Water is the number one enemy of any home and can cause issues that will go unnoticed by most homeowners, until it has caused significant damage. Home Inspectors are trained to identify drainage issues that can cause potential problems, so they can be addressed and corrected before the clients buy the home.
Overlooking drainage issues will lead to costly water damage to the structure of the home and foundation problems, which in turn cause rot and mold problems.
Drainage problems from water running off the roof can end up in the basement, by sneaking into the foundation through cracks. The end result can be anything from warped walls and trim, to electrical issues, damage to flooring, and unhealthy mildew and mold.
When a Home Inspector walks around the outside of the house, they look at the slope of the ground. It should be sloping away from the home. If it is towards the home, water will pool and eventually get into the basement causing the damage noted above.
During an inspection, one of the most common issues I find (which is easily fixed) are downspouts terminating too close to the building. Making sure an extension is connected will shunt the water away from the home. Downspouts should be at least 6 feet long, carrying water 10 feet or more away from your home.
Some things to look for :
Cracks in the foundation – If the crack can fit a quarter in it, the foundation may have settlement issues. The cause is often the gutters delivering water to the downspouts too close to the foundation.
Water staining in the basement – look for stains on the interior foundation where it is visible, indicating poor drainage issues.
Pooling water after rainfall – If you notice water pooling close to the home after it’s rained, chances are the grading of the home is incorrect, and not sloping away from the building.
Remember, the name of the game is to keep water out of the home. The best way to do it is to ensure that you have proper slope for drainage, and the gutters and downspouts are doing their job, moving water away from the foundation.