Friday, April 11, 2014

New Home? Wait Before Finishing Your Basement

Using The Test Of Time

You've just picked up the keys to your new home and are anxious to move in.  First thing on the agenda, finish your basement.

Is that the right thing to do? Have you really thought this through? Maybe you need to wait, live in the house a little, to ensure all is OK.

Your best plan of action after getting the keys to your new home is to wait, watch, and wonder to see what, if anything, will happen.

Why Wait And For How Long?

If you just moved into a newly constructed home it's recommended to wait at least two years before finishing your basement.

Two years? Are you crazy!?

Umm, why so long?

Well there are a number of necessary reasons for you to wait.  I'll review the top three reasons here.

The first has to do with the thousands of pounds of water trying to evaporate out of the walls and floor slab of your new concrete foundation. Water always moves from a wet to dry area and since your foundation walls are waterproofed on the exterior side, and the ground outside tends to be damper than the air inside your home, the only avenue of escape left for water to use is towards the interior of your home.

Mold in an insulated basement wall

The second reason is new homes need time to settle and show how their systems perform. What if something as random as a shrinkage crack appears as the concrete cures? The time and effort needed to remove the material to gain access to the area needing repair is significantly lower if there are no finish materials to demolish and reinstall.

The third important reason is to dive you time to determine how well the surface water is managed around your home.  Displaced earth, such as the backfill used around your home has voids in it and with time, settles and does so unevenly.  As a result, low spots form, puddling occurs, and you now have a surface water issue you need to manage in the yard or alongside your foundation wall.

There are a number of other reasons such as getting to know how your family lives, changing family dynamics, or the need to create an income property.  These are important to consider but they are independent of the systems used for your new home.
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