Oh great, here we go. Austin’s going to go on another rant. Yup! You got it! And do you know why? Because, like anything else, ignoring a problem does not make it go away. It makes the problem worse. My father was diagnosed with non-Hodgskins Lymphoma when they found a pop-can-sized tumor in his body. Wouldn’t it have been much easier to fight that cancer when it was the size of a grape? As a result, I go get myself scanned and checked regularly. He did make it through the cancer, btw. Even with an 8% chance of survival (mindset is key!).
The same goes for Basement Waterproofing, Foundation Repair, and Fixing Your Basement. A problem found cannot be ignored. It will only get worse. The problem, like anything else, is that as it gets worse it also gets more expensive. Below I am going to go through a few common services and the “what happens if I ignore it” scenario.
While most Foundation Cracks are a waterproofing concern, and not a structural concern, if ignored they can become a structural concern. Cracks in the foundation wall can be a result of:
- Initial shrinkage of concrete
- Hydrostatic Pressure
- Stress points (I-Beam pockets, windows, doorways)
- Initial settlement of home (after first 7 years, most homes have completed their “initial settlement” phase. Any settlement after that is considered an issue.)
So, if your concern is just that there will be water coming through, and you have an unfinished basement, it may not mean that your house is going to fall over. However, each time it rains, the water will bring debris and make the leak worse. Over time, it can become a larger issue, and may signify a bad condition of the home. (See our Foundation Crack page for more info: Foundation Repair Service
Other Issues That Can Affect Your Basement
- Mold-growth – If water is leaking into your basement, it can increase humidity levels under your home. Once the humidity reaches around 70%, mold can begin to grow on your walls, stored items, and other places.
- Insect infestation – A wet basement can lead to insect infestation. Insects, rodents, and other small creatures love hot and damp environments. During the winter months, they’ll try to escape the cold by settling inside your basement or crawl space.
- Plumbing problems – If plumbing lines are feeding through your basement walls, foundation settlement could potentially crack or damage them.
- Increased utility bills – If water raises the humidity levels in your basement, that hot air can rise through your first floor and spread into the rest of your home. This will cause your air conditioning unit to fight harder to counter the increase in temperature.
- Decreased property value – Foundation damage, mold, and other problems will decrease the value of your property. That’s why it’s best to fix any problems in your home before you try to sell. This also applies to new buyers who are looking for problems in a home before they purchase it.
Hydrostatic Pressure Seepage (from ground)
Here we are talking about Drain Tile Systems mostly. When you have cracks in the floor and water coming up from under the floor, you have a Hydrostatic Pressure issue.
The problem with ignoring this is two-fold:
- The water will always get worse. These are not flukes, and just because it didn’t leak during one recent rain does not mean the problem is gone. Different rains produce different amounts of water.
- It is signifying a bigger issue. You have water all around your home, especially now. When you have this type of seepage, imagine your house as a boat instead and you can get an idea of the water around it. This water pocket constantly sitting and flowing under the home can cause structural issues if ignored long enough. The continued seepage can also wear away at I-Beam supports and other structures in the basement, causing further issues.
This one is the biggest mistake to ignore. This is cancer for your home. This is catching the cancer when the tumor is the size of a pop can. Ignoring these issues can be fatal for your home.
Not only do we have an issue with the settlement literally ripping apart the home and causing further issue, but we have larger concerns:
- Safety of the residents. Walls falling over will cause the floors above to go with it. We don’t need to illustrate what happens to the people in those rooms above.
- Settlement can cause electrical disconnection of the electrical box, causing arcing and fires.
- Once a home has settled so much, broken apart or together, the city can “condemn” the home. Yes, if they deem it un-safe to live, the city can evict you from the home until repairs are made.
- I-Beam supports that give way can cause floors above to slope, or in the worst-case-scenario, collapse.
Foundation Settlement is what happens when the above issues are ignored. Check out our page for more info about how this is caused and what to do about it: Foundation Piering
Remember, it is ALWAYS best to resolve an issue right away. Weather it be going to the doctor when you’ve had a pain for a few days, to bringing in your car when it starts making the weird noise (not 3 weeks later), or even when it comes to fixing your home’s foundation.
Thanks for reading and as always:
“Not Everything’s Better When Wet”