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By House Detective | Home Inspector in Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Basement Moisture

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Albany  |  August 3, 2011 12:26 PM  |  1,598 views  |  No comments
    The goal of this newsletter and the mission of my Company is to give you the valuable information you would not normally receive.
    My intent is to help you gain the feeling of security when purchasing your home and to ultimately contribute to the entire Industry.
    A very common issue that is found on inspections is “Basement Moisture”. I am going to address this issue in a way that will be
    easy for you to understand. I am not going to get into the science and complexities of soil structure and the nature of water flow, but
    I will give you the data you want, to reduce fear. Remember, “Fear is lack of data”.

    The most common causes for basement moisture are:
    1.    Improper or non-existing rain gutters
    2.    Improper or negative slope grading (soil slopes toward house)
    3.    Improper, non-existing or defective sub-surface drainage system

    Most often if a home owner is willing to neglect rain gutters, it’s most likely that they are not going to be overly concerned with the
    grading. It may also be quite possible that they just don’t have the knowledge.

    What happens is, all the rain water collected on one side of the roof drops in one concentrated area. Sometimes two roofs will
    connect at a valley producing twice as much water in one area. If you have a positive grading (soil slopes away from the house),
    most of that water will move away from the foundation. If not, all that water goes down along the sides of the foundation wall and
    under the footing. In some cases houses are built in an area where positive slope is impossible. That’s when a sub-surface
    drainage system is necessary.

    Let’s talk briefly about Rain Gutters. If there are a lot of trees around the house, maintenance can be a bit of a pain in the “you know
    what”, but (pardon the pun) they may be the Home’s greatest ally. On many Inspections, I have seen Gutter Systems that were
    perfectly installed and pitched, except the downspout dumps all the water at one corner of the house and creates One Big issue. It’
    s important to make sure that the water collected is properly diverted away from the house. Sounds pretty simple, huh? It’s one of
    many simple repairs that often get’s overlooked.

    Remember when you where a kid on the beach, building a sand castle? What happened to your sand castle when the waves hit
    the shore?............ Your castle eroded. That’s what happens to the soil around the house if it is consistently hit with large amounts
    of rain water. My point is: it gets progressively worse as time goes on.
    Now, as winter rolls around, any water along the foundation wall freezes and expands. Ice creates incredible force and will push on
    the foundation walls, creating cracks and displacement. Clay soils will also expand as they absorb water and then contract when
    they dry out causing differential movement on the building foundation. This too, will get progressively worse if a controlled watering
    program is not integrated. (we won’t get into the tech on that now).
    The good news is, quite often we see the problem before it’s too late. Hence, “Basement Moisture”. When you see basement
    moisture with no foundational damage, consider it a gift. There is still time to resolve the problem. It’s not as desirable as a dry
    basement but if you have the data, you  won’t run away screaming. Let’s go one step further and assume that there are cracks and
    foundational damage. With a reputable, knowledgeable masonry contractor these issues can be repaired, prevented and/or

    Let’s not disregard a beautiful Home just because it needs some attention.

    There are other areas that relate to “Basement Moisture” and “Foundation Defects” , such as: Rain Gutter Systems, Plumbing
    Leaks, High Water Table, French Drains, Transpiration (removal of soil moisture by vegetation), Frost line, Climate, etc. I will
    address many more topics in future Newsletters. “Till then, I hope this helps.

    House Detective Strives on being Thorough. “That’s the consistent feedback we get”. We leave no stones unturned.

    “I learned very early on, that” Some people like the feeling of Risk or Living on the Edge. “Some don’t even get an inspection”.

    The people who are able to schedule House Detective, go in to their closing with a feeling of Safety and Confidence.

    “That’s why I created this Company”.

    Dan Wos
    House Detective


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