Finishing Your Basement? Check Your Walls First

Posted on: 22 October 2017

If you have decided you want to turn your unfinished basement into an additional room, you may have already started planning out how you want to fix it up and decorate it. However, before you start finishing your basement, there are a few things you should check on your walls to make sure they do not need any preparation work.

Signs of Moisture

Before you start putting up drywall to finish your basement walls, makes sure there are no signs of moisture that could indicate a leak. If you do have a water leak and do not have someone take action to seal the unfinished walls, the moisture will eventually damage your finished walls, floor, and possibly any items you have in your basement.

To check the walls for signs of moisture, walk around with a flashlight and shine the light on every inch of the wall. While doing this, look for water spots, mold, and mildew.

Also, look for efflorescence, a white crystallized coating that is made when water pushes through concrete and deposits minerals. If you find this white, powdery substance or other signs of moisture, talk to your contractor to discuss your options for sealing the basement before your basement is finished.

Integrity of the Walls' Structures

While looking for signs of water leakage, you should also check the integrity of the basement walls' structures. Doing this can give you an idea as to whether or not the walls can support the construction required for attaching wooden boards and drywall without making preparations beforehand.

The signs of weak structural integrity of your basement walls include cracks, crumbling, and deterioration. However, it may be difficult to see the full extent of the damage if you only see a few small cracks on the surface. While they may appear minor, these cracks could indicate major damage underneath.

To get an idea of what lies beneath the cracked walls, tap the area with the handle of a screwdriver or small hammer. Do not strike the wall too hard, as this could shatter the concrete if it has started to deteriorate.

If you hear crumbling underneath or a hollow noise, the walls may have unseen damage. Point out your suspicions to the contractor so they can inspect it further, as well as find out what should be done to strengthen the walls in preparation for finishing the room.

If you find any of the issues above, they should be dealt with before you start turning your basement into a new room addition. Speak with the contractor who will be doing the work about your concerns so they can address them before they start work on finishing your basement. Contact a company, like Winston Brown Construction, for more help.