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Common Basement Problems to Deal with When Owning a Home

Whether you’ve lived in your home for one year, five years, or 10, there are unique basement problems you’ll want to watch for.

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Your basement is more sensitive to damage than you might think. Throughout your tenure as a homeowner, you may find yourself contending with a myriad of basement problems—but professional contractors serving Birmingham, AL, can help you take the steps you need to protect your new property. 

common basement problems

First-Year Problems 

What’s more exciting than moving into a new home for the first time? As you’re getting settled, you’ll need to make a point of scheduling a basement inspection. While setting up annual home inspections with area contractors is never a bad idea, kicking off an early basement inspection will let you get ahead of the common problems that plague new homeowners. These problems can include but are not limited to: 

  • Humidity and flooding – Moisture that makes its way into your home is an active danger to the structural integrity of your basement. The longer you let humidity levels throughout your home rise, the more likely it is that you’ll find yourself contending with mold or drywall damage, or even flooding
  • Pests – As soon as water can get into your home, pests can too. Termites and other wood-loving insects can rapidly destroy the unprotected structural supports you have throughout your home. Similarly, animals like mice and rats can destroy any utilities you have in your basement. 

Fifth-Year Problems 

It’s often impossible to predict what kind of problems may plague your home unless you have experience in the field. That said, if you forgo basement waterproofing measures, or if damage escapes your notice during an inspection, you may find yourself contending with these common basement problems five years into your homeownership: 

  • Bowing walls – The drywall and concrete in your home will absorb more water than you anticipate, especially if moisture enters your home at an unusually rapid rate. With that in mind, you may start to notice your walls bowing either in toward your basement or out toward the rest of your property, compromising the integrity of your home as they go. 
  • Cracks in the walls and floors – Basement cracks are among the most common defects to appear in a home over time. At some point or another during your tenure as a homeowner, you’ll likely find yourself contending with some type of crack. While these cracks don’t always indicate an immediate structural breach, they can be a sign that something’s structurally wrong in your basement. Don’t let that problem get worse; reach out to area contractors for an inspection instead. 

10th-Year Problems

There are some basement problems that don’t immediately reveal themselves, not one year or even five years into development. These problems may give themselves away via signs over time, but you’re more likely to see their greatest effects some 10 years into homeownership. These common, long-term basement problems include but are not limited to: 

  • Crawling concrete – “Concrete crawl” refers to the process through which concrete expands and contracts. It moves toward your home and other landscaping accessories, sometimes forcing your basement’s structural supports out of place. This kind of damage can require you to repour your concrete and replace the damaged supports in your home, meaning it’s expensive to take care of late in the game if you don’t have the right kind of help. 
  • Damaged structural supports – Your basement supports more than that immediate entertaining or storage space. Your basement also holds sway over the structural integrity of your foundation, chimney, and other home additions. If your basement starts to suffer structurally, you’ll have a greater chance of seeing cracks in your chimney or damage throughout your front porch. 

Why Is Your Basement Damaged? 

There are several forces that can work against the structural integrity of your foundation. These can include tree roots, unstable soil, pests, improperly installed construction materials and inappropriate construction materials. 

More often than not, you can trace the damage in your basement back to hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure builds up outside of your basement when it rains or when water comes into contact with your home’s building materials. That water can cause the materials in question to change size on a molecular level. Should the materials in your basement change size too often or too rapidly, they can begin to crack under the stress. A basement with cracked supports will begin to cave in on itself, threatening the overall stability and functionality of your home. 

Fix Up a Damaged Basement with Professional Help 

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in your home. The care and keeping of your basement is an essential part of maintaining a healthy house. The good news is that you’re under no obligation to do this kind of work on your own. Instead, if you feel you’re having a hard time maintaining your basement, you can reach out to area contractors. Birmingham, AL, professionals like the pros at AFS can inspect your home and provide you with a free services quote noting the means you may need to restore your basement to its original level of functionality. 

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