Here in eastern Colorado and into Nebraska and Wyoming, the pandemic’s stay-at-home restrictions coupled with winter weather had us all looking more closely at the space, or lack of space, inside our homes. Basements came into their own with the possibility of adding a family room, home office, workout area, or even a fan cave.
A basement upgrade can not only add that needed space but can also add value to a home. On the flip side, if a basement has water damage, cracking walls, or flooding, it can reduce a home’s market value by up to 30 percent. Not only that, but in our recent survey, 88 percent of prospective home buyers said they would not consider buying a home in need of foundation repair.
With that background, making a smart home purchase requires careful consideration of every element that reduces or increases a home’s value. Here are our six steps to identifying potential basement issues and what to do about them.
1. Look at the Structural Integrity
Since the entire home is built on the foundation, its structural integrity rests on the basement and the interior beams and supports. If something goes wrong here, you run into safety and livability issues. Colorado soils and weather add an even further strain.
Look for bouncy or sagging upper floors along with wall cracks, gaps, sticking windows and doors, moisture issues, and crumbling cement. To help, we’ve provided a home health checklist.
For any structural damage repair options, it’s best to seek out professional experts and avoid DIY projects.
2. Check for Water Issues
Basement moisture quickly leads to mold, mildew, wood rot, and pests. All these can further lead to structural damage. Look for water stains including high-water lines along the wall or even on appliances.
Options for repair include basement waterproofing with an interior drainage system, sump pump, and dehumidifier. It’s wise to have basement professionals take care of this extensive effort that requires true experts.
3. Evaluate the Home’s Insulation
A home’s insulation has a direct impact on its energy costs. Reviewing both the attic and the basement can reveal a great deal about the quality and condition of the insulation throughout the rest of the home. Also, look at the insulation on the HVAC ductwork. This area is critical in reducing energy costs.
Rigid waterproof insulation panels that create a vapor barrier and seal against water is the optimum method for basements. This is also the best way to prepare a basement for those added space projects we mentioned above.
4. Be Aware of Pests
Insects and even rodents can find their way into a basement through cracks or openings. In addition, moisture will also attract them. If termites find the basement, their wood-boring can weaken the home’s structural supports.
Look for entryways for the pests, nests, droppings, and wood damage. Repair options include sealing any cracks and gaps that allow pests entry, as well as taking care of any moisture problems. A professional exterminator may also be required.
5. Look Over Basement Mechanical Systems
The full range of basement mechanicals includes the HVAC system, washer, dryer, water heater, and electrical circuit box. Flooding or excess moisture can cause significant damage. Plus, replacement costs can run between $6,000 and $14,000.
Watch for excess moisture and rust that point to frequent flooding. 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 determine the full amount of damage along with listing the required repairs.
6. Look at Outdoor Systems
Water collecting in the basement typically comes from outside. That includes rain and snowmelt. An outside inspection is warranted to check on the gutters and downspouts to make sure they are clear of obstructions and moving water away from the foundation. Consider installing downspout extensions.
The landscaping needs to assist in moving that water away from the basement rather than flowing toward it or collecting in pools. Look for shrub and tree roots growing into the foundation. Keep them trimmed well away from the house.
We Can Help
As you consider any basement issues, contact the professionals at Complete Basement Systems. We can provide a free inspection and repair estimate.