The soil here in western Colorado is primarily heavy clay and bentonite soil. That type of soil coupled with our frequent dry spells and droughts doesn’t help home foundations.
When we do get rain, it expands and places stress on the basement or crawl space walls. When it dries out, it contracts and settles, placing still more stress on the foundation and leaving gaps for any rain that arrives.
When you’re evaluating a real estate investment, it’s well worth your time to thoroughly review the property for any basement issues. To help, we’ve provided six steps to identify those issues.
1. Inspect for Structural Issues
Basements offer a great deal to a home. They can provide additional living space including a home office, gym and workout room, or perhaps a fan cave. But that doesn’t work if there are structural issues. Since the basement is literally the home’s foundation, bulging and bowing basement walls can substantially upset the entire home. Look for cracks in walls and floor, sagging or creaking floors, as well as cracked exterior brickwork. Doors and windows that stick or won’t close are another sign of problems. Call a foundation repair specialist to fully review the issues and propose a repair plan.
2. Look for Any Water Damage
Walk through the basement and look for wet floors, damp spots on walls, and leaky basement windows. Any moisture can lead to mold and mildew as well as musty smells that can permeate the entire house. That water can also rot wooden support beams, ruin carpeting, as well as damage insulation and drywall. The optimum barrier for these issues is a basement waterproofing system that collects any water and removes it from the basement with a sump pump. A dehumidifier may also be needed. A basement waterproofing professional can provide specific recommendations to address these problems.
3. Review the Building Insulation
A home’s comfort during hot and cold spells is directly related to the level of insulation as well as the HVAC system’s efficiency. Insulation also directly impacts the utility bills. The easiest places to evaluate insulation levels and quality are in the attic and the basement. Make sure the attic has a sufficient level of insulation and that it isn’t damaged. Basements can suffer from either non-existent insulation or wet insulation. The best basement insulation is waterproof panels that seal against moisture and provide a vapor barrier. Check the HVAC ductwork too. Any damage or lack of insulation can really run up energy costs.
4. Look for Pests and Pest Damage
Here in western Colorado, we experience all kinds of critters. Unfortunately, they find their way into basements, usually through the same cracks and openings that allow in moisture and water. Once inside, they can set up housekeeping and cause all sorts of problems. Mice leave droppings and test their teeth on insulation and electrical wires. Then there are termites that can dig with relish into wood structural supports and drywall. The best fix is to seal the cracks and gaps where they find entry. Serious infestations should be addressed by a professional exterminator.
5. Inspect and Test Basement Appliances
If there’s moisture in the basement, it may have damaged the appliances and even caused rusting of any metal such as the electrical circuit box. Look for high water marks on the walls and even on the appliances themselves. That includes the furnace, AC unit, water heater, dryer, washer, and even electrical outlets. Testing the appliances and electrical system to ensure full operation or find any problems is best left to a qualified technician. They can provide a full list of required repairs.
6. Conduct an Outside Water Drainage Review
There are quite a few natural weather events that can wreak havoc on our homes and foundations. Any water running off the roof needs to be routed through the gutters and downspouts, followed by properly graded landscaping to move all that water safely away from the foundation. Check the gutters to make sure they are clear of any obstructions. Also, consider downspout extensions that can help route the water. Trees and shrubs can also impact foundations and roofs from falling branches. Make sure they are planted well away from the foundation and properly trimmed each year.
We Can Help With Basement and Foundation Issues
As you consider any basement issues in properties you may be considering for investment, contact the professionals at Foundation Repair of Western Colorado. We can provide a free inspection and repair estimate.