Home waterproofing is a solid investment to make in your home. A reasonable expense now can prevent devastating costs and losses in the future. However, like any industry, it is first necessary to ensure that you have obtained a reputable contractor. There are a number of companies in the industry that are more populated with salespeople than with skilled waterproofing professionals. They are specializing in closing multiple deals and often supply substandard service in a “one-fix-fits-all” fashion.
One fix does not fit all and a reputable provider of waterproofing services understands this. When seeking a company to schedule a consultation, there are a few red flags to watch for. First, if the person on the phone will only schedule the consultation if both adult decision makers are present, you are talking with a company concerned primarily in making the sale. A reputable company would not demand this. Second, a consultation and inspection should take less than an hour. However, sales-oriented organizations will ask you to set aside two hours or more. This is because they are working in the time necessary to overcome your objections and seal a deal before you can get another estimate from a competitor.
Before calling any service providers, it is advisable that you contact the Better Business Bureau, and research each company you are considering. Referrals from friends or family can be extremely valuable. Call two or three companies for consultations to ensure that you are getting the best price and only the waterproofing services you need.
During the inspection, be prepared with pertinent questions, depending on the waterproofing services recommended. For example, if they recommend sealing the basement walls, be sure to find out if they intend to repair cracks in the foundation first. If they are recommending outdoor repair, be sure to ask what kind of excavation plan they will follow. Using mini excavation equipment and hand digging is acceptable, however, commercial excavation equipment for a residential waterproofing project is not appropriate.
Finally, ask about their warranty. A reputable company should offer a “no-water” warranty, meaning that you should find no water leaking into the foundation for any reason. This warranty should be void of service fees and exceptions. Before signing with a particular contractor, be sure there is no confusion about the services he feels are necessary, why he believes they are necessary and what the costs will be.
The contractor will tell you after his/her inspection what kind of project needs to be completed. This could be as simple as repairing some cracks in the foundation. He could see a need to add a sealant on the inside of your basement walls. Excavation may be necessary to repair and reinforce the foundation from the outside. If the problem involves a sinking foundation due to settling or shifting ground beneath the house, underpinning may be necessary.
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Underpinning is a process by which braces are installed beneath the home to keep the foundation solidly supported. Finally, an indoor or outdoor drainage system or a sump pump may need to be installed that will literally carry away water or pump it away from the boundaries of the home.