Every homeowner’s worst nightmare is having issues with their foundation/french drain at home. I can almost bet that “your french drain is not working, we need to change it” is amongst the scariest sentences a homeowner can hear. Truth is, every home has its set of issues and in Quebec especially, foundation cracks/movement are very common if not impossible to avoid.
Here are three warning signs that you might have to verify your foundation or french drain:
1. Excess humidity levels in your basement
Every home has humidity levels, even without foundation or french drain issues. What you want to look out for as a homeowner is strong odours in your basement (humidity smell) and black spots on the bottom of your walls. Excess humidity can also be verified with humidity readers. The easiest time to spot a humidity difference in a home is at the dethaw period in March/April due to high levels of rain and the unfreezing of the ground surrounding your basement walls. Excess humidity can be a sign of either a non-functional or blocked french drain, or as simple as a small foundation crack that needs repairing come spring!
2. Staircase cracks in your brick/mortar / Around Interior Doors
Sometimes a foundation crack does not show itself through water infiltration, but rather a significant or small movement in your home. While settlement of your foundation is normal and cracks are bound to appear, when cracks become too open, or move through bricks/mortar, it can be signs of significant movement that needs immediate attention/stabilization. The first thing you should look for are horizontal cracks above doors/windows on the interior of your home, as well as staircase brick/mortar cracks starting at a foundation crack. I would recommend calling an structural engineer as soon as you start seeing signs that may be worrisome to avoid further issues.
3. Water Infiltration
The last but definitely not the least obvious reason to get your foundation/french drain verified is water infiltrations. This is different from high levels of humidity, rather active leaking water that is inside your home and coming from the exterior. This can happen either through a foundation crack, or (less likely) a very high water table under your home’s slab with an accumulation of water surrounding your foundation that your french drain is not capable of evacuating. Having water infiltration in your home is never fun, and should be addressed immediately.
Most times, these items can be found and addressed immediately when performing a home inspection. I always strongly suggest getting your home inspected prior to purchasing.
For more tips and tricks about real estate or for any questions, feel free to contact us directly!
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