Before you begin your basement remodeling project you'll want to make sure your basement does not leak! Any sign of moisture, dampness, or water is a sure sign you have a leak you'll want to repair before you begin to finish your basement.
If you live in an area with a rainy season, or seasonal snow melt in the spring, it's a good idea to do a careful inspection during the dampest time just to be sure.
How to tell if your basement is leaking
Before you being construction, take a good look around at the basement walls paying special attention to any cracks that may have been caused at the house settled onto its foundation. If you have cracks running vertically down your walls, that's usually ok unless you see signs of dampness such as any discoloring that may indicate moisture stains.
NOTE: If you have horizontal cracks running around your basement they may indicate a serious problem with the foundation! Be sure to have your basement inspected by someone who's qualified to determine if any foundation repair is necessary before you continue!
Signs of a basement leak
If you have discoloring in any of the cracks, they MUST be repaired whether you see water or not! You don't want to them to get worse a few years down the road and have to tear down a wall to repair them!
Another common problem with poured concrete basements are rod holes. These are holes made by the forms as the basement is poured. The contractor will seal them after removing the forms, but oftentimes they don't do an adequate job which is sure to create a repair for you later.