8 Signs of Basement Waterproofing Problems for House Hunters


So, you’re shopping for a new home.  It’s an exciting time, hunting down the ideal place in the right community with the best schools.  There’s the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms to consider -- and don’t forget the granite countertops!

Maybe not as exciting, but every bit as important, is the condition of the basement in your new home.  You can’t afford to treat the basement as an afterthought when viewing homes for sale, not just because of its potential as storage or living space but because a bad basement can turn your dream house into a nightmare.

Be a smart homebuyer and follow this list of tips for making sure your new home has a basement that’s dry, safe and healthy and won’t cost you a fortune in repairs in days to come.

Eight Signs of a Potential Basement Waterproofing Problems

  1. Damp, Musty Odor – Does the basement smell like a locker room?  Chances are it’s not years of accumulated sweat socks but rather years of water seeping into the basement.  There may be no other signs of water infiltration but the nose always knows.
  2. Mold – Black, white or green, whatever the color, the presence of mold in the basement should cause you serious concerns.  Not only will you have to repair a water problem, you’ll have a mold remediation job on your hands.
  3. Efflorescence – See a white, chalky substance on the walls?  That’s called efflorescence, mineral deposits that leach out of wall cracks and openings where water has infiltrated.  Not serious in itself but a bad sign.
  4. Cracks in the Walls – You may not see signs of water seepage-–yet—but foundation wall cracks never get better by themselves and it’s only a matter of time before you’ll have to repair them.  The good news is that crack repair is usually the least expensive waterproofing remedy.
  5. Cracks in the Floor – Hairline floor cracks are common sources of water seepage from hydrostatic pressure in the ground below.  Large cracks or heaving may be signs of an inadequate floor or more serious foundation problems.
  6. Bowed Walls – If you notice an inward curve or bulge in a foundation wall, particularly one made of concrete block, plan on some repairs-–soon.  Bowed walls will allow water infiltration and may compromise the entire foundation but can usually be fixed with steel bracing.
  7. Water Lines on Basement Windows – Basement windows are meant to let in light and air, not to be aquariums.  Evidence of retained water means the window well drain is either badly clogged or missing.  Either way, there are repairs–-or fish-–in your future.
  8. Water Marks on Walls – If you spot stains from water that ran down basement walls, water has entered the basement over the top of the foundation, probably due to grading problems or exterior sources of infiltration.  If it happened once, it’ll likely happen again.

These eight tips will help make you a better home buyer if you weigh them when making a final decision on purchasing your new home.  Don’t let them scare you away, though, because any of these problems can be fixed permanently by a reputable basement waterproofing company.  You should factor the cost of these repairs into the value of the home and remember that home sellers in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana must disclose any known water problems to potential buyers.

At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve helped thousands of homebuyers keep their dream houses dry and healthy.  In the 55 years we’ve been waterproofing basements around Chicagoland, southeastern Wisconsin and northwest Indiana, we’ve just about seen it all and no problem is too big or too small for us to solve.  So, if you’re buying a home or just bought a home and think you may have a basement water problem, why not ask for a free consultation?

If you’re in the market for a new home and have questions about what to look for, please post them in the Comments box below.


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