It's Not If, It's When

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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!

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the lock to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
Groups:
Active Rain Block Party
Adventures in Home Inspecting
Professional Home Inspectors
The Vent
Tags:
foundation problems
basement moisture
thermal infrared inspection

Comments 9 New Comment

Rainmaker
1,168,529
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Mandy - sometimes major things need to happen outside, regarding grading and water diversion, before it is a good idea to do anything inside.  Keeping water off the house is the best preventative.

January 09, 2010 12:22 PM
Rainmaker
162,395
Kate Ford
Ask Kate a mortgage question...
Get-Your-Best-Mortgage-Rate.com

I do not miss having a basement. Our last one was dry for years but every winter, we wondered what was coming.

January 09, 2010 04:31 PM
Rainmaker
1,168,529
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

By now, Kate, since it wasn't for you it might have been for someone else!  Not if, when!

January 09, 2010 05:24 PM
Rainmaker
616,185
James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

Had FLIR gives us (ASHI) a seminar this past Thursday. The newer cameras are much smaller and lighter. Plus they take both IR and digital pictures. Alas I will have to keep my old (about 4 years) camera for now.  I love IR.

January 10, 2010 07:46 AM
Rainmaker
1,168,529
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

James - I have had my RAZ-IR for almost 6 years.  It is the size of a hamster and does 120x160 pixels.  That was way state of the art when I bought it.  The software is better now, but my camera is fine.  It even does movies!

January 10, 2010 07:54 AM
Rainmaker
1,168,529

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
You may contact me anytime...
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the lock to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Additional Information

An experienced home inspector's look at current home inspection events and conditions along with his useful recommendations.