I just had a home inspection client cancel his home inspection this past Monday on a vacant home. The Realtor and plumber met at the property in the morning to turn the water on and reported that there was standing water in the basement that was seeping in through the foundation. As a result, the client decided to cancel his offer on the property.
I can only guess the reason for the water intrusion, but as I discuss with all of my home inspection clients, Gutters and Down Spouts, when properly installed can go a long towards helping to keep your basement dry.
The number one culprit for causing water penetration into the basement of a house is rain gutter downspouts discharging rain water right alongside the foundation. All downspouts should discharge the water at least five feet or more from the foundation. If a downspout is discharging water right alongside the foundation, I recommend installing downspout extensions. That is an easy job that most people can do themselves.
Getting the water away from the foundation will help to avoid water penetration into the basement. Close-to-the-house downspout discharge is not the problem of all water problems in the basement, but it is certainly one of the major ones. If a water penetration problem develops in the basement, before you call in a waterproofing contractor, check the downspout discharge area.
As already mentioned the correction may be as simple as installing extensions on the downspouts and discharging the water away from the house.
One other tip on water penetration and downspout discharge, if your downspout discharges to an under ground discharge pipe and you are getting water penetration in the downspout area, you may have a damaged underground discharge pipe. That pipe may be discharging water right alongside the foundation causing the water intrusion. To determine whether or not the in-ground pipe is damaged and causing the problem, disconnect the downspout from the in-ground pipe and put a five foot extension on the downspout. This will allow the water discharge to occur above the ground. If the water penetration into the basement stops, is will be evident that the broken in-ground pipe line is the problem. If that’s the case, you can either dig up and repair the pipe or just stay with the above ground discharge extension.