Moisture Problems – Listen To Your Home (Part 8)

Before going further into high water tables, let’s stop for a moment and reflect on what we have accomplished so far. In the beginning, I asked that you begin to look at the house differently. To take off your real estate agent or homeowner cap and begin to look at the house through the eyes of a home inspector. My intention was to show you that the house can begin to talk to you and tell you where the problems exist, if you will only listen.

Our 1st example of ‘seeing through walls’ has been, when walking around the exterior of the house, you can quickly determine if there is a wet basement…before going inside. Earth, walks, steps, patios, driveways that are flat or have settled and sloped towards the foundation, NOW, should immediately scream basement moisture. Gutters without downspout extensions will shout wet foundations. Trees, retaining walls, small hills that do not allow rain and snow water to flow unobstructed to the street, alley, or city drainage easements ought to holler dampness.

Are you beginning to hear the whisper?

Those musty smells in the lower level…moisture. Orange, yellow, black, grey, and white powdery wall discoloration…moisture. Peeled foundation wall paint…yep…moisture. Warped paneling, black rings around baseboard trim nails, rusted drywall nails…you guessed it, moisture. Seepage ring stains along the edge of the floor slab, crackly vinyl tiles, stiff carpet edges…you got it! I would estimate that over 85% of all MN basements have dampness. And I suspect this would hold true for all homes throughout the U.S. that have below grade space.

Before starting all my home inspections, I ask my clients what they are most concerned about in purchasing this home. Every time one of the top 3 concerns will be not having a wet basement.

NOW, if you are asked the same question, just glance over their shoulder, look at the land and hardscaping, and you can give them an informed answer, because this IS the cause of over 90% of all wet basements. Even if, and there is a small chance, the basement isn’t damp, it’s just a matter of time before it will be. So fix it now or pay for it dearly latter. It is so basic I’m surprised so many homeowners neglect it. When you run water towards something it’s bound to come in…at some time.
AND that’s not OK.


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