Top 5 Basement Waterproofing Concerns for Homeowners

basement flooding (via flickr you live in Illinois and your home was built in the last 20 or 30 years, your home likely has a poured concrete foundation. Older homes were often built using masonry, such as brick or stone. Both foundations have their benefits and problems and both are susceptible to leaks. Older foundations used mortar between the masonry bits and that mortar wears away over time leaving an easy pathway for water to seep into your basement. Newer homes experience cracking, which also leaves an easy path for water. When you are buying a new home or concerned about the leaks in your existing home’s basement, an infrared home inspection can help you find the real reason behind the leaks so you can make a decision about what too do next.

1. Overflowing window wells

Window wells let in natural light but they are not called wells lightly. They can easily fill with water and that water can leak into the basement. The drains installed during the original construction of your home may have filled with debris or the seal around the window could have become compromised. Either way, a leaking window well can cause serious problems for your basement.

2. Grading problems

There are many areas in and around Illinois that are a little hilly and when the grading around your home isn’t sloped perfectly away from the foundation, your basement can experience seepage issues when it rains or during the spring snow melts. If your home is situated on flat ground, make sure that the grading does not extend above the top of your foundation or water will seep through the mortar and into the walls of your home. This problem can go on for years before it’s discovered and when it is, the damage is already done and you have an expensive repair.

3. Sump pump issues

Sump pumps fail all the time. When a homeowner decides to pull a steak out of the freezer in the basement and steps into deep water the first thought is that their sump pump failed. Eitehr the power went out or the pump simply wasn’t up to the task of removing the water. Not all sump pumps are created equal. Even a savvy homeowner who has chosen a high-quality sump pump from a reliable plumbing supply distributor can install it poorly. The failure to install the pump correctly can lead to a flooded basement just as easily as choosing a cheap pump. Sump pump problems can lead to the destruction of dry wall, carpet, paneling, and the encroachment of mold in your basement.

4. Foundation cracks and leaks

No matter what the condition of your foundation and the type of foundation, cracks are a possibility and cracks lead to leaks. If your home is older, the mortar may have deteriorated to the point that water leaks through but even if your home is newer foundation cracks can occur and these are the most common source of water seepage into your basement. An infrared inspection can help you find those leaks so you can decide whether or not to buy that home or how you may want to fix it if you already own the home. Larger cracks – those wider than 1.8″ – indicate serious foundation problems that should be addressed quickly.

5. Mold

Mold is a serious problem and can cause a number of homeowner headaches (sometimes literally). It smells terrible and looks even worse. Mold can destroy your home’s value and cause serious health problems, including asthma, allergies, and more. Mold will grow in the darkest and dampest places where you can’t see it so by the time you find it, it’s often been growing for some time. Find the source of the water leaks and you’ll be more likely to find where the mold is growing.

If you routinely notice humidity or dampness in your basement, you may have waterproofing concerns. Get an infrared home inspection to help you discover the source of the water and you’ll have a much better chance at eliminating the problem and keeping your basement waterproof and tight.

Andrew MacDonald has been performing infrared inspections on homes in St. Charles, Schaumburg, and surrounding towns for over a decade. If you suspect the your basement has a water leak, request a return call today and we’ll tell you how we can help.

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