Moisture Investigations (wet basement, ice dams, etc.)
Wet basements, ice dams, moisture intrusion, mold, leaking windows, and other forms of water damage often are caused by conditions that are not obvious to many homeowners. We investigate the causes of these conditions and prepare written reports that include:
Identification of causes Extent of damage Recommended remedies
We are not contractors and our recommendations focus on the most cost effective and practical remedies. We do not sell foundation drain tile systems or sump pumps, and we will only recommend those systems if other low cost measures are not adequate. We follow the Minnesota Department of Health advisory and do not recommend mold testing. View "Mold in Homes" from Minn. Dept. of Health View our Troubled Houses page
Our 41 years of experience as ASHI® home inspectors has exposed us to hundreds of Minnesota wet basements. We look at the interior and exterior condition of your home and advise you on the most likely causes and the most cost effective remedies. Often those remedies involve repair and maintenance to equipment and components already installed on the house. Also see our Ice Dams page and our Moisture Mysteries page.
We advise you on how to improve the equipment you already have, and what type of additional corrections or installations you may need to create a much drier basement. We use InfraRed (IR) thermography and/or a moisture meter to help identify damp areas. Features of our IR camera. We are level II certified thermographers, trained by Snell Infrared.
The image below is an example of how InfraRed thermography helps quickly locate the extent of water damage or wet materials.
This image helped show the area of wet fiberboard panels on either side of this doorway. The lavender areas at the bottom of the panels were wet due to the lack of a rain gutter. Roof runoff from the eave of this two story house splashed on the patio stones and soaked into the bottom of the fiberboard. This architect designed house was only 3 years old. The full extent of damage has not yet been determined, but the interior floor and wall were dry. The damage had occurred on both sides of the house in a total of 8 similar panels. The photo below is a visible light image of this side of the house.
The both sides of the house were affected. The side shown is the north, which had more water damage since it had less ability to dry. The structure on right is slatted trellis, not a roof.
We try to understand moisture movement. Building exterior need to shed water. Building materials manufacturers generally provide good instructions on how to install their materials in a way that will not trap water in walls. Unfortunately these instructions are not always followed
We are realists. If we believe your damp basement is not suitable for finishing, we will politely explain why. Usually, even a damp basement can be made livable with proper floor coverings and other suitable materials. We can refer you to firms who can help in mold mitigation and water damage cleanup. For more mold information see the US EPA: A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and your home.
In the past fifteen years, we have worked for scores of home owners who have suffered water damage to windows, walls and structural components due to faulty construction. If your home is less than 10 years old, and we find significant water damage or a high likelihood of damage, we can refer you to attorneys and repair specialists who may aid you in proper repairs, and in pursuing a claim against your builder if appropriate and feasible.
We are recognized as experts in water intrusion. Roger Hankey has served as faculty for the Minnesota State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education seminar on "Mold & Water Intrusion". He has also made similar presentations to groups of heating & air conditioning contractors, and to the Minnesota Builder's Association.
A recent US EPA study, and reports from two local radon mitigation firms, indicate that installation of active radon removal systems have been shown to be effective in reducing basement dampness. Click here for more information on the study. These systems often cost far less than the long term cost of owning and running a dehumidifier.