Last fall I did an inspection on a house with the potential for foundation problems.
It's topography has it in a bowl beneath the house beside and behind. There is a hill between it and drainage to the street to the other side. One rear gutter connected to a meandering plastic drain which emptied kind of in the middle of the house, but couldn't go anywhere anyway because of the hill. The rear yard and patio on that yard inclined toward the house. There was evidence of moisture in a visible portion of the foundation wall. There were many signs that pointed to moisture potential in the house.
It had been a dry summer and fall. There was no evidence of moisture in the basement walls, although they were covered with drywall. But the basement floor had an unusual feature: it was built up on 2x8's with a wood floor and new carpeting. What made this floor unusual was that the ceiling above was just under 6'6". Not very high. Not exactly, um, right.
There had to be a reason. We discussed all it could mean. One of the things we discussed was cover up.
We had a couple of heavy rain storms followed by a very deep snow storm a little while ago. It's melting produced lots of water, obviously. And that means water pressure.
My client called just over a week ago. "You said there were many things conducive to the foundation leaking and, 'It's not if, it's when,' as to that basement wall. Well, we removed that wood floor the other day and it was dry. Today there is a lot of water. Can you come over?"
Here is what my IR camera saw:
In the image to the right you can see the remains of the flooring that was removed. Above that spot the ceiling is a foot higher, so it made sense to remove it to there. Notice that the moisture evident that day, seen as navy blue, purple and lavender, is mostly below the level of the floor that was removed. All along the wall. Even though it was not there during the inspection, one has to think it had been there before! Now the work begins.
My recommendation: When there are many indicators that are conducive to wet basements, you should pay them heed. And what isn't there one day can be there the next!