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The Inspector’s Basement Waterproofing Checklist

What does your average basement inspection involve, and what leak signs are contractors on the lookout for?

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Caring for your basement isn’t always an easy task. That’s why you don’t have to try and identify common basement problems on your own. Instead, you can reach out to a contractor serving Nashville, TN, to schedule a basement inspection. A contractor will walk you through a basement assessment to help you better understand what, if anything, has gone wrong in your basement and what you can do to restore your home’s value. 

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Step 1: Inspecting the Most Vulnerable Parts of the Basement 

Some parts of your basement are more vulnerable to damage than others. Your joints, for example, and the creases at which the walls meet your floor are more likely to develop cracks over time than the rest of your basement. 

There are several different types of cracks that can appear throughout your basement. The most common include: 

  • Horizontal Cracks – Horizontal cracks form as a result of excessive hydrostatic pressure and indicate that your home may soon fall victim to more visible water damage. 
  • Vertical Cracks – If a builder used green wood or other inappropriate materials when constructing your home, vertical cracks may appear in your basement. 
  • Diagonal Cracks – Hydrostatic pressure can also cause diagonal cracks to form across your foundation. These cracks, however, 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 or concrete block, cracks caused by hydrostatic pressure can form along the mortar lines. 

Note that while a crack may not appear severe at first, you won’t want to let the damage grow. The longer a crack has to deepen, the more signs of damage you’re likely to come across in your basement. Some of the most common forms of basement damage can include but are not limited to: 

  • Dropping basement temperatures 
  • Fogged-up windows 
  • Sticking doors 
  • Warped or damaged belongings 
  • Mold 
  • Unpleasant smells 

Step 2: Inspecting the Sump Pump 

With your basement’s most sensitive parts out of the way, professionals will want to take a look at your sump pump, should you have one in place. These pumps actively remove water from your basement but can clog or otherwise suffer damage if they’re not protected from unusually cold winters or higher levels of precipitation throughout your area. 

Step 3: Addressing Concerns About Plumbing 

Your pipes are just as likely to cause problems throughout your basement as precipitation outdoors. Leaking pipes can rapidly increase the amount of hydrostatic pressure your basement falls victim to. In turn, damaged pipes will make your home less comfortable to live in, increasing the level of humidity in your basement while simultaneously lowering the water pressure throughout the rest of our home. 

You can rely on professional contractors to test the water pressure in your home and determine whether or not you have a clog or leak on your hands. At this point in the inspection, you can explore what repair or protective measures you may want to invest in if you want to protect both your pipes and the whole of your basement in the days to come. 

Step 4: Assessing Insulation 

Most basements, even those that don’t actively serve as entertaining spaces, are insulated. Professionals will need to look over your basement’s insulation, be it hidden within your wall or exposed, to assess its health and respond to any damage that’s appeared there. 

If you’re moving into a home without basement insulation, note that it’s likely in your best interest to install insulation throughout the exposed space. Insulation not only helps maintain the temperature in your home, but it can also serve as a waterproof barrier between your basement and the outdoors. Insulation that isn’t waterproofed or protected can rapidly become a home for mold spores

Step 5: Differentiating Between Basement and Foundation Damage 

It isn’t easy to tell the difference between basement damage and water damage right off the bat. The signs that indicate basement damage can just as readily indicate that something’s gone wrong with your foundation. Similarly, basement damage can contribute to the stress your foundation may be under, making it even more difficult to determine where excess moisture, pests, or other problems may be coming from in your home. 

This is where professionals come in. Someone with experience in the field can look at your basement and determine to what degree the damage therein may have spread. If it appears that something may have gone wrong with your foundation, you can rely on an area expert to help you better understand the extent of that damage. From there, you can address any structural damage you’re contending with to better protect your home against water damage in the future. 

Step 6: Looking Over Current Waterproofing Measures 

If you have any waterproofing measures already installed throughout your basement, be sure to note them to an inspector before your inspection begins. Professionals will want to look at your existing waterproofing measures to ensure they’re still working as they should, especially if you’ve noted signs of water damage throughout your basement. 

Unfortunately, no waterproofing solution is going to last forever. If it appears that the waterproofing measures you have in place have suffered from damage or were incorrectly installed, you can work with the contractor on-site to determine what manner of replacement may suit your home best. 

Why Do You Need to Schedule a Basement Inspection? 

Do you think there may be something amiss in your basement? Don’t let your problems get worse. You can reach out to the professionals serving Nashville, TN, ASAP to schedule a home inspection. At the end of your basement tour, you can look over a free services quote detailing the solutions that may help you restore your home’s value.

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