During the COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions, many families considered how to add more living space to their homes. Basements offer an easy upgrade by adding a family room, home office, workout area, or even a fan cave.
With that type of basement upgrade, a home’s value can increase substantially. However, a basement with water damage, bulging walls, or flooding can reduce a home’s market value up to 30 percent. In fact, in our recent survey, 88 percent of prospective home buyers said they wouldn’t buy a home in need of foundation repair.
Making smart home investments requires considering every aspect that contributes or detracts from a home’s value. Here are our six steps to identify potential basement issues and what to do about them.
1. Inspect the Building’s Structure
A home’s foundation includes the basement along with interior beams and supports. It’s essential that this structure is sound. Otherwise, you run into safety and livability issues.
Look for wall cracks, gaps, sticking windows and doors, uneven floors, moisture issues, or crumbling cement. Any disruption in the foundation could also lead to bouncy or sagging floors in the upper floors. With any severe weather, it’s a particularly good time to review for any damage due to flooding and excess rain.
To help you review, we’ve compiled a more detailed list of common basement problems. For any structural damage repair options, it’s best to seek out professional experts. This is not the time for DIY.
2. Check for Water Issues
Flooding or excess moisture in a basement leads to mold, mildew, pest infestations, and wood rot that can lead to structural damage. Look for evidence of flooding including water damage and even high-water lines along the wall. Mold and mildew are also giveaway clues. You may further find that homeowners have applied wall sealants in an attempt to fix the problems.
Repair options include basement waterproofing with an interior drainage system and a sump pump, mold cleaning, and flood vents. It’s also best to have basement professionals take care of this extensive effort.
3. Look Over the Home’s Insulation
Insulation has a significant impact on a home’s utility costs. Examining a home’s basement can often provide important insight into the quality and condition of the insulation throughout the home.
The best basement wall insulation is rigid waterproof panels that seal against water and create a vapor barrier. Also, look at the insulation on the HVAC ductwork. This area is important in lowering energy costs.
4. Be On The Lookout for Pests
Any basement cracks or opening coupled with moisture brings insects and even rodents into the home. Those insects include termites that can weaken the home’s structural supports.
Look for droppings, nests, entryways for the pests, and wood damage. Options for repair include eliminating the moisture problems along with sealing any cracks and gaps that allow pests entry. It may also require a professional exterminator.
5. Evaluate Mechanical Systems in the Basement
Home mechanical systems in the basement, including the HVAC system, can cost between $6,000 and $14,000. That’s not something you’d want to replace due to flooding. Other mechanicals include the water heater, washer, dryer, and electrical circuit box.
Watch for wet areas and rust that indicate frequent flooding and ongoing moisture damage. Look for a water line along the base of the appliances or walls that show just how high the waters have risen in the past.
If you spot these warning signs, bring in a home inspector or technician to perform any tests to ascertain the full amount of damage and required repairs.
6. Don’t Forget Exterior Systems
Rain and snowmelt all too often find their way into a home’s basement. An outside inspection can reveal damaged or clogged gutters and downspouts that need to route that water away from the foundation. In addition, the landscaping needs to be properly graded to move water away. Plus, shrub and tree roots can also cause problems.
Repair options include clearing the downspouts and gutters, properly grading the landscape, installing downspout extensions, and removing any shrubs or trees that are causing problems.
We Can Help
As you consider any basement issues, contact the professionals at JES Foundation Repair. We can provide a free inspection and repair estimate.