Basements are one of those things on your home maintenance check lists that deserve your attention and require deep inspection at least once a year, mostly around springtime. And depending where you live, in high humid town like New Jersey or some dusty city like Huston, you’ll probably face different basement problems. One of those problems, which may not be the most common, but is surely one of the most challenging, is related to basement waterproofing. What most people do in case of facing such challenge – they ask for the best and most affordable basement waterproofing professional, a contractor that can provide a long lasting solution.
What basement waterproofing contractor actually does?
In the eyes of the house owner the basement waterproofing problem may seem complex – there is water
all over my basement floor or my basement walls are wet and there is a lot of moisture, etc. But in the eyes of an experienced basement waterproofing contractor the problem is simple because is fixable.
The most common basement waterproofing issues are leaky basement, moisture and condensation, which are usually followed but insect manifestation, bacteria and bad smell. But, bottom line, the enemy is the same – water. That’s why the core idea of basement waterproofing is to prevent the water finding its way to get inside your home, into your basements.
The most usual causes of leaky and wet basements are:
- Improper landscaping and soil composition (type)
- Weak external drainage system /waterproofing isolation
- Inappropriate gutter/slope installation and roof troubleshooting
- Basement foundation and wall cracks under water pressure
Related to this, the spectrum of activities covered by the basement waterproofing professional, as Wikipedia explains, are:
- Interior wall and floor sealers
- Interior water drainage
- Exterior drainage
- Exterior waterproofing coatings
- Foundation crack injections
Basically, depending on are we trying to keep the water out of the basement or prevent the water from reaching the foundation, we are talking about two types of basement waterproofing techniques: interior and exterior.
To maintain your basement dry and functional from the inside, the basement waterproofing contractor usually uses coatings and interior sealers such as epoxies and urethane, which usually provide long lasting solution for smaller leakage issues and prevent your basement from high humidity and spalling. But, if faced with major leaks, than the basement waterproofing contractor undergoes with a more serious solution – installation of interior water drainage system. The most famous interior waterproofing solutions are the French drain and the sump pumps installation.
The exterior waterproofing solutions are meant to prevent basement flooding from the outside. They are more expensive and time consuming methods because they include using of heavy machinery to excavate the soil around your house foundation. The polymers and membranes are used as the most common exterior waterproofing materials.
Now that you are properly informed about the usual causes for leaky basements and the possible waterproofing solutions we can move towards the next step – finding about the criteria that every basement waterproofing contractor must be met.
Basement waterproofing contractor qualities
As every job vacancy demands certain qualities and skills that the potential employee must satisfy, similarly when you search for a basement waterproofing contractor you are basically in position of employer searching for certain qualifications. Knowing that waterproofing your basement can cost quite a lot, you need to see this endeavor as a longtime investment.
This is why performing a deeper analysis asking the right questions can make it easier for you to hire the best professional for the job.
It’s simple. You are about to pay a significant amount of money so you have every right to extent the interview and your research until you get the answers you want. And more important your quest for answers doesn’t finish with signing official agreement, but will continue during and after the project is complete.
Now, let’s take a look at list of the core qualities that the professional waterproofing contractors must meet.
1. Credentials/License/ Certificates
For many, this is not the first or most important condition that it must be met, but one needs to understand this aspect of the legal background of every home improvement professional. The question is simple – do you have license or some kind of certification to do this? Are you bonded and insured if something goes wrong? This means to look for if the basement waterproofing contractor meets certain official standards established by an official local or national home maintenance related body such as the Better Business Bureau.
2. Credibility and experience / portfolio / history
Credibility means trustfulness. It means reliability. But this quality usually comes with years of experience. For many people this is the most important aspect when choosing basement waterproofing contractor. Such quality is gained with lot of hard work. Some people claim and advise us to hire a contractor that is in the business for at least ten years.
