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6 Steps of a Basement Waterproofing Inspection

crew inspecting a home

Caring for your basement isn’t always an easy task. It’s important to know what signs of damage warrant immediate attention. But aside from obvious water in your basement or bowing basement walls, determining what’s plaguing your basement can be tricky.

That’s why you don’t have to try and identify basement problems on your own. Instead, you can reach out to a basement waterproofing professional to schedule a free basement evaluation. This article explains the six steps an expert like AFS Foundation and Waterproofing Specialists take during these crucial inspections.

The Basement Inspection Checklist: 6 Essential Steps

Step 1: Inspecting the Most Vulnerable Parts of the Basement 

Some parts of your basement are more vulnerable to damage than others. For example, the joints where the walls meet the floor are more likely to develop cracks and leaks 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: 

inspector checking basement walls for cracks
  • 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 suffering from foundation settlement 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: 

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 your 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 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 always 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 

inspector assessing sump pump and other basement waterproofing solutions

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 inspector to determine what manner of replacement may suit your home best. 

Trust AFS for a Thorough Basement Inspection 

Do you think there may be something wrong in your basement? Don’t let your problems get worse and jeopardize your home’s safety or your family’s health. You can reach out to local professionals at AFS to schedule a free basement inspection.

Following a thorough assessment, we’ll provide you with a no-obligation estimate detailing customized solutions that ensure your home will remain safe, dry, and stable for many years. These include interior drains, sump pumps, wall vapor barriers, and dehumidifiers for water management, as well as foundation stabilization methods such as foundation piers and wall anchors.

Homeowners have trusted AFS to repair and protect their homes for more than 20 years. They know they can rely on our industry-leading solutions, expertise, and unmatched customer care. You can experience the excellence, too. Contact us today to get started!

Ted Dryce

Ted Dryce

Content Writer

Ted is an SEO Content Writer who has been with Groundworks since 2021. He’s covered home repair topics ranging from crawl space encapsulation to regional soil conditions. When he’s not working, Ted is performing improv comedy and working on his own creative projects.

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