Identifying Basement Leaks
A common topic I often come across with home buyers is wanting to purchase a home with a finished basement but they have concerns regarding leaks and moisture issues.
Finished basements can provide extra living and recreational space to a home but unfinished basements have the advantage of exposed interior walls which make water leaks easy to spot and repair. Not so easy (or cheap) once the basement is finished with framing, drywall and finishes.
A fair number of basements are likely to suffer some form of moisture penetration issue at some point during their life. In fact, a recent survey undertaken by Health and Welfare Canada found that 38% of Canadian homes had indications of excessive dampness or mold. And even newer basements built with moisture mitigation in mind, can suddenly become susceptible to leaks as settling occurs or exterior conditions change around the foundation of the home. One way to reduce the chances of purchasing a home with a finished leaky basement is to hire a qualified home inspector. Home inspectors typically conduct a thorough visual inspection of the home and are trained to look for signs and clues of wet or leaky basements. Such clues include cracks, dampness or discoloration on the interior finished surfaces and signs of patching and repairs on exterior foundation walls, which could indicate an ongoing or past water leak. A home inspection will also investigate all accessible areas in and around the home including the grading (slope of earth), eaves troughs, downspouts, window wells, basement windows, vegetation close to the home and nearby walkways and patios to ensure these components aren’t helping water enter the home’s foundation.
Professional home inspections also go far beyond the basement, to examine and assess the plumbing, heating & cooling, structural, roofing, insulation, electrical and interior finishes of the home. A wise and worthwhile exercise to protect your investment and for your peace of mind.