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A First-Time Homeowner’s Guide to Basements

Thinking about your basement may not be high on your list of priorities as a first-time homeowner, but small flaws you feel you can overlook should be dealt with so they do not become costly problems later. Here are the important things you should know about your basement, whether your basement is humid or cracked or has a weird smell. Then, you can avoid damage to your home and maintain peace of mind as you enjoy this transition in your life.


Table of Contents

Signs of Potential Problems in Your Basement

Problems brewing in your basement may lead to damage that can impact your entire home. Luckily, there are clues you can pay attention to so you address issues before they reach a critical point. The following are some signs of potential problems in your basement that you should keep in mind:

Mold. Mold grows and thrives in damp locations. Finding mold in the basement is a sign of a plumbing problem. If left unchecked, mold can lead to structural damage to your home. It can ruin a variety of materials, including metal, wood, and concrete. Also, mold can have detrimental effects on your family’s health as it is associated with respiratory illnesses. 

Water stains. Stains on the floor or walls of the basement can be an indication of small and large problems. For example, water seeping through the walls and floor is a sign you need to have your waterproofing system fixed. These stains may also be caused by a simple issue, such as water overflowing from a laundry tub. 

Pests. If you find a pest infestation in your basement, it could be an indication they have located a source of water you can’t see. Address this problem as soon as possible so the water and pests don’t cause further damage.

Musty odor. A musty smelling basement may be a sign of standing water as well as a plumbing problem. After a while, the smell may affect items stored in the basement and can even travel to other areas of your house.

Uneven foundation. If there are cracks and dips in your basement’s walls and floor, it’s a sign of damage to the foundation of your home, which can be caused by serious water problems and decay. These flaws need to be addressed  immediately.

Other Basement Issues to Note

Being diligent about the upkeep of your basement can ensure you’ll be able to enjoy your first home for years to come. The following tips can help.

Gutters. Gutters are designed to direct water away from your home. But in order for them to work properly, they need to be regularly maintained. Cleaning debris from your gutters can help prevent leaks that may lead to water damage in the basement. Installing a leak alert system can help you become aware of the leaks you may not be able to see.

Gasses. Hazardous gasses can accumulate in your basement. For example, radon gas may seep through cracks in the basement and become trapped if the ventilation is poor. Also, carbon monoxide, which may be produced by gas furnaces, can fill the basement and travel to the rest of the home. Monitor the gas in your basement with a gas detector. 

Humidity. If you’re not able to find the source of excess water in your basement, one possibility is your basement is humid. To address this, you can use fans or dehumidifiers, as well as get the basement waterproofed.  

Basement Maintenance Help

Understanding what may go wrong in your basement can go a long way toward saving your wallet—and your sanity. By staying vigilant about a basement that’s humid or developing a musty smell, you can get the repairs you need in a timely manner. Need some extra help? Modernize has pros you can talk to. To help you choose a local professional, check out out Contractor Checklist to make the best decision based on your budget and specific needs.

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