Homes with Wet Basements
There are few problems more horrible in a home than having a wet basement. When a basement floods, it can damage everything within reach including drywall, wood, carpet, cardboard, furniture, leather, and cloth. Valuables and keepsakes will be ruined, wood floors and sub floors will rot, mold will grow and release spores into the air, and dust mites will thrive and send their waste into your home environment. The whole area may smell, and as the air rises into the higher levels of the house, it creates numerous potential health problems. It’s a small wonder that a wet basement is such a major issue to buyers and sellers alike in the housing market!
Buying a Home with a Wet Basement
The value of a home will generally decrease by 10-25% on the market simply due to having a wet basement. For a prospective homeowner, this can mean an incredibly bargain!
Why a bargain? In the current housing market, 40% of previously owned homes will already have at least one serious defect, and basement water is among the easiest of these defects to repair. Of the 12 red flags that USA Today reports that home owners should watch out for as serious problems, (such as foundation cracks, asbestos, defective roofing, and lead paint), a wet basement is likely the fastest and least expensive to repair. In a day or two, a crew can install a sump pump, interior Fresh drain, and a basement humidifier in your home and ensure that your basement will stay dry. While the expense is not insignificant, basement waterproofing can immediately increase the value of the home by 400% or more in a $200,000 home!
So the easy answer is this- negotiate a great price on the home, purchase it, and find a reliable basement waterproofing contractor to install a sump pump, French drain, and dehumidifier. In two days, you will gain tens of thousands of dollars in the value of your home. Sounds easy, right?
Selling a Home With a Wet Basement
Likewise, if you’re selling a home that has a leaking basement, then it’s important to begin by fixing the problem. Repairing a wet basement will pay back for itself several times over in the value of the home, and a cast-iron sump pump and interior drainage system with a transferable warranty will do a great deal to help negotiation when meeting with prospective buyers. Additionally, having an energy-efficient, self-draining basement dehumidifier keeping the area dry and clean provides an excellent selling point in the home. A basement dehumidifier is an inexpensive addition that will ensure lower utility bills and cleaner, fresher air in the entire home.
If you’re selling your home to increase available living space, you may want to consider drying and finishing the basement instead. Finished basements have become much more popular in the last 20 years, and the Home Improvement Research Institute has estimated that upwards of one million homeowners finish or remodel their basements each year. Additionally,building an addition can run as high as $150-$200 per square foot, whereas a basement finishing should run about $30-$75 per foot in most cases. Simply put, an investment of 12-15% of the price of the house increases the livable space by one third to one half! And even with the current poor housing market, the national average return on investment of basement finishing is approximately 75% of the cost of installation. The final result is this: a beautiful, quiet, and naturally private new living space without the expense and hassle of moving.
Don’t do a home improvement that will slowly turn into a home repair issue in the future. A basement remodeling that lasts will appreciate in value along with the home, but unfortunately, these materials are too often overlooked for less expensive alternatives. Drywall (even “mold-resistant” drywall) can be quickly and easily destroyed when exposed to humidity, flooding, or a plumbing leak. And with all the sinks, pipes, dishwashers, toilets, tubs, water heaters, washing machines, and other plumbing located in the house, this is almost guaranteed.
To prevent humidity from seeping through the cold, damp, ugly basement floor and become trapped underneath your new carpet, be sure to install a plastic vapor barrier that can resist rot and mold. Waterproof coatings applied directly to the wall will keep moisture out on the short term but tend to blister and peel due to the pressure of water pushing its way in from the earth outside. Basement wall support should include dense foam polystyrene and should be durable enough to be warranted against mold, support weight, and resist damage from daily wear and tear. Basement ceiling tiles should be inorganic and warranted against sagging for at least 25 years. Insulation your walls with fiberglass may sound like a good idea, but this insulation, along with wood, cloth, and most paints, will be able to grow mold easily and should be avoided.