You’ve attended an open house, and you're extremely excited — you've clearly found the home of your dreams. But you know that, unlike cars, there's no House Fax. How can you tell whether or not there has been water damage or foundation damage in the past? It's all about being able to see the signs.
The Major Signs of Water Damage
Water damage isn't just bad when it occurs. If a flood happens, structural damage, mold, and bacteria could still be present where the eye can’t see. If a plumbing issue has occurred, there could still be leaks that haven't been fixed.
- Check for a moldy or musty smell in cabinets, attics, basements, and other small, enclosed areas. Moldy and musty smells could indicate dampness.
- Look for dark spots on ceilings, floors, and walls. Dark spots could be wet spots or stains from prior leaks. Either way, they indicate water problems.
- Inspect wood for warping. Baseboards will appear to warp if they have gone through a flood. You may also see warping around frames, doors, and other wooden objects.
- Look for peeling of wallpaper or linoleum. Anything that attaches to a surface through adhesive may begin to lift up if there has been a flood or a plumbing issue.
- Check for active mold growth. Mold growth will appear as dark, fuzzy areas of corners and nooks and crannies. This growth indicates that either the area is wet or that the humidity is high.
- Examine the walls and ceilings for sagging. Sagging could indicate that the ceilings or walls are damp and are consequently losing their structural integrity.
You must address water damage if you want to avoid the potential health issues of living with mold or mildew. Water damage can also be a sign of larger problems, such as current plumbing leaks.
The Major Signs of Foundation Damage
Foundation damage can impact both older homes and new homes. Older homes could develop foundation problems over time, due to the foundation shifting. Newer homes could be settling into their new foundation or could have improperly poured foundations. Look for these signs in any home you’re considering.
- Examine the ceilings and walls for cracks. Cracks begin to appear when the foundation has warped and then started to pull apart the structure of the home.
- Open and close the doors and windows. Doors and windows will begin to warp and stick if the foundation has shifted, leading to doors and windows that will not easily open and close.
- Look around the outside perimeter. If you see trees or bushes growing into the foundation, this growth makes it likely that the foundation has not been properly maintained. An improperly maintained foundation could have many problems.
- Water around the home or in the basement. Water will often begin to infiltrate a property when the foundation has damage, as one of the purposes of the foundation is to keep this water out.
- Slopes in the floor or the ceiling. Slopes are usually not present when the home is first built, but develop over time as the foundation shifts and settles. If the floor seems to be strangely uneven and you see cracked tiles or grout, the foundation could be damaged.
Foundation damage is particularly important to address early on because it impacts the entire structure of your home. A foundation that is left damaged could eventually lead to cracking, leaks, and interior damage.Of course, there are signs that anyone can miss if they aren't a professional. Before you close on a home, you'll usually have your home checked by an inspector. But even inspectors can make mistakes. Don’t take any chances; get a professional to help you inspect the property. Contact All-Systems Waterproofing if you're in the market to buy a home that you think could need water damage or foundation repairs.