Ahhhh. April. flowers in bloom, bunnies, open toed shoes, Spring showers and sleepless Realtors. Spring rain means wet crawlspaces and basements, home inspection challenges, stressed out sellers and anxious buyers. That means sleepless nights for me.
I’m no construction expert, but I’ve learned a few things after having seen over 300 home inspections. No foundation will ever be 100% dry. But there are lots of easy, low to no cost ways to minimize your chances of major issues. Here are a few:
1. Cleaning your gutters in the Spring is almost more important than cleaning them in the Fall.
2. You know the gutter lines that sit on top of the ground and are a pain to mow around? Ugly but effective. Bury them at some point, but for this wet April, even un-buried will help keep water far from your foundation.
3. Water is amazing. It seeps down, left, right and even up. A vapor barrier in your crawlspace will minimize moisture seeping up. It’s inexpensive and just takes one brave person a couple hours to install. There are tons of good YouTube tutorials on how to do it. I could even do it. If I were willing to get in a crawlspace.
4. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen an inspection where the inspector was satisfied with ground slope. My favorite inspector says the soil around the perimeter of a house should slope at least 6″ over the first 10′ out from the house to help direct water away.
5. Because sump pumps only run in pouring rain and it’s not fun to go out and get in the crawlspace in the rain, most people don’t keep an eye on theirs. Make sure it’s running, draining and doing its job.
Sustained moisture causes mold. Moisture also damages your foundation. Not just the walls, but the beams and sub floor can rot, squish and collapse. And termites prefer moist environments. Have I scared you into being sleepless now? Check your gutters and your sump pump and you’ll sleep like a baby. As for me, I’ll sleep in July.
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