5 Ugly Truths About Basement Flooding, Don’t Let it Happen to You

Sonia Figueroa
Sonia Figueroa
Published on November 24, 2018

Recently, I was showing a home, and we walked down into the basement. It was like a nightmare, you could not turn on the lights, the walls had that old brown paneling, some of the paint on the wall was peeling. The worst thing about this foreclosure was the fact that it smelled like death. As we proceeded down the stairs we had to cover our nose with our hands because the smell was just unbearable. We went further into the basement and started to look below at the trimmings of the walls and there was a huge water line on the drywall. We kept walking towards the furnace area and this growth of green spores were growing all along the wall. It looked like a pizza that was left in the fridge for over 3 weeks.

Needless to say that water got into the house. Unfortunately with foreclosures you never know what you are going to find. We finally came up for a breath of fresh air and went upstairs to main floor only to discover that the growth had spread to the back side of the house

I couldn’t resist but to take a quick snapchat of the home, I’ve never seen anything like this in my 12 years of real estate it was cray cray!

But this is what water damage can do to your home if left untreated. It can be really costly as well.

1) Be Cautious

Having a wet basement is one of the worst problems to have in your house. If your basement gets flooded, everything from the furniture, to the wall and the valuables (especially them) will be ruined probably forever.

Health issues might arise shortly after, since mold, the associated spores, and dust mites will multiply and pollute your indoor environment as the air rises to the upper parts of your home. And did we mention the bad smell? Keep in mind that 38% of the basements suffering from a moisture problem will have fungus growth.

A wet basement really has the potential to transform your daily life into a nightmare. It is one the biggest problems in the housing market nowadays.

Sometimes it’s not that big of a deal.

You have to look at every inch of the home sometimes it’s just the sealant of the home around the foundation that has cracked off just due to wear and tear. If you do it on your own you can save thousands of dollars. Of course, if you want to use a contractor just make sure he doesn’t go crazy with the estimate. If you are looking to do it yourself check out the video below.

2) Why You Should Buy Property with a Wet Basement

A wet basement can be a huge deal breaker for most buyers. But did you know that according to The American Society of Home Inspectors, most new homes develop a leak within the first 10 to 15 after being built? Thus, the problem is not strictly restricted to old homes, far from it. And in general, around 60% of the existing basements are damp.

But there is still a big advantage when you plan to purchase a house with a wet basement: ample room for negotiation. You can generally knock down the price by 10% to 25% which means you’ll get a great deal, well below market value!

Once purchased, it’s time to get to work and find a good waterproofing basement contractor that will fix the problem for you. This problem can be fixed quickly, efficiently and doesn’t have to necessarily cost a lot of money. Actually, compared to more serious problems such as asbestos or lead paint, this annoyance is rather easy to solve.

After only a couple days, you will see a drastic difference. The waterproofing team will simply install a sump pump, a dehumidifier, and a french drain. It’s not very complicated and it will do a lot for your home and its value on the housing market too.

A word of advice: choose wisely your contractor. Most businesses fail within 5 years for a variety of reasons and if you don’t pick an established company, you might end up dealing with problems in the future without having anyone to talk to 36% of contractors fail because of performance issues such as inadequate staff training or an inability to deal with new types of work, which means that the job might be performed poorly and shortly after they will fold up and you’ll be left all alone without customer service and assistance of any kind.

I have to say that if you want to buy a home with a wet basement watch out for the different type of molds.

black-mold-see-sonia.comThe most common types of mold include aspergillus, cladosporium and stachybotrys atra (also known as black mold). There is also pink, blue and yellow mold Make sure you investigate and have mold remediation done way before you start the renovation process.

Stachybotrys chartarum is often referred to as “black mold” it has a slimy black appearance. It’s referred to as “toxic mold,” it cause health problems when people come in contact with them. You can have allergic reactions, breathing problems, chronic sinus infections, asthma attacks, fatigue, and depression..

Stachybotrys chartarum has a characteristic musty odor and usually grows in places that stay damp all the time, like in air conditioning ducts where there is a lot of condensation or around leaky pipes.

3) Selling a Property with a Wet Basement

If you plan to sell your property and you suffer from a moisture problem in your basement, the first thing you should do is to fix the problem in order to sell the house for its full market value, otherwise, you will leave money on the table!

It might sound like a huge hassle but as we already saw, dealing with a damp basement is not as complicated as you may think. A brand new drainage system coupled with a sump pump will greatly help you once you start negotiating with your potential buyers. Make sure you install a dehumidifier in your basement since it will help lowering future energy bills. As you already know, an energy-efficient home constitutes a great selling point.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can even consider basement remodeling. it will increase living space but you really need to pay attention to the quality of materials used if you don’t want to turn it into a future liability. Interior and exterior waterproofing are a must for any homeowner planning to sell his house.

4) Basement Waterproofing: the ultimate solution to wet basements

There are not a lot of solutions on the market as simple and cheap than hiring a basement waterproofing team to finally solve your wet basement problem.

Make sure a good warranty is included and pay very close attention to the materials used, even if these materials are called “mold resistant”. Take your time to compare contractors and quotes and once you’re sure, go ahead and hire the best!

Say a final “No” to flooding and seepage in your basement and stop cleaning it endlessly. Basement waterproofing is not that expensive and it will pay for itself down the line. Don’t let your house sit on the market for months and make that investment now.

I’d like to add that the seepage problem can just be as small as making sure you have extensions on your down spouts. Make sure you add extension at the tip of your gutter system to allow the water run away from the foundation of the home at least 5 feet away from the foundation of the property.

5) Check for the Dreaded Cracks in the Foundation

Let’s face it most of the homes in Chicago are over 75 years old and will have signs of cracks due to settlement excessive displacement and continuing movement. There are all types of cracks such as step, vertical and horizontal cracks and you can also have a combination of cracks as well.

Regardless of what types of cracks you might have fix it immediately, don’t dilly dally.

Here’s an example of a home that I found with major cracks, don’t let this be you.

I hope this helps! Please comment and let me know your experience with basement flooding.




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