When you’re buying a new home, the last thing you need is to inherit someone else’s problems. Even if you’ve done a walkthrough and taken a close look at plumbing fixtures, paint and ceilings, the potential for disaster might be lurking just beneath the surface – literally.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to have an expert to check the home’s basement foundation when purchasing a resale property. In Calgary, companies like Basement Technologies and Doug Lacey’s Basement Systems offer homeowners – and would-be homeowners – free basement inspections to look for things like cracks, water seepage, excess humidity and mould. None of these things are good signs, but it’s always better to find out sooner rather than later.
Brock Couillard, owner/operator of Basement Technologies since 2005, sees hundreds of basements every year and says the most common issues he encounters include groundwater seepage, radon testing and mitigation, and new basement window and door installations.
“It’s usually older basements without drainage systems that have seepage issues,” he said. “Either they don’t have weeping tile or the weeping tile has been compromised somehow and isn’t functioning properly to drain water away from the foundation.”
The scope of work necessary to repair a problem varies greatly from project to project, he says. “It could be anywhere from two hours to a couple of weeks, with a cost of anywhere from $500-$1,000 right up into the $10,000s if we have to excavate around the exterior of the basement.”
“It’s a good idea to get a free pre-purchase basement inspection if you’re thinking of buying a home. We do them all the time.” – Brock Couillard, Basement Technologies
Doug Lacey’s Basement Systems sees many of the same issues and offers its own patented repair products designed to be installed on the interior of your basement. The company’s WaterGuard system, which drains to a sump system in your basement, has a lifetime warranty against groundwater seepage that is fully transferable should you decide to sell your home.
Their Flexispan repair method, which involves injecting special sealant material into the cracks, also has a lifetime warranty against seepage.
Of course, there are always cases where an interior fix is not possible and it’s necessary to excavate. In this situation, the foundation wall is exposed for grinding/cleaning, a waterproof membrane material is applied over the crack, and protection board and backfill is installed.
Couillard says the best thing a homeowner can do in terms of preventive maintenance is to make sure water is draining away from the foundation. This could mean improving the grading around the basement, replacing weeping tiles, and/or making sure your eavestroughs and downspouts are clear and not draining directly toward your foundation. Inside, watch for visible cracks, leaks, high humidity and even mould, which is both a structural and health risk.
“It’s a good idea to get a free pre-purchase basement inspection if you’re thinking of buying a home,” said Couillard. “We do them all the time.”