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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About to buy my first rental property but I am no expert in foundations. I plan to consult a foundation expert as well but figured I would see if I can get any insight first. This forum has helped me a lot in the past!

No cracks in the block walls, however they are painted with the white waterproofing and there is what appears to be mortar or something on the bottom all the way around the basement as you can see in the photo. There is a considerable amount of melting snow where I am right now and there was no water in the basement but you can see a few drops if you look closely in the photo. Any idea if this is a red flag or not? Thoughts?
 

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retired framer
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Interior waterproofing will not stop a leak that has pressure behind it.

true for the wall and the floor, it may stop evaporation for water wicking up from the ground below.
Some time they leave a gap around the edge of the floor that allows insects as well as just looks bad. So that may not be anything more than just a filler.

Drops on the wall may just be condensation on the wall because it is not insulated, moist air contacting a cold wall. The floor and the bottom of the wall are about 55 degrees but the top will be more like the outside.
So from here, it looks good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Neal for your thoughts. My buddy who installs interior drain systems is claiming this house may need one based off the mortar at the bottom of the wall. He's biased though so I have to take his opinion with a grain of salt. What do you think?
 

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retired framer
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Thanks Neal for your thoughts. My buddy who installs interior drain systems is claiming this house may need one based off the mortar at the bottom of the wall. He's biased though so I have to take his opinion with a grain of salt. What do you think?
Nothing stops water under pressure so unless there is something you can see that indicates flooding. I think he is wrong.



What happens next year is an unknown, but get the sellers to write something about known floods or leaks and the reason for them. :wink2:
 

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Am I seeing bits of mortar on the floor? I would be rather suspect of work done immediately prior to putting it up for sale. Is that a new paint job ?

Block walls commonly have problems with water entry. Not so much the block cracking, but water getting through the mortar joints. So common that your buddy can make a living fixing these problems.

But probably in the age and price range of the houses you are looking at, this is par for the course.
 

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You know why the bottom of the steps is sitting up on blocks? It gets wet down there. The paint on the wall won't stop it. Not a deal breaker. For a rental property, it's almost expected. Lots of basements get water in them. Some more often than others. You just can't put anything you care about on the floor.

The groove around the edge of the floor is like the expansion joints in a sidewalk. It allows the floor to move relative to the walls with nothing cracking. I don't understand the details of when you need a joint there and when you don't, but I'd lean toward thinking it was there for a reason. Filling that in with mortar seems like a bad idea. Something is going to crack.

I wouldn't say it's a foundation "problem". It's not going to cost you $80,000 for major foundation work. It might cost you $10,000 to put in a drain. Installing a drain would fix both issues, so maybe worth it.
 

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Probably a half-baked attempt at waterproofing the basement. Fill in the obvious groove around the perimeter and paint the wall with waterproofing paint. Call it good. Yep. That's what they did. Nope. It's not going to work.
 

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Often the floor is done later in the building process and half inch plywood is used around the perimeter. Later the plywood is removed to leave a gap, so the floor is free floating. Perhaps it was that way and someone filled the gap. Could have been for looks or water infiltration.
 
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