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Buying a House? Check That Basement!

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When you’re looking at new, potential homes on the market, there are so many factors that come into play, it can be hard to see all the potential problems that may spring up down the road. An example of something that’s overlooked quite a bit, are signs of a potentially leaky basement, something that could prove to be not only a huge headache, but a financial hardship down the road. In order to avoid that, we thought we’d help you by covering some of the basic things to look for in your potential basement when you’re looking at buying a house.

Let’s start off with some of the more obvious signs of pre-existing or future leaky basement problems, such as water stains. These can typically be found on walls, underneath windows or on the ground. Most of the time they’re defined lines or blotches that contrast against the cement, wood, or drywall commonly found in basements. If you see these spots, it means that the basement has already been invaded by moisture and now offers possible future headaches if not corrected or fixed.Leaky basement, Ashworth Drainage

Another place to look, if you’re concerned about a potential leaky basement, is the outside foundation. A cracked foundation offers a potential entrance for moisture, and while the basement may be totally dry when you look at it; water still has the potential to slip through cracks in your foundation to corrode it further, before seeping into your walls and (yes, you guessed it) your basement. It could take a couple of days to a couple of years for it to show itself, depending on the size of the cracks and the current state of the foundation; but it remains a concern nonetheless.

Now let’s say you don’t see any cracks, anywhere on your walls and foundation; surely you must be safe from a leaky basement if there aren’t any cracks. There’s a high probability that you may be right, but to be on the safe side, you’ll want to keep an eye out for signs of mold. Moisture is a sneaky thing that requires only a small hairline crack in some nearly invisible space to get in, one that you may not be able to catch. A good indicator of such flaws, would be signs of mold or mildew. Mold and mildew thrive in damp, cool places, and if you notice it, there’s a pretty good chance that the basement you’re looking at isn’t 100% waterproof.

Let’s be honest, though, sometimes you can’t avoid a flood in your basement. In instances where you may get too much rain, or your washing machine decides not to work, or your plumbing springs a leak; you’re going to want a backup plan to get the water out of your basement. That’s why when you’re looking at a potential home with a basement, you should take a peek at the sump pump, if there is one. Check for proper maintenance and also to be sure it is in good working order.

Wet basementOne more thing that you may want to take a look at when looking at a home, is whether or not it’s already been waterproofed. If the basement has already been waterproofed, you may want to consider checking out what condition it’s in, and what kind of waterproofing that has been done. Some forms of waterproofing may wear down, or corrode over time due to natural causes, which means it may not be working 100% towards keeping your basement dry. Waterproof sheets that are typically installed by some waterproofing companies, for example, may tear or rip and not only allow moisture in; but hold it in as well. If you notice potentially worn-down waterproofing solutions, it’s not the end of the world as we can offer better waterproofing methods such as 1” roundstone to assist in better drainage away from the foundation.

Now, if you do purchase the home, and find out down the road that (despite your best efforts) you have a wet basement, it’s not the end of the world. We here at Ashworth Drainage would be more than happy to take a look at your basement for you, and assist you in properly waterproofing it so that you can enjoy your extra living space without the concern of water seeping in.

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