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Here’s What Basement Waterproofing Inspectors Look For

Take a look at common items on a basement waterproofing inspector's checklist.

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Regardless of whether you have had basement leaks in the past, basement waterproofing inspections are incredibly important when it comes to ensuring the health and safety of your home. Inspections help you recognize signs of potential water damage and should be done on a regular basis. 

Are you wondering what inspectors look for when they come to your home? We take a look at standard things inspectors like to check out before giving you a positive or negative result. Read on to learn how to best prepare for these inspections. 

contractor basement inspection

Joints and Cracks 

If your home is prone to water damage, it will show up first in the joints. Many inspectors will begin an inspection by taking a closer look at your basement joints. They will be looking to identify any cracks or signs of damage. 

Your basement joints can experience a wide range of cracks. The following are some of the most common ones you can encounter: 

  • Horizontal cracks. Hydrostatic pressure from water rising around your home is at fault for creating these cracks. 
  • Vertical cracks. Most often, vertical cracks come about as a result of faulty structural supports. Vertical cracks can also indicate that inappropriate or faulty materials were used by contractors who originally built your home. These materials include wood that hasn’t properly dried out, which can warp as it ages and compromise your home’s structural integrity. 
  • Diagonal cracks. The cause of diagonal cracks is similar to that of horizontal cracks. Unfortunately, there is additional trouble when it comes to diagonal cracks as they may indicate uneven settling of your foundation. 
  • Stair-step cracks. These cracks appear most often in foundations and basement supports built from bricks and mortar or concrete blocks. Stair-step cracks form in these types of foundations and basement supports because they experience the least resistance along the more sensitive places where bricks or blocks join with mortar. 

The ideal scenario for your home would be for you to invite an inspector out before any of the above-mentioned cracks form. 

If your basement walls or floor do not have any cracks, be on the lookout for the following signs of water damage: 

  • Lower-than-usual temperature 
  • Windows fogging up 
  • Doors and windows sticking to frames 
  • Warped frames 
  • Damage to your belongings 
  • Mold 
  • Unpleasant odors 

If you notice any of the above signs, contact an inspector immediately. You want to get ahead of the problem as early as possible in order to prevent cracks from forming in the future. 

Sump Pump 

The first thing inspectors check after accessing your basement and foundation is your sump pump if you have one. They want to make sure it’s in good working order. If your pump has experienced some wear and tear and is no longer able to keep water outside of your home (or is pumping it back in), an inspector will make note of this and advise you to make the necessary repairs or replacements. This will ensure your basement, foundation, and the rest of your homes stay healthy and dry. 


Next on the inspector’s checklist will be the plumbing. They will want to take a look at any possible damage to your plumbing and ensure that leaks or corrosion are not posing a threat to your home’s health. If your plumbing is faulty, not only will you be paying higher water bills, but you will also be introducing harmful moisture into your basement, which can set off a slew of other problems. 

The best way to figure out the state of your plumbing overall is to do a simple water pressure test. This test will let you and your inspector know which pipes you need to replace. 


Your home’s insulation plays a dual role. It can control the inside temperature of your home. However, it can also be a waterproofing measure, keeping your home safe and dry. The best way to make sure your home stays healthy and dry is to install hydrophobic insulation. 

Unfortunately, insufficiently protected insulation can get wet and become a breeding ground for mold infestation. An inspector will take a close look at your insulation, making sure it is dry and in working order. Next, they will make recommendations as to the state of your insulation and note if it needs to be replaced. 

Structural Supports and Foundation 

You may pass all the above checks and still be experiencing water damage. That’s not good news as this indicates that the issue may be with your foundation and structural supports. These areas of your home are not always easy to access, so the damage won’t be as clearly visible as it may be with some of the above-mentioned aspects of a modern home. 

Current Waterproofing Measures 

Like many homeowners, you may have already undertaken some waterproofing measures. An inspector will need to assess all of these and ensure they are in good working order before giving you a passing grade. 

If your waterproofing measures were installed by professionals, you shouldn’t have much to worry about. We recommend that your inspection be undertaken by professionals who have previously worked on your home. This will ensure that the person carrying out the inspection understands all the particularities of your home, making for a better inspection. They will know what to look out for, helping to keep your home dry and healthy. 

One thing to keep in mind is that even if you have waterproofed your Grand Rapids, MI, home, not all solutions last forever. They can experience wear and tear and require regular maintenance. 

You’ve got a basement waterproofing partner in FSM. Contact us today to schedule a free estimate to make sure your home stays healthy and comfortable for a long time. 

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