Archive for March, 2015

A Flooded Basement: Prevent to Protect

Posted on: March 31st, 2015 | No Comments

Basement flooding coming through the back door.A flooded basement can happen for a number of reasons, most of them having nothing to do with leaving a window or cellar door open. In other words, it’s not your fault! Houses age, and just like people, their joints begin to wear down and functioning efficiently becomes more difficult.

If a basement develops pooling or settling water, it can have devastating effects on the health of residents as well as weakening the foundation and creating a safety hazard. The first step to eliminating the problem or preventing it altogether is addressing the possible causes. Let’s take a look at a few of these aging structural concerns that may lead to a flooded basement:

  • Old Plumbing – Older homes use older building materials that may have been the best quality at the time but are now outdated and inefficient. One example is clay piping for a home’s plumbing system. Clay becomes softer and more brittle over time, causing it to be susceptible to being infested with roots. This can break pipes and cause major leaks which end up as a flooded basement and a headache.
  • Cracked Foundation – A foundation is not only a strong base for the structure of your home, but also a barrier to the outside. When it becomes cracked from age, stress, or even natural disaster, the outside elements can get through. This includes things like water or even weeds, insects, and rodents depending on the size of the crack or hole.
  • Sloped Yard – There can also be water seepage through a solid foundation or pooling and draining through walls. This seems to happen most often with houses whose yards slope toward the home. Water from rainfall or even sprinklers will drain down the slope and pool against the wall or down the wall into the foundation.

If you think your flooded basement is due to one of these causes or you suspect that your basement will flood, don’t despair. Each one of them can be addressed – even before any water pools. Here are some correction methods for flooded basement prevention:

  • Install a New Plumbing System – Just like joints can be rebuilt and reinforced, so too can a house’s pipes. Clay is only supposed to last 50-60 years, so just replace the piping when it starts to break down. This can cost anywhere from $2,000-20,000 and is usually estimated by foot of pipe. The bigger your home, the more money it will cost.
  • Patching Cracks – It is possible to patch foundation cracks on your own. Most hydraulic cements do an adequate job and can last a few years. However, a more permanent fix isn’t too much more expensive. An epoxy-ejection system can fill in the crack completely and permanently for around $60 per tube. That’s considerably more cost effective than covering flood damage.
  • A New Yard Gradient – Leveling out the gradient of your yard can be a positive thing, not only by reducing basement leaks, but also for the aesthetic and usability of the yard. A level yard will incur less pooling and fewer weeds. A firmer ground also means fewer rodents. Additionally, it uncovers or brings in new soil that will offer more enrichment for grass or a garden. Moving dirt around to level your yard can cost anywhere from $15-30 per yard. So once again, the full cost depends on the size of the yard and the problem.

Don’t let a flooded basement affect the integrity, stability, or comfortability of your home – especially when there are affordable solutions and people to help. If you suspect any one of these issues listed above, don’t hesitate to contact Inspect It 1st for quality inspection services. Being informed and getting the repairs taken care of quickly can ease your mind, protect your home investment, and – most importantly – protect your family.

Safety During Small Bathroom Renovations

Posted on: March 16th, 2015 | No Comments

Small bathroom renovations can be fun and financially beneficial for a DIYer, but every home renovation should be tempered with a little caution. Renovation usually means taking out your handy tool box and loosening some screws here and there or dismantling something. And any time you dismantle something, there’s a chance to uncover a problem in the bare bones beneath. But for small bathroom renovations, it could potentially mean altering or damaging the plumbing as well.

Here are some cautions to take with small bathroom renovations:

  • Man working on a small bathroom renovation. Paint – Believe it or not, lead paint is a possibility inside the home just as much as outside. In a bathroom especially, baseboards with lead paint might peel and flake from the moisture in the air and over time create a serious health hazard. Remove old paint rather than painting over it to ensure this toxin doesn’t stick around. CAUTION: Lead paint is hazardous to breathe, and many states require a specific contractor for proper removal. However, if you elect to do it yourself, remember to:
    • Wear a mask.
    • Move all other objects out of the bathroom so they are not contaminated.
    • Cover any objects that can’t be moved with polyethylene plastic.
    • Cover the door with poly to contain the air contamination.
    • Shut off heat, air conditioning, and other ventilation systems.
  • Walls/Tile – Before you start breaking down walls to renovate or popping up vinyl tiles, be aware that asbestos could be lurking. Just like with lead paint, particles may be released into the air and cause a serious health hazard, putting you and your loved ones at risk for lung cancer and disease. If you find asbestos, you may be required to notify certain agencies, depending on your state. Either way, you’ll definitely want a professional to guide you through the removal process.
  • Plumbing – If part of your renovation requires something even as small as putting in a new toilet, there is the opportunity to crack pipes or uncover old or leaky plumbing. Older houses may even have clay pipes that become infested with roots or other debris and have cracked over time. To avoid flooding, sewer backups, and other costly issues, simply have an inspector check the system while the renovations are taking place.

If carried out correctly and with the right precautions, small bathroom renovations can pay for themselves. How? By increasing the value of your home. Not to mention, they can provide clean and fresh updates to old and inefficient layouts or conditions. In short, they can make your family more comfortable. So don’t be discouraged by the cautions; they are only meant to make sure your work turns out spotless and safe!

During small bathroom renovations, you might come across plumbing that you believe is old or inefficient. Or maybe you find mold and a leak behind some bathroom tiles. Carrying out the renovations on your own doesn’t mean you should deal with potential problems on your own. Before you cover up that mold stain or ignore the voice in the back of your head, Inspect It 1st! A skilled home inspector from Inspect It 1st can give you the peace of mind that your plumbing is solid or give you the knowledge you need to have it repaired. Small bathroom renovations may not be easy, but they can be done safely and help you keep your loved ones safe, too!

Our home inspection company's history began in 1991 with the establishment of American Home Inspection. Over the course of the following seven years, a home inspection business prototype was developed that could be implemented anywhere in the United States. Our founders believed they had a unique methodology of providing homebuyers and sellers with consistent, professional and unbiased home inspections.

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