Wet basements can lead to quite a few headaches, no matter which side of a deal you represent. The purchaser, seller and Realtor all have a dog in this fight. The wrong home inspector can turn a simple, easily fixed leak into a deal breaker or worse yet, overlook the issue completely.

You and your clients’ concerns are not totally without merit here as high humidity can produce surface condensation, mildew, fungi, musty odors, and an unhealthy living environment.

As you well know, reliance on disclosure can be disastrous, and only an independent Home Inspector with the right tools and qualifications can properly check for signs of dampness and water penetration in the home.

water-penetration-imgCommon Cause of Wet Basement and Crawl Spaces

The most common cause of a wet basement is quite simply that ground or surface water caused by rain or snow thaw is not properly diverted away from the foundation walls of the home.

Although there are other potential causes of wet basements such as high water tables, underground springs and damaged or clogged weeping tiles to name a few, this article we will focus on the most common causes and simple
practical solutions.

In most cases the basement is below grade where moisture is always present and rain water naturally ends up travelling. This process puts pressure on your walls and, since water will always take the path of least resistance, if not handled properly that path could end up leading into your basement.

clogged-gutterThings to look for:

  • Clogged gutters and downspouts
  • Not enough downspouts
  • Downspouts that end at the house without a splash pad or extension
  • Grading and landscaping slopes sufficiently away from foundation
  • Rainwater run-off from the adjacent lawn, walks, or driveway
  • Excessive watering of flower beds and shrubbery around the foundation wall
  • Sprinklers directed at the house

Possible Solutions

It is always recommended that you hire a professional

  • Ensure that your gutters and downspouts are secure and without leaks
  • Remove any dirt, leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts that could cause a clog
  • Add extensions to direct runoff downhill at least 6 ft away from foundation
  • Re-grade the landscape to slope away from your house and give it an escape
  • Redirect sprinklers away from foundation
  • If you have a catch basin keep it clear

recommended-grading-slopesGranted these precautions may not correct more serious issues, however they are the most unobtrusive and cost effective methods of keeping your basement dry. So when the next heavy rain hits your area, grab in umbrella and take a walk around your house to see where the water is going and what it’s doing.

Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a liter less of water in your basement!