Leaking Foundations

One of the biggest concerns my clients are concerned about is water in their future homes basement.  Usually any home that has had a water issue or even moisture in the basement can be Water Stains on Paneling in Basementdetected with thermal imaging and use of moisture meter.  One of the best indicators of water or moisture in a basement is your nose.   Any home with a continuing moisture issue will smell musty.   Bottom of drywall, baseboard and exposed concrete will also provide visual indicators of any moisture intrusion.

On unfinished basements the bottom metal wrap area will trap any water that has passed through foundation and is easily seen by the rust on metal strap.  Also when insulation has been in contact with moisture it will typically turn black.  Unfinished concrete will display a coating of salts and minerals where water has passed through the foundation, this is called effervescence.  Concrete is not inherently water proof and will allow moisture and water to seep through is allowed to remain in contact with the wall.   Newer homes typically have exterior dimple wrap to allow any water to  pass straight down to homes weeping tile system which will convey water to sump pump for discharge.

Although there can be many reasons why water is entering a basement I have found the two common sources are poor grading and water discharge from roof drainage system.  For current home owners the fix for water entry could be found by simply going outside during a good rain storm and looking for pooling water around foundation and watching where the water goes from your downspouts.

Typical Signs of Water Entry

Look for some of the signs that indicate leakage. They can assist in indicating what type of problem you are having and can also help in locating the source of leakage.  Some typical indicators are:

  • Dampness/Staining On Carpets – Can indicate past leakage. Identify when and in which locations in the basement, this occurs
  • Efflorescence – A whitish mineral deposit that many times is visible on masonry surfaces.  Usually the result of water passing through the wall.
  • Mold/Mildew – Usually located on or near, an area that has seen prolonged moisture, giving the mold a chance to grow.  Often associated with an unpleasant odor.
  • Rust Stains – Sometimes seen on concrete floors and carpet, usually due to rusted metal feet on furniture. Rusty nails on baseboards, electrical boxes, etc., all indicate evidence of past moisture.
  • Stained/Darkened Wood – Can indicate past water absorption, due to leakage.
  • Dampness/Staining Around Floor Cracks – Can indicate that water is forcing itself up though the cracks, due to pressure, water table, etc.
  • Water Bugs – Look for evidence of small insects along the baseboards, behind sofas, in corners, etc.  Some types of insects gravitate towards areas of moisture. 

Read about Foundation Cracks and Water Leaks by Barrie Home Inspector.