Preparing for a professional basement and foundation inspection can be stressful. If you’ve never had an inspection before, you won’t always know what a contractor needs to look for. For those who want to be better prepared, take a look at a typical St Louis, MO, inspector’s checklist:
Joints and Cracks
The first thing a practiced inspector is going to look for when assessing the state of your basement is an existing crack. These cracks tend to form around the joints of your home, but they can be present anywhere, depending on the degree of water damage your home has endured over the years.
The most common cracks that an inspector will be able to identify in your basement will include:
- Horizontal Cracks – Horizontal cracks most frequently form as a result of excessive hydrostatic pressure, or the pressure that starts to build up when your home is exposed to an extensive amount of rain or groundwater.
- Vertical Cracks – If a builder used green wood or other inappropriate materials when constructing your home, you may see vertical cracks start to appear throughout 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 settling or sinking faster than the other.
- Stair-Step Cracks – If your foundation is made out of brick and mortar, cracks caused by hydrostatic pressure will form along the mortar lines.
If a present inspector notices a crack in your basement, they’re going to want to take a look at the foundation of your home to make sure it’s secure. Other symptoms of a leaking foundation that both you and a contractor can keep a lookout for include:
- Dropping basement temperatures
- Fogged-up windows
- Sticking doors
- Warped or damaged belongings
- Unpleasant smells
Checking the Sump Pump
Once an inspector’s looked over the joints in your home, they’ll want to take a look at your sump pump, if you’ve been using one. Sump pumps actively pump water out of your basement and away from your home’s foundation. However, over time, the pump itself can wear out, or the discharge lines can become clogged.
Assessing Your Plumbing
If there are no problems with your pump – or even if there are – an inspector will also take the status of your plumbing into account. Over time, hydrostatic pressure can impact more than just the exterior of your foundation. Leaks throughout your home can cause your pipes to falter and leak even more, raising your water bill as they go. Alternatively, your pipes can clog and no longer protect or serve your home as well as they were once intended to.
If there is something seriously wrong with a plumbing fixture, the on-site contractor may recommend you contact a reliable plumber to test for water pressure and clogs.
Inspecting Your Insulation
If you frequently have to deal with flooding or dampness in your home, an inspector is going to have to look over your insulation. Some insulation is hydrophobic and serves as a secondary waterproofing solution in your home. However, if it’s not meant to protect your home from water, damaged insulation can be a nest for critters and mold particles. Finally, even if the insulation is not technically damaged, it may be time for it to be replaced.
Structure Versus Foundation
With the aforementioned checklist points in mind, an inspector will move on to assess the status of your foundation. Not all cracks are indicative of foundation damage, and many of the initial signs you see in your basement can be attributed to both basement and foundation damage. You’re going to need the opinion of a professional to determine whether you’ll have to deal with any structural damage while undertaking your waterproofing endeavors.
Last but not least, your on-site inspector will need to look over the waterproofing solutions you’ve had implemented in the past. Ideally, you’ll be working with an inspector who’s waterproofed your home before, so they’ll be familiar with the work you’ve had done and better able to identify its wear and tear. Why do inspectors need to look over these older solutions? Because unfortunately, not all waterproofing solutions are permanent. Check with your contractor of choice to determine how long each of your solutions is meant to last and be prepared to replace any that may be faltering under the weight of protecting your home.
If you suspect you may have a leak on your hands, don’t wait to reach out for professional guidance. The contractors working in St. Louis, MO, will help you determine whether or not anything is wrong with your home and will be able to provide you with a catalog of affordable solutions upon request.