A short time ago we wrote a blog that centered on home inspections. My own daughter heard what “Pops” had been saying and found it was cheaper to buy rather than rent in her Wisconsin location. She has been working with a professional Realtor to screen out a “bargain” from the land mines available. She thinks she found one! She was directed to a good inspector and sent me his report. He had correctly warned her that the basement and garage were being damaged by the rain water running into them.
His pictures made it easy to identify the problem. The slope around the home and the garage funneled water against them. We have gone here before in detail with our pay per view teaching videos and basements. My construction background informs me that this happens for many reasons. Primary are 1: The building area requires that dirt need to be removed for construction of footings and foundation. When it is put back– “back-filled”—it contains air pockets that disappear over time, causing the soil to settle and create a catch basin for rain against the structure. 2. The builder either does not know how to manipulate all factors that determine foundation heights which will create positive drainage or chooses not to because it will require bringing in costly “fill dirt” to raise the foundation height to a point it will have drainage.
The bottom line comes to this. Wet garage floors, basement walls and basement floors not only damage the materials we store on them, they damage the structure. Particularly susceptible are the wood members attached to the foundation. Continued exposure causes these to literally rot. Codes have been changed to require these members to be of treated lumber that will not rot but the sidings attached to the outside of them or the vertical framing pieces called studdings are not treated and will rot. I’ve addressed two issues at once by temporarily shoring up a wall, cutting off rotted material, adding to the foundation height and putting in new treated wood. If basement walls are cement block, continued exposure deteriorates the block. If the structure is slab on grade, it can heave the floor and create major problems as it did in this home where the folks that put in a swimming pool graded the back yard to drain and puddle against the bedroom wall.The amazing thing is that homeowners let this go on for years and create major damage when most cures are simple. As a DYI project or using a landscaper, you can bring in fill to add to settled areas. Gutters with down spout extensions can be a great help. In most situations requiring it, a professional landscaper can re-grade your yard to create positive drainage. In even the most difficult cases, you can Google for DYI or have a landscaper create what is known as a French drain that either sends excess water safely down a drywell or into a sump pit where it can be lifted and ejected to run away from your building rather than in it. Pay a little for the cure now or pay a lot later!
Check out Lamplighteraz.com to contact Gene at his real estate brokerage, Lamplighter Realty. If you have a real estate challenge related to any of our college content that you want to meet and beat, go to Straight Talk Realty University at strealtyu.com. God Bless!