Don’t let a wet basement douse your deal

Dampness from condensation on cold water piping or cool foundation walls can also be mistaken for leakage.

Most basement leaks tent to be sporadic – depend on the source problem. Cracks in poured concrete basement walls can sometimes be successfully repaired from the inside. Patching doesn’t remove the problem and usually only works if the problem is very minor. The water may simply find another way in. Eliminating or reducing the source of water is a good start to keeping a basement dry. Eaves troughs and downspouts shouldn’t leak or overflow, and the downspout should be angled to discharge water at least six feet from the house.

Regarding the exterior to drain water away from the building is one of the  most effective ways to reduce water seepage. “Make sure land around the house slopes away from the house. That will solve 9 out of 10 wet basement problems,” says Dunlop. Ideally, the ground should slope down and away from the house at a rate of one inch per foot for the first six feet.

In older homes that don’t have weeping tiles (A drainage system at the footing level of the home) or damp proofing, and in cases when basement leakage can’t be eliminated or reduced by controlling the source water, more serious measures may be necessary. It may be necessary to damp proof the outside walls, and to provide or replace the perimeter drainage tile system.

“It’s like waterproofing your boat” says Dunlop. “It’s the most expensive way to waterproofing a house. It works, but it is so expensive.” Dunlop says it should be done only if it is determined other measures won’t work..


Realtor Obligation:

REALTORS have a general obligation to exercise care and skill son behalf of their clients. Under the REBBA Code of Ethics, REALTORS must discover facts that would affect a reasonable person’s decision to buy or sell a home (Section 21 Material Facts). REALTORS must also ensure the completeness and accuracyof the information that they provide (Section 38 Error, Misrepresentation, Fraud, Etc.).


So, if for example your buyer sees water stains in the basement of a property they are considering buying and asks whether or not this is a problem he or she should be concerned about, you have a duty to find out about it. It may be as simple as putting the question in writing to the listing agent. You may need to go further and request that the seller complete a Seller Property Information Statement (SPIS). REALTORS working with a buyer must understand that further investigation may be required in addition to obtaining a SPIS. You may need to advise your client to get a home inspection.

For listing salespeople, OREA includes a statement on the SPIS under the Improvements and Structural sections, asking about moisture and/or water problems. The listing salesperson should also ensure the seller answers the question in the environmental section about flooding. Listing salespeople should make every effort to ensure that full and complete information is provided on the SPIS.


OREA also offers a course entitled Surface Water Control & Landscaping. It will give participants a better understanding of grading around a house and the effects of poor grading. The member will also learn about gutters, downspouts, window wells, walks, driveways and retaining walls.


For more information please contact Carson Dunlop MCE at 416-964-9415 or 1-800-268-7070 or by fax at 416-964-0683