Here in Missouri and surrounding areas, we all looked for more living space within our homes during the COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions. Basements are superb options for adding a family room, workout area, home office, or any number of welcome options for more living space.
That type of upgrade can add considerably to a home’s market value and attractiveness to potential buyers. Unfortunately, a basement with water damage and cracked walls can reduce a home’s value by as much as 30 percent.
Plus, it may not only reduce the home’s market value, but in our recent survey, 88 percent of prospective home buyers said they would not even consider buying a home in need of foundation repair.
With that background, making a smart home investment requires careful consideration of every element that decreases or increases a home’s value. Here are our six steps to identify potential basement issues and what to do about them.
1. Structural Inspection
A home is built on its foundation, and since the basement forms that foundation, any basement problems can lead to structural issues. That includes the interior beams and supports that are part of the foundation.
Look for bouncy, uneven, or sagging upper floors and sticking windows and doors. Also, look for basement wall cracks, gaps, and moisture issues as well as crumbling cement.
For any structural damage repair options, it’s best to seek out professional experts and avoid do-it-yourself options.
2. Keep An Eye Out for Water Issues
Where you find moisture you’ll also likely find mold, mildew, wood rot, and pests. In the basement look for water stains as well as high-water lines along the walls or on the washer, dryer, and HVAC unit.
Repair options include basement waterproofing which covers vapor barriers, interior drainage systems, dehumidifiers, and sump pumps. It’s best to have basement professionals take care of this extensive effort that requires true experts to do it right the first time.
3. Check the Building’s Insulation
Both basement and attic insulation can reveal a great deal about a home’s overall insulation quality and condition. Also, examine the HVAC ductwork insulation. High-quality insulation can do a great deal to lower utility bills in both summer and winter.
The best type of insulation for basements is rigid waterproof insulation panels that create a barrier and seal against water. This is also the best starting point to prepare a basement for those added space projects we mentioned above.
4. Look for Creepy Crawlers
A wet basement attracts insects and even rodents. It’s also the case that the cracks and openings that allowed the water into the basement open the same entryway for the pests. Not only that, but if termites find the basement, their wood-boring can do significant damage to the home’s structural supports.
Look for nests, droppings, and wood damage. Seal cracks and gaps that allow the pests entry. This should also address water entry into the basement. A professional exterminator may also be required.
5. Look Over Basement Mechanicals
Basements can contain a wide range of mechanicals including the electrical circuit box, washer, dryer, water heater, and HVAC unit. Replacement costs can range from $6,000 to $14,000, so it’s wise to conduct a full inspection to identify any issues.
Look for rust and excess moisture as well as water lines along the walls or base of the appliances that record the high-water level from previous flooding. If you spot these warning signs, bring in a home inspector or technician to perform tests to determine the full amount of damage along with a complete listing of the required repairs.
6. Check Exterior Systems
If the basement has cracks and openings, any rain or snowmelt has a welcome mat for entry. Inspect outside to make sure gutters and downspouts are free of damage and clear of obstructions. Ideally, there are also downspout extensions to move the water well away from the foundation.
The landscaping should also be graded to allow the water to move away from the foundation instead of collecting in pools seeking entry to the basement. Look for shrub and tree roots that could damage the basement walls. Keep them trimmed and well away from the house.
We Can Help
As you consider any basement issues, contact the professionals at Foundation Recovery Systems. We can provide a free inspection and repair estimate.