Your basement’s walls, flooring and contents can provide you with various clues as to the overall condition of your foundation. Whether covered or not your walls offer a variety of signs that the average homeowner can readily identify. What follows are a series of steps and photos designed to help you recognize if your basement requires a professional inspection. Please keep in mind that these steps and pictures are intended to serve as a guideline only and in some cases basement leakage can present itself without any warning during severe weather conditions. After reviewing this section if you feel that you have a problem or are not quite sure, please feel free to call Watertite for a no-charge onsite inspection.
Is there a musty smell present anywhere in the basement, particularly in storage closets, areas under staircases or small rooms that are not well ventilated?
Have you at anytime seen “pill bugs”, “saw bugs” or “centipedes” anywhere throughout your basement? If so, have they been present near open drains or adjacent to outside wall sections and or enclosed areas?
In storage areas or bookshelves within the basement have you found paper products such as boxes or books that exhibit visual moisture damage as well feeling damp and having clear signs of active mould growth?
Are any of your wall surfaces, particularly near the baseboards or corner rounds exhibiting signs of bubbling, warping, discolouration and clear signs of active mould growth? Please remember this type of damage can be localized to very small specific sections along the interior face of the outside walls. Areas of particular interest would be interior corners and wall sections that have rainwater leders either spilling on grade or flowing into below grade drainage on the exterior surface side.
Have you noticed any floor or wall sections that are exhibiting signs of “spalling”?. As seen in this photo the paint is spalling away from the concrete floor and white efflorescence can be seen forming on the bare sections of concrete. This type of “spalling” can also be found on finished wall faces in the form of blistering and bulging.
In areas where the walls have been strapped, insulated and covered only with plastic have you noticed significant amounts of condensation forming behind the plastic at anytime?. This would also apply to areas where the drywall has been removed during remodeling but the wall strapping remains as does the insulation and plastic.
When replacing basement carpeting have you noticed damaged and stained under pad, which disintegrates during lifting and has visible signs of active mould growth? . Also have you noticed if the “tackless” (the nailing strip along the edge) which holds the carpet in place is rusted, showing watermarks or discoloured?
Have you noticed signs of what appears to be mild staining or damp patches along wall faces and floor sections ?. These areas can also have small amounts of white “fuzz” or a white powdery substance commonly referred to as efflorescence.
In more severe cases, have you seen anything that looks like the wall sections featured in these photos which are exhibiting clear signs of active mould growth, water damage and efflorescence? Please note that most problem areas are not this severe.
Step Ten – The Obvious Step
At anytime have you seen active water during the spring thaws or periods of rain that present themselves on the wall faces or floor areas? (Soggy carpets, buckled hardwood and lifted tile) Also please remember some basements that have sub-floors or sloped concrete floors may have this water showing up in unexpected locations such as the base of the stairs, interior columns and interior demising / bearing walls. Although commonly mistaken for a drainage problem, this is indicative of foundation wall leakage in most cases.
If after following these simple steps your basement exhibits one or more of these symptoms…You have a dampness problem and possibly, a leaky basement… or if you suspect that a problem exists, but you are just not sure, call Watertite today. One of our friendly professionals will be happy to come to your home and conduct a no-charge onsite inspection