With low mortgage rates and homes in high demand throughout Virginia Beach, Newport News, and Norfolk, there are significant opportunities for real estate professionals from agents to brokers to investors. However, not every home is ready for prime time and the reasons often start in the basement.
Basements can be excellent ways to add more living space to an existing home. They can serve as a family room, home office, or a fan cave. But a basement can also be an underground disaster waiting to happen or worse, a disaster already in progress.
Here are six steps to guide your efforts to identify basement issues along with what to do about them.
1. Structural Inspection Starts in the Basement
The entire house is built on top of the foundation, which in this case is a basement. Any shifting or other changes in the basement walls and supporting beams are going to have a direct impact on the rest of the home.
Watch for wall cracks, brickwork breakups, plumbing pipe breaks, and chimney tilting. Bulging or bowed basement walls are a dead giveaway of major structural issues. Also, watch for tilted or sagging floors.
2. Search for Water Issues Throughout the Home
In the basement, water seepage, damp walls, and floors, along with efflorescent chalky powder on the walls, are sure signs of cracks and leaks in the basement. Any moisture damages whatever it touches including causing wood rot and in older homes rust on pipes. The best approach for repair is fixing leaks and installing an interior drainage system, sump pump, and dehumidifier.
It is also wise to examine the entire house for leaking plumbing, particularly under bathroom and kitchen sinks. Fittings and joints can often work loose and cause water issues. Contact a certified plumbing technician who can conduct a thorough inspection and fix any issues on the spot.
3. Home Insulation Review
Energy costs always seem to be on the rise. So it’s best to do everything possible to lower energy usage with proper insulation throughout a home. Without pulling apart the walls, the best approach is to review the attic and basement insulation.
Supplement the attic insulation and/or replace any damaged insulation. Waterproof panels are ideal for the basement walls. They seal against water, provide a vapor barrier, and they keep heat or cool air inside, depending on the season. Also make sure hot water lines are insulated to save on energy costs.
4. Look Out for Pests
Moisture in the basement from cracks in the walls or from faulty plumbing can attract all sorts of pests. The basement cracks provide the opening, and the ants, termites, rodents, or other critters find their way inside. Once there, they can cause considerable damage.
Look for entry points, nests, droppings, and the critters themselves. Then consult with an exterminator on the best way to get rid of the pests. Sealing cracks can further help with moisture problems. Get any plumbing leaks fixed at once.
5. Basement Water Heater, Washer, and Dryer Testing
Problems in the basement with water heaters and other items can certainly be caused by basement flooding. That causes rusting and even damages electrical circuits. The water heater can also have natural gas connections or electrical connections that can be life-threatening if not addressed immediately.
Call in a technician to test the appliances and electrical systems to make sure everything is working properly. They can also build a comprehensive list of required repairs.
6. Gutters, Downspouts, and Landscaping Review
There are quite a few reasons to find water in the basement from leaky plumbing pipes to cracks in the walls. Not only that, but any water that collects around the foundation is more than likely to end up inside the basement. That means gutters and downspouts need to be free of obstructions and move that water away from the home. That also applies to landscape grading; it needs to slope away from the home.
Watch also for tree and shrub roots that can damage the foundation, as well as sewer lines and drains around the house. It’s also a good idea to review the property for noxious weeds, including the Japanese Knotweed, that can cause considerable damage.
We Can Help
A1 Sewer and Drain can help with any plumbing issues you find during your inspections. Contact us to schedule your appointment.