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Common Basement Problems to Deal with When Owning a Home

Whether you’ve lived in your home for one year, five years, or 10, there are unique basement problems that you’ll want to watch for.

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Your home’s basement is more sensitive to damage than you might imagine. Whether you’re purchasing a home for the first time or you’ve lived in the same place for years, you’ll want to train yourself to watch for signs of damage that might indicate something wrong in your basement. 

a wall leaking, common basement problems

What Are Common Basement Problems for First-Year Homeowners? 

It’s easy, the first time you step into your new home, to be simultaneously overwhelmed and overjoyed by your new space. Your first home is special this way and will hold a lot of meaning for you in the years to come. Those feelings do not mean, however, that your new home is problem-free. New homeowners may be even more likely to run into basement problems than more experienced homeowners if only because they may not know what signs indicate true problems. 

Some of the most common basement problems that new homeowners run into include: 

  • Humidity and flooding – An unprotected basement tends to let moisture into your home. Whether it comes in the form of a puddle, higher humidity, or a flood, this moisture can weaken your home’s structural supports and expose your family to unsafe molds. 
  • Unpleasant smells – Unwanted moisture in your home also makes your basement smell less pleasant. 
  • Leaking windows and sticking doors – Moisture can cause your door and window frames to crack, making it more difficult to control the flow of air and temperature throughout your home. 

What Are Common Basement Problems for Fifth-Year Homeowners? 

As you settle into life as a homeowner, you can get used to seeing certain defects throughout your home. Maybe the stained tile by the fireplace is just an inconvenience nowadays. Maybe that crack in your wall has always been there. 

While that kind of comfort is enjoyable, it can also spell disaster for the overall stability of structures like your basement. With that in mind, you’ll want to keep an eye out for some of the long-term basement problems that can plague even more experienced homeowners: 

  • Wall and floor cracks – Concrete block walls are sturdy, but they can easily succumb to moisture or exterior soil destabilization. This means your walls can more readily develop stress cracks
  • Uneven floors – If part of your home has started to sink or otherwise suffer damage due to some manner of basement crack or external pressure, then the floors in your basement may begin to resemble a wave pool. 

What Are Common Basement Problems for Tenth-Year Homeowners 

The thing about damage in your basement is that it doesn’t always come on abruptly. Some types of damage can build up over years. You may not even notice that something’s gone wrong until one day you come home and find that your chimney’s gone a little crooked on your roof. 

With that in mind, homeowners who’ve stayed in the same home for 10 years or more will want to be as diligent as homeowners who’ve just moved onto a new piece of property. The problems experienced homeowners can run into, after all, can often be more severe than those that new homeowners have to deal with. 

Some of the most common basement problems that experienced homeowners tend to encounter include: 

  • Leaning chimneys – Basement supports that have suffered from exposure to water or destabilization over the years can cause your chimney to crack or lean, putting the safety of your basement and roof at risk. 
  • Sinking cement – Cement expands and contracts when it isn’t taken care of. You may find yourself contending with concrete creep or sinkage if you’re not able to protect your concrete supports from water damage. 
  • A damaged foundation – A damaged basement often leads to a damaged foundation. If you haven’t made a point to inspect your home on a regular basis, then any flooding in your basement may have destabilized the structural supports working to connect your foundation to the rest of your home. In turn, you may find yourself 10 years into homeownership and dealing with a sinking or cracked foundation

What Causes Common Basement Problems? 

More often than not, you can trace common basement problems to a single source: hydrostatic pressure. While hydrostatic pressure isn’t the sole cause behind many homes’ basement problems, it does tend to destabilize your home and make your basement less safe to stay in. 

Hydrostatic pressure builds up outside of your home when water comes into contact with your basement’s structural supports. There, it changes the temperature of your supports, causing those materials to change size on a molecular level. Rapid changes in size at this level put your basement’s structural supports under significant stress. That stress, in turn, can lead to cracks in your basement as well as to leaks, molds, and all the other problems noted here. 

Looking to prevent common basement problems throughout your home? You don’t have to do that kind of work alone. Instead, you can reach out to the professional contractors serving Livonia, MI. The experts at FSM can inspect your basement and provide you with a free services quote for potential repairs and preventive installations. 

The sooner you’re able to protect your basement, the sooner you’ll be able to get back to enjoying the comforts of your family home. 

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