March showers are already starting to turn the grass green, and we're looking forward to the warmth and color of spring. That means it's time for and inspecting your basement and foundation for signs of winter damage.
As you walk around the foundation of your house, National Property Inspections, Inc. (NPI) suggests you look for three main types of foundation problems:
- Cracking: Settling soil and vibrations from vehicles can cause foundation cracks. “Normally, cracking is repairable and not seriously threatening to the structure and safety of the building,” says NPI. “However, be sure to monitor cracks and call in a professional if you notice any warning signs.”
- Bulges and outward bumps: Temperature changes can cause soil to settle abnormally. Over time, this can potentially lead to your home sinking or even collapsing if not addressed correctly.
- Leaking: Foundation cracks allow water to seep into the house.
“It’s important to inspect your foundation regularly, so you can catch problems in the early stages – before they become expensive repairs,” according NPI.
Once you're finished with the foundation, look up. Check gutters to make sure they're clear, or rainwater will spill over the sides and down your foundation walls into your basement.
Also, check your chimney if you have one. A chimney that is leaning or pulling away is one of several signs of foundation settlement.
Take a walk around outside your house, and inspect the driveway and sidewalks for cracks or heaved concrete, says Cheapism.com. “Like potholes in the street, tiny driveway cracks can turn into big ones during winter. If you inspect the driveway every spring and fill or re-coat it to repair minor cracks, it should hold up for decades.”
Once you head inside, check interior foundation walls for cracks in the masonry cracks, says Curtis S. Niles Sr., president of the National Association of Home Inspectors. This time, look down first.
“Cracks start from the bottom up, not the top down,” Niles points out. “If there’s water penetration, it’ll show at the bottom of those cracks.”
Check your exposed framing while looking for cracks and other damage. “If you see even a quarter-inch or so of tunneling on the wood, call a pest control company immediately,” says Niles.
To repair cracks, "routine caulking won’t do the job," according to the experts at BobVila.com. "You'll want to hire a foundation specialist." BDB Waterproofing offers foundation crack repair services that bond cracks and keep them from getting larger.
If you have a crawl space, you can take a look at it from the door, says Lisa Turner on Realtor.com.
Using a high-powered flashlight, check the plastic sheet or vapor barrier that covers the floor. Make sure it's intact and not torn. Then shine the light on the underfloor to check for loose or falling insulation, dripping moisture dripping, sagging flooring or mold.
If you don't like what you see, BDB Waterproofing offers crawl space encapsulation services that will turn your crawl space into a clean, dry area that can be used for storage.
When you’re finished with the basement or crawl space, head up to the attic. State Farm Insurance advises homeowners to look in the attic for dirt stains, discoloration or deterioration. These are signs of leakage. That water can make its way into your foundation and cause more problems if it’s not addressed.
“Do keep in mind, however, that some amount of settlement is normal in any house,” says NPI. “Some cracks in foundation walls are minor and do not require you to take action right away, only to monitor them. If you have an old house with evidence of minor settling, it’s probably nothing to worry about.”
If you find cracks, signs of leaks or other areas of concern during your spring home inspection, call BDB Waterproofing at 402-779-3165 or contact us online. Our professionals can double-check these areas, determine if action is needed, and give you a free estimate on repairs.