Buying A Home? Look For These Potential Causes of Basement Water Issues
When purchasing a home in Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, or Waukesha, Wisconsin one of the biggest potential problem areas is the foundation. If you don't have a home inspection you may miss some of these potential problems. Water has a significant negative effect on a foundation. Keeping water away from the foundation is critical to prevent foundation problems. It can be related to cracked foundation walls, bowed foundation walls, water intrusion, and basement moisture issues. Home inspectors look for several clues on the exterior and interior of a house to locate current and potential foundation related issues. Often these issues can be mitigated with some simple solutions and prevention by homeowners.
Negative Grading Towards the Foundation
Negative grading refers to the yard around the house grading towards the foundation meaning that water is not moving away from the foundation. Water should flow away from the foundation. The first ten feet near the foundation is the most important area to keep water from the foundation. The photo shows negative grading towards the house.
Downspouts Too Close To the House
Downspouts should drain a minimum 6 feet from the foundation. During a home inspection one of the most common causes of moisture problems at a foundation are downspouts that empty at or too close to the foundation. Often downspouts drain right at the corner of the foundation. Over time they can lead to significant moisture problems.
Sump Pump Not Functioning
Sump pump problems causing the drainage system not to move water from the foundation properly can cause moisture related issues. A house without a sump pump can often have more moisture related foundation issues than a house with a sump pump.
Foundation materials such as brick, stone, and certain masonry blocks are more prone to allow moisture to penetrate through the foundation. Materials that have more joints or have more porous materials can allow moisture to pass through the wall. These foundations need regular maintenance to keep moisture out. Older foundations do not have the same waterproofing that modern foundation walls do.
Foundation cracks can allow moisture through the foundation. Some foundation cracks can cause significant moisture intrusion. Cracks can sometimes cause structural problems. Foundation cracks can often be repaired by being properly sealed.
Bob Carter is a home inspector in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. He is the owner of Dairyland Home Inspection.