How can you tell whether or not your basement and foundation are healthy? Call an inspector, of course. These foundation and basement repair professionals have thorough checklists of points to look over during an inspection, from which they’ll be able to give you more information on the health of your home and whether it’s time to waterproof your home or repair the foundation.
What, though, are inspectors looking for during their walk-throughs?
Immediate Cracks or Joint Problems
Before anything else, an inspector will look over your basement for signs that either it or your foundation has cracked. Some of these cracks will be easy to spot, but others will require a little more investigation.
Some of the most common cracks inspectors may find in your basement will include:
- Horizontal Cracks
Horizontal cracks form as a result of excessive hydrostatic pressure, or the pressure that starts to build up when your home is exposed to an extensive amount of rain.
- Vertical Cracks
If a builder used green wood or other inappropriate materials when constructing your home, you may see vertical cracks start to appear throughout your basement.
- Diagonal Cracks
Hydrostatic pressure can also cause diagonal cracks to form across your foundation. These cracks reveal that one side of your home is settling or sinking faster than the other.
- Stair-Step Cracks
If your foundation is made out of brick and mortar, cracks caused by hydrostatic pressure will form along the mortar lines.
Even if there isn’t an obvious crack or leak in your home, inspectors will still want to look for the symptoms of one. Some of the signs you’ll want to keep an eye out for and report include:
- Dropping basement temperatures
- Fogged-up windows
- Sticking doors
- Warped or damaged belongings
- Unpleasant smells
- Damage to Your Sump Pump
Next, inspectors will take a look at the sump pump you have to keep your home dry. Sump pumps actively remove the water that would otherwise flood your basement. However, older and inefficient sump pump systems can clog and malfunction.
Alternatively, your sump pump can also suffer when it’s overexposed to hydrostatic pressure. In areas like Baltimore, this pressure can cause your pump to crack, releasing its kept water into your basement and flooding this area of your home.
If you don’t have a sump pump installed, it’s easy for inspectors to skip this step. However, if you frequently have to deal with medium to severe flooding in your home, most foundation and basement repair contractors will recommend investing in a sump pump in the future.
Damage to Your Plumbing
After looking over your sump pump, inspectors will want to take a look at your plumbing to ensure that any leaks you have aren’t coming from elsewhere in your home. There’s more to this step than that, though. If you’ve lived with excessive dampness for too long, your pipes may have suffered damage. Effectively, the dampness from a basement or foundation crack can cause your pipes to weaken, releasing more dampness into the air.
If you’ve noticed your water bill spiking for no reason, you may be dealing with more than just a leaking pipe. Walk through your basement with a contractor to see whether or not the weather in Baltimore is raising your bills.
Damage to Your Insulation
A leaking foundation or basement can also cause damage to your insulation. Inspectors who look your insulation over will address it both as a waterproofing measure and as a potential victim of water damage.
Some types of insulation are hydrophobic and work to keep your home dry. However, this insulation can wear out quickly and frequently needs to be replaced. An inspector will be able to tell you whether or not your hydrophobic insulation can last a little longer or if it needs to be replaced ASAP.
If your insulation isn’t hydrophobic, it can serve as the perfect nest for invasive critters or for mold particles that have flourished since your leak formed. Inspectors, again, will be able to tell you whether your insulation is safe or if it’s adding to the damage being done to your home.
Waterproofing Solutions in Need of Updating
Finally, if you have waterproofing solutions in place, an inspector will need to look them over to ensure that they’re still working as they’re supposed to be. Ideally, you’ll be working with an inspector who’s either looked over or worked on your home before. As such, the inspector will be able to assess your waterproofing solutions with a familiar eye and let you know if the time has come to replace them.
Basement and foundation inspections don’t have to be stressful. If you think you may have a leak or crack on your hands, be sure to reach out to the professional foundation and basement repair contractors working in your area for a free inspection. You won’t regret reaching out for help.