I’m joined by Chris Mancuso, the owner of Accurate Basement Repair. Chris has been in the basement repair business for over a decade and helped hundreds of customers all throughout eastern Wisconsin.

Today, we’ll go over a few common questions buyers and homeowners alike have about their basements.

As a buyer, what concerns should you look for in the basement?

It’s important to look at the walls and the floor. You should also go outside the home to check on the grading, gutters, and downspouts.

When you enter the basement, Chris recommends using a flashlight so that you can focus on each area of the basement.

In the video above, the basement we’re in already has reinforcements installed. The previous owner must have put these in to deal with a structural issue. These steel columns were installed to hold the walls in place.

You should look for any cracks, structural issues, and water intrusion.

What kind of cracks should you be concerned about?

Not all cracks are bad cracks. Almost every basement has some kind of crack in the wall.

For example, there is a vertical crack in the wall in this basement. Chris says that this is a settlement crack from years ago, and that he didn’t see any recent movement that would affect the structure upstairs.

As a homeowner, you should always have a professional come out to determine which cracks you should be concerned about. Common concerns would be any cracks that come off the window ledges and long, horizontal cracks. The cracks by the window could indicate that the wall is tilting inward, while long, horizontal cracks indicate bowing in the wall. Both of these issues have to be fixed, but they are each addressed a little differently.

“You should always have a professional come out to assess a crack in the basement.”

What is the acceptable standard for movement of a wall? What do you do to fix the wall if it is bowing beyond that standard?

This year, the state of Wisconsin did issue a code for wall instructions. That is good news for buyers, as inspectors now have a code to look at.

If there is cracking in the wall with less than an inch of displacement, you will need to install the vertical steel bars we mentioned earlier. If there is more than an inch of displacement, you’re also looking at excavation, wall strengthening, and reinforcements to repair the issue. Accurate Basement Repair can give you estimates and help you with all of these repairs.

Why should you be concerned about water intrusion if you’ve never had water in the basement?

There are a lot of preventative measures you can take to make sure that you never get water in your basement. You might not have noticed any water pooling anywhere, but if you are suffering from wet sock syndrome, there is some water in your basement.

You should also look for efflorescence (or discoloration) on your basement walls. This could indicate a drain tile issue or a grading and downspout problem, as is the case with this property.

Thanks to Chris for stopping by today. If you have any questions for him or if you would like him to inspect your basement, you can give him a call at 414-744-6900 or check out Accurate Basement Repair’s website.

As always, if you have any real estate questions, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!