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Most Common Basement Problems: A Timeline

leaking basement wall and floor

Your basement is more sensitive to damage than you might think. Throughout your tenure as a homeowner, you may find yourself contending with many basement problems—from cracks to leaks and everything in between.

You don’t have to stress about handling these issues on your own. Local basement waterproofing professionals like our team at AFS Foundation and Waterproofing Specialists can help you take the steps you need to protect your property. Learn more about common issues you may face during your time as a homeowner and how we can help you fix them.

Basement Problems: A General Timeline

1st Year Problems 

water in the basement

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 professionals 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 usually include: 

  • Humidity and Flooding: Moisture that makes its way into your home is an active danger to the structural integrity of your basement. The longer humidity levels throughout your home rise, the more likely it is that you’ll find yourself contending with basement mold, drywall damage, or even flooding
  • Pest Infestations: 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. 

5th Year Problems 

cracking and bowing basement wall

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 during your tenure as a homeowner, you’ll likely find yourself contending with some type of crack, whether it’s wall cracks or floor cracks. 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 basement and foundation experts for an inspection. 

10th Year Problems 

cracking and leaning chimney

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: 

  • Damaged Structural Supports: Your basement supports more than that immediate entertaining or storage space. Your basement also impacts 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. 
  • 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. 

Why Is Your Basement Experiencing Damage? 

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

More often than not, you can trace the damage in your basement back to hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure forms around and outside the basement when it rains or when water reaches your home’s building materials. Any high amount of moisture 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. 

Thinking About Remodeling? What to Do Beforehand

crew installing a basement sump pump

If you’re thinking about finishing or remodeling your basement, there are a few things you’ll want to take care of before you call a remodeling company like your neighbors at Reliable. Here are just 3:

To learn more, read our article “6 Things to Do Before Finishing Your Basement.”

Fix a Damaged Basement with Professional Assistance 

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 basement professionals.

Experts 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. We have been the local authority on basement and foundation repair for more than 20 years, and homeowners know they can rely on us for lasting customized solutions and excellent customer care. Start protecting your home today!

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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