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Basements can be a fun and exciting part of your home if finished. But getting to the end product of flooring, trim and that coveted pool table involves some initial research into the potential of this space. Browse the menu to get acquainted with what to watch for in your basement.

Inspection

A basement is an area below the first floor with a minimum height of 6 feet 8 inches. Basements may be unfinished and used to store personal belongings and to house the mechanical systems such as the HVAC system, electrical panel, and main plumbing controls. Other basements may have portions that are finished and used as a living area. But finished or unfinished, it is estimated that 90 to 95 percent of all basements will experience a water penetration problem.

Generally, water penetration in a basement causes more damage to personal belongings and the mechanical systems in the basement than actual damage to structure. However, excessive moisture in the basement can lead to health concerns such as mold and mildew. In addition, excessive moisture can lead to the development of wood destroying fungus and create conducive conditions that can lead to infestation of wood destroying insects such as termites. For more information on how to deal with a wet basement, follow the links to the left.

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How do you solve any water in the basement problem?
98% of all water in the basement problems are due to surface water. Water that enters the basement or crawlspace is directed toward the walls of the home by the surface grades. The roof water management system, typically gutters and downspouts, will contribute to water intrusion if they are not installed or designed properly.

The solution to these problems is to develop dense soil (clay) grades that slope away from the walls of the house at a rate of 1/2" per foot or more for at least 6' to 10'. Soft soils, such as topsoil, mulch and wood chips, do not shed water and will not solve the problem. Soft soils should be installed after the dense soils are in place and compacted.

The remaining 2% of water in the basement problems are due to a high water table. The basements should not have been built with below grade areas. The solution involves comprehensive pumping systems that are designed to constantly draw water away from the home.

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