Alban Home Inspection Service

Avoiding Web Basements
Here’s a fact that may surprise the homeowners – the
search for a leaky basement begins on the roof.

When enthusiastic sellers crank up the dehumidifier and paint over the flaking plaster, it’s easy to overlook even long-standing basement problems. Still, there’s no hiding lousy grading when viewed from above. Faulty gutters and downspouts mean every raindrop that falls on the roof is going to end up on the ground within a few inches of the foundation wall. 
Realtors are presented with a particular problem when selling a home with a leaky basement. It’s easy to disguise the problem long enough for a sale to take place, but impossible to prevent from showing up. Inevitably, it will, and inevitably, the buyer will feel tricked or betrayed. Those feelings usually lead to lawsuits. Though a Realtor and a homeowner may want to leave the roof climbing to a professional inspector, they’d be smart to walk around the house and assure the grading is always away from the walls. If the ground is flat or slopes towards the house, there is a chance of a leaking basement. 
Other clues will include stains on the gutters and downspouts, which indicate they maybe blocked or overflowing. Another clue is the connection where the downspout enters the storm drain because a depression or washout in that area indicates water is backing up or spilling. 
Even inside the house, there are signs of persistent wetness. For example, basement window sills should be free of rot and stain. There should be no rusty nails in the molding in the basement. A red flag should go up if the homeowner notices flaking of plaster walls or powder on the surface of masonry walls. A musty smell means trouble, as does buckled paneling, lifting tiles, or imperfections in drywall. 
Home inspectors use a moisture meter to detect dampness inside walls, floors, and window sills. This moisture will show up even if the room has been dehumidified. Moisture meters are available to homeowners and are rather inexpensive. Considering the cost of a lawsuit, a meter may be well worth the investment.



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taken during its application are to blame. In response to local building code requirements and public demand, manufacturers have been offering a "water managed" — or drainable — system to residential contractors since 1997. Unfortunately, a visual inspection alone cannot evaluate the amount of water penetration or damage to the substrate. A non-evasive scanner can be used to determine areas of excess moisture, although it is unreliable in determining amount of moisture. The most reliable method of testing is the invasive probe meter. To test a typical home, 20 to 50 probes are necessary. Each probe consists of two 1/8th inch holes about 1 inch apart. The holes must be sealed with an approved sealant following testing.  There are some visual indicators of potential problems.  These include cracks in the EIFS dressing  bands around windows, an increased level of humidity in the home, and cracking, peeling, or  blistering of paint. Swelling, cracking, and rotting of window or door frames, and staining,  mold, or algae in or on the home are also visual clues to potential problems.






Note: This newsletter is for informational purposes only. When getting involved with a project, please work within your ability. If you need help with a contractor or with any other home-related issue, please contact Alban Home Inspection Service with any questions. Thank You.

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