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buying a house, water damage in basement?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by novasquid, May 26, 2012.

  1. novasquid

    novasquid

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    cliff notes version:
    i'm about to buy a house, did a home inspection that revealed a wet spot on the basement perimeter wall, but we were unable to determine source. any ideas?

    longer version:
    i put in an offer to buy a house, and we had a ratified contract within a couple of days. so yesterday, during the home inspection i noticed a water stain on the basement wall (see small pic below). the inspector used a little tool to determine it was indeed wet. the areas above, left, right and floor trim were tested with the tool and came out dry. he didn't test the carpet, but it felt dry. it had rained heavily for about 1-2 hours the day before.

    what confuses me, and confused the inspector and my realtor who was there, is that it's the outer perimeter wall that faces a significant slope that goes away from the house. BUT, about 6" of ground closest to the house is actually sloped slightly inward towards the house. could this very, very minor inward slope be causing water to seep into the foundation? if so, why wasn't the carpet soaking wet? maybe the carpet pad soaked up most of the water before the carpet could soak it up?

    so i went back and looked at the stock photos they included in the sales listing. and lo and behold, there's the same water stain! (see larger pic below) so it's obviously been there for several weeks at least, and possibly several years as they simply repaint over the same stain over and over.

    so, any ideas fellas? also, it's the outer perimeter wall, so there are no water pipes (or shouldn't be) in that wall.
     

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  2. HKLovingIT

    HKLovingIT Resident Evil

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    Is it a block or poured wall behind it?

    Construction dudes will be along shortly with technical answers, but to me wet = mold given enough time. I'm personally really leery of any water issues when looking at a property.

    Did they disclose this on the property statement?

    If so, what did they say about it and any prior attempts to remedy?

    If they did not disclose, what are they saying about it?

    Playing Saturday Afternoon QB, if they did not disclose on the property statement, and you can plainly see it in the photos they put up for the listing, makes me wonder about the extent of it and if they are being less than forthright, or were just totally clueless and didn't notice. But I figure if I notice something out in a common area during an inspection, the people who lived there for years probably knew about it too.

    I would personally not close on the property until I had someone with specialist knowledge come look at a water issue. I would have the seller agree to foot the bill, especially if they didn't disclose, but I would pick who comes out to check it.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2012

  3. novasquid

    novasquid

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    we don't know for sure, but it appears the owners rented out the house and never lived in it. the water damaged wasn't disclosed to us. but i can't imagine the tenants never told the owners about it either, it's pretty damn obvious after a rain.

    regarding foundation, i'm really not sure. it looks like a solid piece of concrete that was poured, but there's an area on the front of the house where some of it chipped away revealing what resembles blocks.
     
  4. tongix

    tongix

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    Pass on it. If its undetermine cause , theres something they dont wanna tell.
     
  5. failsafe

    failsafe

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    It would appear that you have a slab on grade walk out..The concrete slab should have perimiter drainage to clear ( on the slope sides)...Just from a casual glance of your photos, since no damage to the carpet...Water could be getting into your siding on excessive rains at the base of the siding enough to wet the insulation and transfer the water to the sheetrock..
    Get the water to drain away from the house, and I think , problem solved...
     
  6. HKLovingIT

    HKLovingIT Resident Evil

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    Ok. I would have it looked at by a professional until I felt comfortable with the explanation and what could be done to fix it. The cost of that repair can come off the asking price or the owner can pay it for you, or you can work something else depending on your cash position.

    Could be something small like the grading you mentioned but with water issues you really want to be sure. If they disclosed it, and then you buy it, it's your problem now, whether it turns out to be a $70 or $7,000 fix.

    Another thing to keep in mind, the people who come out to look at it could be wrong about the cause. Not trying to freak you out, but if they are wrong and later on after you bought it, it turns out to be a bigger issue, it's your problem.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  7. novasquid

    novasquid

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    failsafe, that's for your input. but, the concrete on the wall goes up several feet higher than the stain, maybe at least 4'-5' higher, where it then meets the aluminum siding. if it's leaking where the siding meets the concrete, i'd imagine a lot more of the wall being water damaged?
     
