Should you seal the deal on a house with bowing basement walls?
When shopping for a home, there are things people look out for. Top among them is the condition of such property.
A property’s condition could determine whether it’s worth buying or not. A lot of professional advice available online offers free tips on what to look out for when buying a house.
Buy a House With Bowed Basement Walls
One thing that’s constant with all buyers of property is the need to avoid a bad deal.
A bad deal could mean several things. Such could include a home that’s not ideally situated, one with lots of structural issues, as well as a house that may not be the ideal size the buyer needs.
Here, we’re more interested in the structural aspect of the home. When buying a house, some problems can be overlooked and rectified while others cannot.
Inspections might reveal foundation cracks, bowing basement walls, a yard that’s not properly graded, etc.
Are You Getting Professional Advice?
Before you buy a house, you must get a professional and licensed contractor to inspect the property.
This helps with better decision-making and points to existing issues that could be a deal-breaker to a buyer. Without the expertise of a licensed contractor, you might be oblivious to fundamental problems that are present.
First off, bowing walls are clear signs of structural damage. So, you might want to be careful on how you proceed after discovering the basement walls are caved in.
You mustn’t be driven by desperation when shopping for a house. Desperation could push you to make decisions you might later regret.
Understanding the Degree of Basement Wall Bowing is Vital
A bowing basement wall, though a sign of structural problem doesn’t simply mean it cannot be reversed.
This is where having an understanding of the extent of bowing is important. In the earliest stages of bowing, such caving-in shouldn’t be more than 2 inches inward.
For a better assessment of the situation, it’s best to have a licensed contractor check the level of damage. This could lead to a better understanding of whether or not to make a purchase.
Remember, the seller is always eager to close a deal and would want to downplay the problem. Be focused!
You Can Buy a House With Bowing Basement Walls If…
Properties with structural problems like bowing basement walls are a risk to buyers.
However, you’ll need the understanding to take calculated risks. First off, understanding the extent of bowing is important. If it’s not too serious, then the problem can be fixed.
The main advantage here is that you get a big discount due to such problems. A lot of smart buyers target such properties as they cost much less to buy compared to those having zero issues.
Some buyers buy and renovate the house before reselling it at a premium.
Here, a deeper understanding of your risk appetite is crucial. More importantly, you’ll need a reliable ally to make such a decision. There’s no better ally than a licensed contractor.
By getting reliable and thorough advice, you’re able to avoid making a mistake in your decision.
Properties with Structural Issues Cost Less to Buy
One of the things you should know is that there are properties which are sold un-renovated. These are mostly made up of foreclosed homes.
Ordinarily, the seller should be able to tell you what’s wrong with the property. However, you shouldn’t rely entirely on the seller’s account as you need to take a look for yourself.
By identifying key issues like bowing basement walls, you get to decide if it’s worth the investment. As mentioned earlier, walls that are slightly bowed can be fixed.
As such, you get to buy the house at a cheaper rate while fixing the bowed wall.
One of the things you must know is the cost implications for fixing a bowed basement wall.
Such knowledge enables you to assess whether buying a house is a good or bad deal. Again, the advice of a professional such as a licensed contractor goes a long way in helping you know the cost specifics.
Has there been any damage other damage resulting from the bowed basement wall? This is another thing you must find out. Usually, bowed basement walls let in moisture.
Such leaks can easily make your situation worse than at the beginning.
Causes of Bowing Basement Walls
Our discussion won’t be complete without taking a look at the causes of bowing basement walls.
Identifying the causes helps you adopt a proactive approach towards prevention. Bowing walls are caused by several factors that include hydrostatic pressure, and lateral pressure on the outsides of walls.
Other causes include the action of expansive soil, as well as frozen soil. Any or all of these factors will put a significant amount of pressure on basement walls causing them to cave in.
For more clarity on these concepts, let’s have a look at each.
When the soil around a home is saturated with water, it automatically increases the pressure exerted on basement walls. This continued pressure eventually causes the bowing of walls, thus aggravating the moisture problem being faced.
Lateral pressure often occurs on the outsides of basement walls.
Heavy objects such as cars parked too close to the basement side of the building will increase the pressure on walls. This continued action eventually pushes the wall(s) causing it to bow.
Expansive soils act like sponges in the sense that they expand when in contact with water and contract in the absence of water. So, during the rainy season, there’s usually an expansion of the soil.
This pushes against the basement walls causing them to bow.
Frozen soil, like water, expands and contracts when unfrozen.
When it expands, it’s bound to add pressure to basement walls. This continued action of expansion and contraction of the soil eventually weakens the walls and caves them in.
In summary, it’s best to avoid buying a house with bowing basement walls. However, if you must buy, such problems must be at their earliest stage of development and fixable.
More importantly, it’s necessary to call for professional inspection and advice before making the purchase.