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WATER ENTRY IN BUILDINGS
AGE of MOLD - Old is the Mold?
BASEMENT CEILING VAPOR BARRIER
BASEMENT MOLD WATER IMPACT
BRICK WALL DRAINAGE WEEP HOLES
BUCKLED FOUNDATIONS due to INSULATION?
BUILDING DAMAGE ASSESSMENT & REPAIR
CONDENSATION on WINDOWS & SKYLIGHTS
DEW POINT TABLE - CONDENSATION POINT GUIDE
EFFLORESCENCE, Salts & White / Brown Deposits
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOOD DAMAGED FOUNDATIONS
FLOOD VENTS & FLOOD PORTS
FLOODS IN BUILDINGS-mold
FLOOR DAMAGE DIAGNOSIS
FOOTING & FOUNDATION DRAINS
FOUNDATION BULGE or LEAN MEASUREMENTS
FOUNDATION CRACKS & DAMAGE GUIDE
FREEZE-PROOF A BUILDING
FROST HEAVES, FOUNDATION, SLAB
HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET
ICE DAM PREVENTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD INFORMATION CENTER
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS & SMELLS DIAGNOSIS & CURE
SEWAGE BACKUP, WHAT TO DO
SEWAGE BACKUP TEST & CLEANUP
SEWAGE BACKUP PREVENTION
SEWAGE PUMP CLOG DAMAGE
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS
SWEATING (CONDENSATION) on PIPES, TANKS
TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR
TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION in BUILDINGS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
WATER ENTRY in BUILDINGS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Wet or damp basement cause, diagnosis, cure & prevention: this article describes visual inspection methods and clues to detect basement leaks, water entry, flooding, or just high moisture problems. Finding where basement or crawl space water is coming from is the first step in fixing foundation leaks and wet basements. Here we illustrate common basement water entry leak points and signs that can be seen from inside the building.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
Wet Basement Diagnosis: a Guide to Inspecting for Basement Moisture, Leaks, Flood History, or Chronic Water Entry
A clear answer to where basement leaks originate avoids falling prey to the rising ground-water or there's a stream under the house fib that sometimes leads homeowners to installing an expensive fix for the wrong problem.
Where to Start Diagnosing Building Water Entry & Wet Basements - Outdoors
In this article we begin with a catalog of basement or crawl space water entry signs seen from inside the structure. Our opinion is that an expert inspection for a building basement or crawl space water entry problem begins outdoors with an inspection of the site, roof drainage, and similar features (see EXTERIOR WATER SOURCE ELIMINATION). But there are plenty of indoor clues of water leakage problems in buildings, and they can be found on every level of the structure.
Is Your Indoor Moisture or Water Problem Rising Damp, or do you have Basement or Crawl Space Water Entry Leaks?
Basement trim water stains can be a good indicator of a history of wet basement floors. In our photos below we illustrate a cute attempt by someone to "hide" the water stains on basement door trim by placing little stuffed animals in the doorway. First the skunk, then the little squirrel happened to tip over, disclosing that the little rascals had been hiding water stains.
3 Levels of Basement "Wetness" - Inspecting in the Basement for Sources of Building Leaks or Moisture Appearing as Attic Condensation
3. Flood conditions in a building: water extends over the entire building floor, extending from a fraction of an inch to virtually filling the building and even flooding upper floor levels if a building is located in a flood plain or flooded area.
At below left our client points out that basement flooding had reached at least this far up from the basement floor - leaving mud on the bottom of an expansion tank. In this neighborhood we also found flood-deposited mud atop sill plates at foundation wall tops.
Our second photo, at above right, is really an outdoor clue, though you might see this from the inside: it's a foundation flood vent, indicating that the builder thinks the building is in a flood prone area.
Our second structural rust photo (above right) was very exciting. We were inspecting a house on Long Island when the owner mentioned that she had pumps running 24/7 in the basement to keep the bay at bay. All of the Lally columns (some were just hollow pipes not real Lallys) were badly rusted. Details are at COLUMNS & POSTS, DEFECTS. Also see FLOOD DAMAGE TO FOUNDATIONS. For problems with settlement of piers below Lally columns see Settlement Cracks in Slabs.
Our photos below are clear examples of a severe basement flood. If you inspect closely you may find multiple apparent high-water lines on basement surfaces or contents. Don't assume this is necessarily multiple flooding events. The lines may be multiple separate events, or they may be stages in lowering of the water level in a flooded basement. Additional clues (such as rotted floor trim) can distinguish between a one-time basement flood and recurrent water entry.
Our second photo shows our inspection client taking a break next to flood lines on a warm air furnace base.
More basement water entry clues: details on walls
Concrete Foundation Wall Leak Points - Leaks at Cold Pour Joints
At COLD POUR JOINTS, CONCRETE we discuss the cause and possible significance of cold pour joints on a poured concrete foundation wall. Usually a cold pour joint in a concrete wall is only of cosmetic import. But if sufficient time elapsed between successive concrete pours into an individual foundation wall, the lower wall concrete "sets up" enough that there is a poor bond between that layer and the next pour of concrete into the wall forms.
The result can be not only a visible "crack" in the poured concrete wall, but this cold pour joint may leak surface water or ground water into the building. Our photo (above left) shows white efflorescence stains left by a long history of building foundation leaks at a cold pour joint on this building.
Also notice that in the corner there was some efflorescence above the cold pour joint, while at the second photo (above right) there was efflorescence and leakage only below the cold pour joint. At both of these locations a roof drainage downspout had spilled water against the building wall for many years.
Our photo (below left) shows a normal concrete floor slab shrinkage gap where the floor (under our pen) abuts a poured concrete foundation wall.
The brown material on the floor is mud which we suspect rose up from below the slab when surface runoff or ground water saturated the soils around and under the floor slab.
Our second photo, above right, shows minor seepage through the concrete foundation wall at cold pour joints. Most cold pour joints are not leaky, but this one was.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Questions & answers or comments about how to determine the extent and history of basement water leakage at a building.
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Technical Reviewers & References
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