  8. LEO/Dad

    LEO/Dad Navy Veteran

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    This is a potentially serious problem that I would not close on! We live in a neighborhood that has basement water problems. The houses were built without the proper exterior tile drainage, either to a basement sump pump, or if property is graded, to a lower grade. Either way, this is an expensive fix, and you need some expert guidance. You do not want this liability. Trust me. Good luck.
     
  9. HKLovingIT

    HKLovingIT Resident Evil

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    Yeah. Water and drainage issues can be hugely bad. Dream house turns to nightmare house. Had a neighbor about 15 years ago had improperly built basement. Flooded and got moldy nasty all the time. It was hell on them and then of course when they went to sell, they had a bear of a time.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  10. novasquid

    novasquid

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    trust me, if the basement showed even a hint of flooding, i would've run away. even a hint of musky odor would have had me running away. but this is just a small water stain, right? famous last words... :)

    fwiw, here's a pic of the laundry room, which faces the front of the house, and which is completely under ground. you can clearly see the efflorescence.
     

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  11. failsafe

    failsafe

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    A pic from the exterior would be helpful..
    If it were me, I have to ask if there is a raised curb portion of about 4 " on the concrete slab ?..Some contractors put in a foundation wall that extends about 4" above the slab..The area is backfilled and the slab is placed...
    Runoff water from the higher elevation will seek it's lowest level and can "pump" into crevases..Like a spring of sorts..
    Then there is the wicking effect
    Too many scenerios....
    Good Luck..:cool:
     
  12. novasquid

    novasquid

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    the yellow line shows how the ground slopes as you walk along the outer wall. what's hard to show, is that the ground also slopes away from the wall but at a shallower angle.

    the blue line shows the relative height of the siding and where the visible concrete on the outer wall meet.
     

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  13. failsafe

    failsafe

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    Ok, keep in mind that the concrete walls are not sloped, they are stair stepped..It is very possible that there is a crack where the forms met, thus a small amount of water..Or even a rusty foundation form wall tie , along with improper foundation wall waterproofing, or failed waterproofing..
    If you look on the outside, you can see where the wall forms meet..Measure from the outside corner to that meeting...Do so on the inside as well..See if they are in the same area..
    I think that is the culpret and is a easy fix..
     
  14. Dexters

    Dexters

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    Don't buy it. Water damage is extremely difficult to find the cause. And little things can cause it. Expensive to find and repair. Also, you don't know how bad it can be. Let's say your area had an unusually dry year then that small area could grow significantly during a wet year.
     
  15. tongix

    tongix

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    Pass on it , if it doesnt feel right to you then your sixth sense is telling you something.
     
  16. novasquid

    novasquid

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    what I didn't like is that my agent played it off as a minor issue, like a dripping faucet that simply needed a new rubber washer.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
  17. imSteve

    imSteve NRA Benefactor

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    ...have you ever watched Holmes on Homes when people in Canada have this problem, pretty scary

    Holmes on Homes on HGTV now, I think
     
  18. m2hmghb

    m2hmghb

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    Pass. If it is a leaky pipe causing it it is still a pain in the butt to fix. If it is grading drainage or other it will cost tens of thousands to fix. If it is improper downspouts it could cost thousands to have them redone and set up to drain away from the foundation.
     
  19. m2hmghb

    m2hmghb

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    It is, but Holmes on Homes is over, it's now a new series called Holmes Inspection.
     
  20. RenoF250

    RenoF250

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    If you have contingency in the offer then you can use it to lower your offer by a substantial amount. That is not a lot of dirt behind it so it should not be that hard to fix. If you can lower your offer by 10k that should cover whatever you run into. I just did a wall that has great drainage and the stupid thing is efflorescing, even on the wall without dirt behind it. I don't think that means they did anything wrong. Just means there were salts in the concrete they used.