A basement remodel is a fantastic idea. If you are reading this blog you are probably considering finishing or remodeling your basement— and we think you should go for it! After all, a basement remodel has a wealth of benefits, including:
- Greater home value
- More useable space
- Higher home resell value
- Improved home energy efficiency
- Better home functionality
Your home will become better and more valuable once you have completed a basement remodel. But before you strap on your tool belt and get to work, slow down and consider having a professional drainage inspector or contractor inspect your basement beforehand.
Why should I inspect my basement for water before a remodel?
Do you know why there are so many basement waterproofing companies? Because homes will always leak and people will always miss an opportunity to take action at the right time. More importantly, things change over time, and where once there was no water the next year there could be a torrential flood in a home. Being proactive saves time, money and prevents the pain of loss.
You might hire a general contractor for your basement remodel because of their workmanship, ability to come in on time and on budget. But if the contractor has never dealt with water in a basement, how would you know to even consider it? It is up to the consumer do their homework and ensure all important factors are considered.
What should I be looking for in a drainage / waterproofing inspector?
Most people you would contact are drainage companies with a product or service to sell and install. Not everyone will offer a “consultation” or inspection, but it does not hurt to ask. My recommendation would be a general drainage contractor, not specializing in just one product or service, who is local based in your area, and understand local drainage issues and building practices. Experience is key too. Look for lots of reviews, and always call to talk to the owner about what you are looking for. Friendly staff willing to help without being pushy for a sit down presentation is a great sign right up front.
Be cautious of “Free Estimates”, and consider paying a fee for the advice. Free estimates are an opportunity to sell a product or service that you may or may not need. You may learn a lot and may see products you like, but by paying a fee, you are in the driver’s seat, not the estimator. You should expect the inspection and discussion time to take at least an hour or two, and an estimate for repairs or small report as part of the service. Typically the consultation fee will be applied as credit towards future work. And always read the guarantee provided by the contractor to ensure you fully understand what you are buying.
What Does a Thorough Basement Inspection Entail?
Every company is different, so all I can tell you is how we, at Perma Dry Waterproofing, prefer to handle and help our potential customers. You should always make time to be present and walk through with your contractor or inspector to learn the most and get all your questions answered. But a good basement waterproofing company in the Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue area will inspect:
On the exterior
- Soils too high against the house
- Negative grade of the yard towards the house
- Type of roof water drain pipe (older concrete and terra cotta pipes are bad, bad, bad!)
- Test roof drains, driveway drains, and other water system with testing dye
- Condition of gutters, downspouts, tree debris, and roof condition
- An additional service may include a video scope of roof drains and sewer mains.
On the inside of the house we are looking for
- Cracks in the foundation wall (sheet rock has to be removed and the space unfinished).
- Cracks in the floor that show signs of past water seepage up from the floor
- Efflorescence on the foundation wall indicating outside water
- Stains or runs of water across the floor
- Finished walls where water damage may have left damage from past water issues.
Electronics like infrared wall cameras and moisture meters are helpful, but they also can be very misleading and cause stress and harm where there is none to be concerned about.
We encourage you to remodel your basement, it truly is one of the best ways to improve the value and your personal enjoyment of your home. But always ensure you protect against not only what you know, but what you don’t know. A basement, is a basement, is a basement, and never take a wet basement for granted.
To learn more about our products, services, and ability to inspect your property for water issues, call Perma Dry Waterproofing today at 1-800-584-9118.