Here in central and southern Ohio, we’re blessed with loam soil. It’s a very stable soil that helps provide a solid base for any type of home foundation. Even so, heavy rains, erosion, and construction challenges can lead to basement issues.
The chief concern is the clay bowl effect, which is the result of excavation for the basement followed by backfilling the loose soil around the basement walls. That loose soil naturally absorbs more water than the hard-packed undisturbed soil, essentially forming a bowl that gathers water around the foundation.
That water can then build up hydrostatic pressure, causing cracks and finding its way into the basement. Real estate professionals know that a damp or wet basement can keep prospective buyers away from what is otherwise a very attractive property.
Before making any real estate investment, it is best to inspect for basement issues. Here are our six steps to guide that inspection.
1. Inspect the Structural Supports
Moisture in the basement can easily extend to wooden support beams, weakening them and setting up a potentially catastrophic failure. Likewise, bowing or bulging basement walls are merely one or more stages away from breaking up leading to flooding and foundation collapse. The early signs of these problems include doors and windows that won’t close, cracks in interior and exterior walls, ceiling cracks and openings, as well as sagging or tilting floors. A basement repair professional can identify the source of the problems and suggest repair options.
2. Check for Water and Moisture
Check the basement for any signs of water or moisture. That should include efflorescence, which is a chalky white substance, or mold and mildew growing on the walls. Look for blistering or peeling paint on the walls, cracks, or even bowing and bulging. The floor may also show signs of staining or standing water. All this can be addressed through basement waterproofing composed of an interior drainage system that captures water before it gets to the basement and removes it with a sump pump system. Work with foundation repair professionals to address any needed repairs.
3. Review the Home’s Insulation
Winter and summer in Ohio don’t usually bring moderate temperatures. Instead, it’s cold and windy or hot and humid. That’s why we need adequate insulation throughout the home to keep warm air inside in the winter and cool air inside in the summer. It also goes a long way toward reducing utility bills. Check the basement walls for adequate insulation, as well as the attic. In the basement, waterproof insulation panels are ideal. In the attic, you can add more insulation or replace the existing insulation.
4. Search for Pests and Their Damage
Pests find their way into the basement the same way that moisture finds its way there, through cracks and gaps in the basement walls. Look closely for nests and droppings from rodents. You may also find termite mud tubes as well as ant nests and trails. Critters in the basement are not only unhealthy, but they can also cause significant damage. Think about termites boring their way into wooden support beams. Repair starts with sealing the cracks and removing the moisture. A basement repair specialist can deal with those, but you may also need an exterminator for serious pest infestations.
5. Test the Basement Mechanicals
Basement mechanicals cover water heaters, washers, dryers, furnaces, and air-conditioning units. Any flooding or dampness can have an adverse impact on these items. Moisture can also lead to rust on electrical circuit boxes and other items that are well above the level of any flooding. Have a technician test the mechanicals, diagnosing any problems and building a list of required repairs.
6. Check the Outside Water Drainage Systems
Water in the basement has usually arrived there from the outside. That is unless there are plumbing leaks, which you also need to check. The outside drainage system consists of gutters, downspouts, and landscaping. The gutters and downspouts need to be free of any obstructions. Otherwise, the water flows directly off the roof onto the foundation. The landscaping needs to be graded to facilitate the flow of water away from the foundation. Also, trim trees and shrubs away from the foundation and make sure they are planted far enough away to prevent root damage.
We Can Help With Any Basement Issues You Find
As you consider any basement issues in properties in the southern and central Ohio area you may be considering as an investment, contact the professionals at Ohio Basement Authority. We can provide a free inspection and repair estimate.