What does a home inspector look for when inspecting your basement?

Purchasing a perfect home is a very difficult task these days and especially when you are planning to purchase an older home. There are many problems detected in old homes and the most common problem is water issues in the basement. Since basements are usually built closer to the water table, it usually remains damp and wet causing further problems. Thus a professional home inspector inspects the basement properly so as to rule out the possible issues that might cause major problems later.

What does a home inspector look for when inspecting your basement?

  1. Mildew odor: A musty or stale odor is a sign of hidden water in the basement. It leads to growth of unhealthy mold and mildew. The accumulation of mold in produces musty odor which proves that the basement is not dried out properly. To eradicate this odor it is necessary to clean and dry the walls, the wooden work and other material present in the basement. Mold causes some serious health risks too, like allergic reaction and breathing issues.

  2. Peeling of paint and water stains: Basement walls that are wet can lead to peeling of paint and can cause wet stains. Moreover the baseboards can swell or floor tiles might get loose causing further problems like water seepage. If the carpeting is done on the basement floors, it gets soggy proving the presence of moisture due to water under the floor. The home inspector checks the window casements, window seals and seals around the door of the basement so as to rule out any possibility of water entering in it.

  3. Efflorescence or white residual deposit: If the basement is unfinished and there are water leakages, you can check the level of the water by noticing efflorescence or white residual salt on its surface. Though the residue may not pose any health risk, but it is a sign that the foundation has cracks or is faulty allowing water to enter where it should not.

  4. Cracks on or in the foundation: The home inspector checks for any cracks on the foundation of the basement on the inside as well as on the outside. It is easier for the home inspector to examine cracks during summer or spring season. Basements that are finished with drywalls do not expose the cracks or voids, but the home inspector can inspect the crawl space, which gives access to wiring and plumbing under the basement. He can even reach the unfinished spaces for thorough inspection.

The basement forms an important part of your house, so make sure that it is inspected properly. Since it is partly or completely below the ground level, it is necessary to make sure that there is no sign of problem that can prove to be dangerous later.

If you are planning to purchase a home or even sell a home and looking for an affordable, professional and honest home inspector in Albany, please consider Bald Eagle Inspection Services.

4 thoughts on “What does a home inspector look for when inspecting your basement?”

    • If its foundation walls, its incredibly difficult to see if they covered up an efflorescence or water seepage issue. I just had a client I performed a home inspection for contact me 3 months later with a quickly developing efflorescence issue. Due to the fact that the walls appeared clean at the inspection there was not reason to suspect an underlying issue. It was determined that the homeowner covered up the problem prior to the inspection. obviously illegal. There is not much you can do when a problem is recently been covered up other than ask the homeowner questions in writing and get it on record in the case a problem reveals it self in short term.

  1. I just viewed a 2005 cluster house. Everything in perfect condition and the house is 360 which is expensive for the size.
    The only issue I noticed is a bad smell in the basement and garage. It is the same smell in both areas. The smell is similar to the smell emanating from cars engine. It doesn’t smell like mold.
    What could be the problem?

    • I would recommended air testing for VOC to identify the source of the odor. You might also add a mold test to rule out mold as a source.


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