are any holes around pipes where they leave the wall.

Is the yard graded away from the house? If it slopes toward the house the water will go into the basement. Getting surface water under control can be an inexpensive but important repair.

Take a look at your gutters the next time it rains, or run some water through them. If they are flooding, they probably need to be cleaned, or the downspouts may not be wide enough. Downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from the house.

Repairs

Depending upon the source of the leak in your basement, there are methods and products to repair them.  

Cracks can be filled with various epoxy products. Installing flashing, dehumidifiers, and extra downspouts may solve the problem.

Sometimes, installing a sump pump, although not a small or inexpensive project, it may be the only option left to stop the water damage to your basement.

Dampness in the basement can be devastating if not attended to. Aside from the environment it creates for mold and mildew, the very structure and integrity of the home can be at stake.

 
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