However, it is recommended that you ask for contractor’s portfolio, to see the history of his previous work. Also, you can check for any possible complaints at associations such as the BBB (Better Business Bureau). Important note: avoid companies that hire subcontractors for the whole job. It’s not about the quality of the work performed that is questioned, but it can bring you a lot of headache due to additional bureaucracy or non-direct communication. But there are exceptions as you will see further.
3. Spectrum of knowledge and skills (full skilled service or limited performance)
Years of experience doesn’t always mean a broad knowledge and wide range of skills. Yet, basement waterproofing can be sometimes tricky and you need a master of the game to address all the possible causes. Full service is what you need to look for. Of course, it is possible that the contractor doesn’t have the full equipment if there is some major problem, so he needs a subcontractor. That’s fine if they are partners and already work together for a long time.
Further tips and aspects to look for
These are some additional aspects to look for that can help you to get clearer picture in the making of the right decision.
Quality of the materials and equipment
Sometimes it can be useful to know which types of materials the basement waterproofing contractor is planning to use and make assessment are they the most suitable solution for you. Also, it can surely leave a better impression on you if the contractor uses modern equipment that can increase the efficiency.
Sealant materials and working hand cost (advanced payment, three offers)
Cost is one of the defining factors that directly influences your final decision. The price of the sealant materials and the working hand cost are the questions that, at the end of your analysis, you will ask. Some waterproofing contractors offer discounts and packages depending on what needs to be done. So, you can follow one of the most used practices in the business world regarding supplies – look for at least three offers – written estimates with explanation of the work range and the cost of the materials that will be used. The French drain and the sump pump can fix the same issue, but their price is not the same. Don’t forget, you are looking for long lasting solution
Closely related to the cost issue is getting warranty that will guarantee quality of the materials used and the job performed. And, without having second thoughts, you must ask this in written before the contractor starts the job. There is no other way.
Costumer testimonials and reviews / references / reputation
We all know what five star reviews means. You can check Angie’s List or some other related review sites, as well as, Facebook or Google testimonials and reviews.
Ask the contractor for references and checked them out. Also, check if the contractor is awarded for his performance. Local forums can help you finding out contractors reputation. People’s opinion and experience is important, but getting direct recommendation from a close friend or relative can surely ease your decision.
Common mistakes done when choosing contractor
Building reputation as basement waterproofing contractor for more than 20 years and appearing first on Google search results is not the same thing. Google or any other media alone cannot guarantee or prove which contractor is better for you. Whether you are searching for electrician, plumber or waterproofing contractor if you follow the steps mentioned above you’ll increase the chance to hire the best solution for you. If you only focus on one aspect of the story you might miss the right solution for your problem.
It is important to avoid these common mistakes people do when hiring basement waterproofing professional.
- Choose a contractor based on the cost alone
- Don’t ask questions or check for references. Reviews are ok, but you should go for more personal research.
- Not checking contractors credentials
- Not asking for explanation for what exactly is going to happen in your house, not preparing yourself and your family for the upcoming endeavor
- Missing to get written contract
The final decision and the importance of written contract
- Understanding the basic and most common causes of leaky basement,
- Finding out about the methods used to waterproof your basement,
- Understanding the nature of the basement waterproofing contractors work, qualities and skills
Are the most important aspects on the subject of hiring trusted basement waterproofing contractor. We hope that the steps provided will ease your decision.
If this helped you and you came to the moment of choosing, the final thing to do is signing an agreement with the interior house painting contractor that will insure you that the job will be done. The contract should cover this information:
- Contractor’s name, address and phone number and license number
- Description of the work to be done and the products and materials that will be used
- Start date and an estimated time for completion
- Defining the possible changes or specific undertakings that need to be done with the permission of the owner.
- Defining the payment details (like information on possible down payment, monthly payments etc)
- Statement regarding the possible injuries that may occur during the job. Usually this statement underlines contractor’s responsibility for such events.
- As mentioned before, the agreement must include statement on warranty, to insure what will be done if the problem is not solved for instance.
Of course, you can always ask the contractor to provide a contract example so you can check it out before signing.