Foundation problems create a variety of serious risks for homeowners and occupants. A damp basement is often a sign of issues that only grow in severity. These are the early warning signs to look for and what to do about it.
Foundation Issues: Why It’s So Important To Know The Signs
You may not visit your basement that often. Whether it is still a raw storage space, a finished living space or an occasional Airbnb rental apartment, this is very much the core of your home.
Damp basements are frequently an indicator of deeper foundation problems. Fortunately, there are a variety of signs that should trigger you to investigate. Sometimes there are obvious issues that can be fixed swiftly and inexpensively. In other cases, there are flaws that need to be tackled immediately.
Left unchecked, there is potential for tragic consequences. Mold causes severe health risks, even in very short periods of exposure. If this is a rental property, this exposes you to costly lawsuits along with the guilt of inaction.
Left too long, foundation problems prevent conventional mortgage financing. Most home loan lenders will not refinance your home if these structural flaws exist. Lenders will not finance new buyers of your property, meaning you are stuck with a big repair, but can’t sell your home.
Last but not least, a failing foundation will lead to cracks and the breaking down of the rest of your property. This means more leaks, roof damage and more.
9 Signs To Watch Out For
These indicators of damp basements and foundation flaws should tip you off to potential problems.
- 1. Smells
Pesky, recurring odors are often an early sign of dampness and deeper problems. If you’ve had the pipes flushed, there are no kids’ dirty sports clothes hiding behind the washer, and the trash is out, dampness may be present.
- 2. Higher Electricity Bills
Your home electricity bill can be 10% to 15% higher when the air in your house is more humid, according to the Environment Protection Agency. If your bills start coming in unseasonably high, it’s good to figure out why.
- 3. Higher Water Bills
Leaks trigger higher water bills. Those leaks typically originate or end up in the basement. Don’t dismiss unseasonably high water bills.
- 4. Wet Possessions
When finally getting around to organizing that stack of belongings sitting in the corner for months, pay attention if they feel damp. The same goes for moving furniture and stains from water damage inside cabinets.
- 5. Warped Doors
Door frames that appear warped and doors that begin sticking when you try to open and close them are another sign. Higher moisture levels in the air could be causing this.
- 6. Warped Flooring
Replacing flooring can be very expensive. Bubbling vinyl and warping wood floors are a sign of high moisture levels. Tackle it before it gets worse.
- 7. Foundation Cracks
In addition to sloping roofs and uneven exteriors, keep an eye out for cracks in all walls.
- 8. Erosion
Not installing gutters is a common culprit in ongoing foundation erosion. Be alert to missing gutters and erosion around the perimeter of your home.
- 9. Sump Pumps
If your sump pump has been struggling, you are going to get a damp basement. If it has been running too much, is running more noisily than normal, or isn’t kicking on, call an expert to check it out as soon as possible.
Finding The Right Fix For Damp Basements
If you are considering buying a home with some of these red flags, your home inspector can use a damp detector or moisture meter to identify problem areas that warrant closer attention.
Without waterproofing, you may experience condensation on concrete walls in the basement in the winter months. Even though you may not see any visible signs of leaks, these high moisture levels still cause major damage and pose health risks over time.
If you suspect any of these telltale signs of damp basements and foundation problems or have incurred water damage during a recent storm, it is smart to have it professionally inspected. The best Indiana foundation services should provide free estimates on installing waterproofing or fixing basement leaks and cracks. You may even qualify for special financing if the problem has already gotten out of control.