The basement is one of the most important rooms of any house. Large or small, ranch or colonial, this room is the foundation of your house. If the foundation has problems and is in need of repairs, the whole house suffers, both structurally as well as cosmetically.
If you are in the market for a new home or just looking to remodel, the cellar should be inspected before you do anything. A walk around the exterior of the house is a good place to start an inspection. However, there are lots of things to look for within the interior of the area as well.
1. Unstable Foundation
Depending on the age of the house, a variety of materials used to build a basement could be found. Stone and brick are more common in older homes, while cinder block and concrete are used in newer construction. Older homes with stone and brick walls may not have concrete floors, but newer homes are more likely to.
With concrete cellars, the home’s foundation is key to the entire unit’s structural integrity, as problems with the foundation make the walls susceptible to settling and shifting. Look for cracks in the walls. If you find a crack, determine if it is a surface crack or if it goes much deeper. Significant cracks in basement walls are often symptoms of unstable foundations.
One of the more common causes for cracks in the walls is the ground shifting around and underneath the room. If the ground is not stable or settled, this could leave voids under the walls, which in turn could cause the wall to shift and crack. These cracks are usually vertical.