Whether your home is prone to water damage or not, you’ll want to get in the habit of scheduling an annual basement inspection. These inspections can help you stay on top of any potential damage.
What are inspectors on the lookout for, and how can you best prepare your home for their visits?
Your Joints and Cracks
The joints of your home are particularly sensitive to water damage. To start off your inspection, a professional will look to these areas while also attempting to identify any obvious cracks or signs of damage.
There are several types of cracks that can manifest in your home. The most common you may have to deal with include:
- Horizontal cracks – These cracks are often the result of excessive hydrostatic pressure around the perimeter of your home.
- Vertical cracks – These cracks tend to appear when your structural supports have begun to suffer. Vertical cracks can also be a sign that the team who built your home used inappropriate materials, such as green wood, to support the heavier parts of your home.
- Diagonal cracks – Diagonal cracks tend to form for the same reasons horizontal cracks do. However, these cracks also indicate that one side of your home may be setting unevenly and more prone to water damage than the other.
- Stair-step cracks – If you have a brick-and-mortar foundation or basement supports, stair-step cracks can form along the more sensitive lines.
Under ideal circumstances, you’ll be able to invite an inspector out to your home before any of these cracks form. If this is the case, then an inspector can look for any of the following signs to determine the likelihood of your home falling victim to water damage:
- Decreasing temperatures in your basement
- Foggy windows
- Sticking doors
- Warped wooden frames
- Damaged belongings
- Mold clusters
- Unpleasant smells
Note that these are also signs of existing damage in your home as well. You’ll need to communicate with your inspector to determine what these signs indicate, given the unique condition of your home.
Your Sump Pump
After assessing your basement, crawl space, and foundation for obvious damage, an inspector will move on to your sump pump if your basement or crawl space has one. If your pump has worn out over time, it may be allowing water to stay in your home or otherwise pump it back indoors. It’s important to have a sump pump to keep your home dry, and for it to be in working order.
Next, inspectors will move on to assess the overall state of your plumbing. The kind of pressure that damages your foundation can also impact your pipes. Any excess moisture in the air can cause your pipes to start leaking. This can cause your water bill to rise and even more moisture to enter the air.
The easiest way to determine the condition of your plumbing is to test your water pressure. Inspectors on site can walk you through the process and let you know whether your pipes need to be replaced.
Insulation can double as a temperature-controlling measure in your home as well as a waterproofing one. If you invest in hydrophobic insulation, it will serve to protect your home from unwanted dampness for several years.
That said, insulation that isn’t appropriately protected can rapidly become a home for mold clusters. Inspectors will need to look at your insulation for signs of damage or weakness. In doing so, they’ll let you know whether your insulation’s still doing its job or if it needs to be replaced.
Your Structural Supports and Foundation
If an inspector hasn’t identified any problems with your home at this point, but you’re still seeing signs of water damage, the problem may be with your foundation. Because these parts of your home aren’t always easy to access, and because basement damage can look so similar to foundation damage, you’ll need professional guidance to determine what symptoms may give away a foundation problem.
At this same time, an inspector should look over any structural supports you have to determine whether they’ve fallen victim to the same dampness that can plague even the newest homes.
Your Waterproofing Measures
Finally, contractors will need to look over what waterproofing solutions you’re already using to protect your home from water damage. With luck, you can work with an inspector from the professionals that previously worked on your home. This way, your inspector will know what to look for and what quirks your home may have.
It’s always important to look over old waterproofing measures because, unfortunately, these measures can wear out over time and need maintenance or repair. There are some solutions, like piering as a foundation repair measure, that can last longer than others. An experienced contractor will be able to identify any signs of weakness and help you replace solutions that may no longer be doing their job.
If you want to schedule a home inspection, or you think something may have gone wrong in your home, you can readily reach out to your local professionals for guidance. Take advantage of an inspection in the Colorado Springs, CO, area from the experts at Complete Basement Systems. You’ll receive a free quote for the services you may need as well as professional advice on any problems that may have arisen in your home.