Originally Posted By: kswift
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When I read this, it gave me the chills; this is the stuff of which lawsuits are made. I realize that there are a lot of old homes with basements and sump pumps, but I will never endorse them. Water should be handled long before it gets inside a residence. I want to keep this short, but here are three narratives stored in my report-writer that you might want to have, edit, and make your own. I have at least five more on sump pumps, etc.
Water can be destructive and foster conditions that are deleterious to health. For this reason, the ideal property will have soils that slope away from the residence and the interior floors will be several inches higher than the exterior grade. Also, the residence will have roof gutters and downspouts that discharge into area drains with catch basins that carry water away to hard surfaces. However, we cannot guarantee the condition of any subterranean drainage system, but if a property does not meet this ideal, or if any portion of the interior floor is below the exterior grade, we cannot endorse it and recommend that you consult with a grading and drainage contractor, even though there may not be any evidence of moisture intrusion. The sellers or occupants will obviously have a more intimate knowledge of the site than we could possible hope to have during our limited visit; however we have confirmed moisture intrusion in residences when it was raining that would not have been apparent otherwise. Also, in conjunction with the cellulose material found in most modern homes, moisture can facilitate the growth of biological organisms that can compromise building materials and produce mold-like substances that can have an adverse affect on health.
Moisture intrusion is a perennial problem, with which you should be aware. It involves a host of interrelated factors, and can be unpredictable, intermittent, or constant. When moisture intrusion is not self evident, it can be inferred by musty odors, peeling paint or plaster, efflorescence, or salt crystal formations, rust on metal components, and wood rot. However, condensation and humidity can produce similar conditions if the temperature is not maintained above the dew point. Regardless, if the interior floors of a residence are at the same elevation or lower than the exterior grade we could not rule out the potential for moisture intrusion and would not endorse any such areas. Nevertheless, if such conditions do exist, or if you or any member of your family suffers from allergies or asthma, you should schedule a specialist inspection.
There are areas of living space below grade, which will be susceptible to moisture intrusion. There is no evidence of intrusion at this time, but one could not guarantee that it would not occur. The exterior walls may have been coated with waterproofing compounds that can lose their resilience and eventually permit intrusion. Therefore, it will be important to monitor these areas and particularly during the rainy season, and you should seek a second opinion.