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House Inspectors Help You Find Wet Basement Problems

May 18th, 2009

One of the more common and difficult basement problems encountered by home inspectors is wet basement. Since basements are below ground level, water above the basement level naturally flows to the basement due to gravity and water below the basement level seeps into the basement if it has nowhere to go other than an opening in the basement.

While waiting for house inspection, you can inspect the basement yourself and look for signs of wet basement conditions.

Probably the first sign of a wet or damp basement that you will encounter is the musty or damp smell that meets you as soon as you enter the basement. Moisture that has been enclosed for a time causes the smell.

Other signs of wet basement are marks that you see on the floor and walls such as water stains, mold, flakes and powdery deposits. Look for white or grayish deposits on the walls that sometimes sparkle. These deposits are left by evaporating water that leaked through the walls. Flakes on the floor are caused when water inside brick or concrete pushes the surface to peel off.

House inspectors can explain to you the causes of wet basement problems. Among the causes are seeping ground water, overflowing gutters, disconnected downspouts, defective grading, water leaks in walls and condensation from pipes.

House inspectors can also show you if your gutters are overflowing because they are clogged due to debris or were improperly installed.

There are some wet basement problems that you can fix with do-it-yourself tools. But remember that there are basement problems that can only be undertaken efficiently by contractors. Some basement problems you miss can also be identified by experienced house inspectors.

Many of the things that you can do to fix or prevent wet basement problems entail minor adjustments. Reconnect disjoined downspouts and redirect second-story gutters to other downspouts. Attach extensions to downspouts to move water farther away from your house. Clean the gutters regularly.

For new home buyers, give attention to possible wet basement problems. Do not rely on seller’s property disclosures. If you later find out there are major basement problems in addition to wet basement problems, you will have to spend a lot of your money to bring your problem to court without any assurance of resolution.

The bottom line is to choose a home inspector from a group of qualified house inspectors such as the American Society of Home Inspectors.

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