Minnesota’s humidity is not to be taken lightly, especially not by new homeowners. You’ll want to take steps on a yearly basis to check over your home for signs of moisture as well as and water and structural damage.
Not sure where to start? You can use this 2020 home health checklist to make your way through your home and identify any spots that may need repairs.
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Assess Your Home’s Structural Health
Your home’s structural supports serve to protect you from the strangest of Minnesota’s weather. In return, you’ll need to make a point of checking on them as the seasons turn to better prevent water damage from weakening them.
Your home’s structural health directly correlates with the state of your foundation, joints and any piers you may have in place. If these features start to suffer from damage, your foundation may start to slip out of place. Similarly, you may fall victim to more frequent leaks or even infestations.
These problems are a result of hydrostatic pressure. As rain and snowmelt build up in the ground outside your home, that runoff comes into contact with your foundation. In doing so, it makes it more difficult for your foundation and other supports to remain at a consistent temperature. To compensate for the rapid changes, your support materials will start to rapidly contract and expand, eventually fracturing under the stress.
If you want to get ahead of this kind of damage, you’ll want to keep an eye out for:
- Popped nails
- Wall and floor gaps
- Uneven floors
- Vertical, horizontal, or stair-step cracks in your drywall or concrete
- Sticking doors
- Bowed basement walls
Signs of excessive hydrostatic pressure can also manifest outside of your home. Look at your chimney and see if anything’s cracked, and frequently check your foundation for signs of sinking or settlement. If you happen to spot anything, you can get in touch with the professionals in your area for expert advice and solutions.
Look Over Your Crawl Space
Next, you’ll want to take a close look at your crawl space. These spaces may be small, but they can have a significant impact on the overall health of your home. If you let a crawl space suffer from a leak for too long, it can rapidly become an incubator for all different types of mold. These molds can settle in your drywall and become nearly impossible to remove. Not only will they be an aesthetic nuisance, but they can also compromise the respiratory health of your family members.
When looking through your crawl space for signs of damage, try and keep an eye out for:
- Standing water or moisture
- Wood rot
- Sagging floors
- Open vents
- Damaged insulation
- Unpleasant smells
- Pest infestations
You may also want to investigate your crawl space if your utility bills are rising seemingly without reason. When your crawl space starts to take on moisture, your HVAC system has to work even harder to control the temperature in your home. That moisture can also damage your pipes, causing your water bill to rise.
Check Your Basement
Your basement may not be as sensitive as your crawl space, when it comes to water damage, but that doesn’t mean it can’t deteriorate if exposed to too much moisture. Mold will just as happily make itself at home in your basement, and it can have the same negative effects on your family’s health if left unchecked. In the same vein, your basement often houses more of your structural supports than your crawl space does. This means that damage done to your crawl space can cause problems for your foundation and your home’s overall stability.
As you’re inspecting your basement, you’ll want to look for:
- Standing water that doesn’t drain
- Water-damaged belongings
- Unpleasant smells
- Damaged appliances, including your sump pump
- Obvious leaks
Unfortunately, many of these symptoms also indicate that something may be wrong with your foundation. You’ll want to talk to one of the professional foundation and basement repair professionals working in your area to properly determine where the damage in your home is coming from and what you can do about it.
Inspect Your Concrete Slabs
Last but not least on your home health checklist are your concrete home accessories. These can include:
- Basement floor
- Pool deck
Like your foundation, these accessories can fall victim to hydrostatic pressure, as well as unstable and settling soil. If left unattended, they can crack or pull away from your home, putting your family’s safety at risk as they do.
If you want to appropriately react to damage you find during a home inspection or otherwise prevent it entirely, you’ll want to get in contact with a professional contractor specializing in basement waterproofing, foundation repair, and crawl space repair. The contractors working in Rush City and St. Cloud, Minnesota can walk through your home with you and catch signs of damage that you might otherwise miss. They’ll also be able to provide you with a free quote on any services you may need to repair your home.