Home prices across Raleigh, Winston-Salem, and throughout North Carolina are reaching all-time new highs. That means there are quite a few opportunities for real estate agents, brokers, and investors. However, beware of homes that may not be all they appear to be due to basement problems.
A basement can be a very attractive selling feature. It offers the benefit of additional living space that can be readily converted into a home office, family room, a fan cave, or an emergency shelter for the hurricanes that blast through our area from time to time.
But a basement can also be an underground disaster waiting to happen, or even a disaster that is already in progress.
Here are six steps to guide your efforts to identify basement issues along with what to do about them.
1. Home Structure Inspection
In our article on home issues to expect in North Carolina, we highlighted structural issues that start with the basement and supporting interior beams. The foundation, whether it’s a basement, crawl space, or slab, supports the entire building. Any problems are going to show up in the home’s walls and floors.
Inspect for cracks in walls, brickwork, and the chimney. Watch for tilted or sagging floors as well as bulging or bowed basement walls. If you discover any evidence, seek professional experts in foundation repair for advice.
2. Water Issues Search
Evidence of basement water issues includes water seepage, mold and mildew, damp walls and floors, and efflorescence, which is white chalky powder on the basement walls. Basement windows can also be sources of leaking water. All that moisture damages everything it touches and further sets up wood rot.
The best approach for repair is fixing leaks and installing an interior drainage system, sump pump, and dehumidifier. Seek out basement waterproofing professionals for insight and repair estimates.
3. Insulation Top-to-Bottom Review
Rising energy costs can be a real issue in North Carolina. That’s why it’s important to have proper levels of insulation throughout a home to keep the heating or air conditioning inside. Review the areas with ready access, including the attic and the basement. Also, inspect the HVAC ductwork.
Replace any damaged attic insulation or add to it to increase its insulation value. In the basement, the best insulation is rigid waterproof panels that seal against water and provide a vapor barrier.
4. Pest Evidence Search
Moisture in the basement indicates cracks and leaks. Those cracks can easily provide ready access to all manner of pests, from ants to termites and rodents to snakes. None of those critters are welcome and all of them can cause serious damage.
Search for droppings, nests, and entry points, chiefly from cracks and gaps. The next step is calling an exterminator and then sealing the entry points. Sealing cracks and gaps can also help with basement moisture problems.
5. Basement Mechanicals Testing
As the water rises in a basement, it encounters mechanical appliances, including washers and dryers, water heaters, and the HVAC system. That excess moisture can also cause rusting throughout the basement. As you can imagine, the replacement costs for these items can be quite high.
Watch for water lines on the walls and even the appliances that announce the high-water level from basement flooding. Call in a technician to test the appliances and electrical systems to make sure everything is working properly, or they can build a comprehensive list of required repairs.
6. Gutters, Downspouts, and Landscaping Review
Water in the basement might come from leaky plumbing, and certainly look for that, but it is more likely to come from the outdoors. Along with checking for basement windows that need to be waterproofed, also look at the gutters and downspouts to make sure they are clear of any obstruction and that the water is channeled away from the foundation. That water should also be routed away from the foundation courtesy of correctly graded landscaping.
A gutter and downspout specialist can help correct any issues found. Landscapers can not only help with the grading, but a general cleanup can help significantly with the home’s drive-up appeal.
We Can Help
As you consider any basement issues in properties, contact the professionals at Tar Heel Basement Systems. We can provide a free inspection and repair estimate.