What Does Your Basement REALLY Need?

After a month of storming and an extensive amount of rainfall, we frequently get calls about damp, wet, or flooded basements. On top of that, the hydrostatic pressure from the sitting ground water is bowing, cracking, and shifting basement walls, causing very expensive structural repairs.
I have been working for Professional Home Buyers for nearly a year, and after purchasing several homes with mild to severe basement problems, here are things I have learned:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of proper guttering, downspouts, and positive landscape grading

Anything that keeps water flowing away from your foundation is a VERY good thing.

  • Never, ever, ever use insta-seal/moisture-proofing/spray foam to seal cracks in your basement.

This instant fix WILL cost you in the future. The picture above is of a home we recently purchased. The clay soil pressed on the foundation walls causing cracks and bowing. The previous owners chose the “easy fix” solution and filled the cracks with some sort of quick-sealing foam. However, as you can see from the picture, the true problem was not addressed. After purchasing the home, our foundation contractor immediately explained why the foam is an issue. Not only does the foam not correct the problem, but when trying to move the wall back into place, the foam actually causes the brick or concrete around it to crumble.

  • Exterior vs. Interior Waterproofing

These two are vastly different. Exterior waterproofing involves excavating and sealing the exterior wall of the basement down to the footer and installing drain tile. Although significantly more expensive, exterior waterproofing is by far the best solution for keeping water out of your basement. Interior waterproofing is a system installed to remove water after it has already leaked through your foundation. In fact, many foundation professionals refuse to call an interior water system a “waterproofing system”. Interior waterproofing usually involves installing plastic panels for water to drain down, jack-hammering the concrete floor to install an interior drainage system, and installing an extra or better sump pump with a battery backup. Interior waterproofing is a very controversial topic in the foundation repair community. Many basement contractors promote interior waterproofing solutions as the easiest, cheapest, and least-invasive form of waterproofing. Others refuse to acknowledge interior water control as a form of waterproofing and warn homeowners of the possible negative side effects of interior waterproofing such as mold, structural damage, regular maintenance, and concealing of foundation wall issues.

  • Know Your Problem, Prices and People.

Basement problems are BIG problems, and many times if they are ignored or not fixed correctly, they will lead to more expensive problems down the road. When you notice moisture in your basement or walls starting to bow in, the time to start calling around is now. Always seek multiple opinions and references. We recently spoke to a gentleman that had $50,000 of basement repairs put into his home after a contractor ran off with his money. We’ve also purchased homes with leaky basements that had already been worked on multiple times by several different contractors, and water continues to leak and flood the basement. Always get multiple bids because prices and end results can vary significantly.
Obligatory Note: Proper basement repairs are expensive, often times ranging from $5,000-$30,000. There is no getting around it. If you find yourself in need of basement repairs and are considering selling your home, please give our professionals a call. We buy all of our homes as-is, and are more than happy to schedule a representative to meet with you for a no-obligation appointment. Even if we can’t help, we probably know someone who can.
By Rose Hansen
Professional Home Buyers

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