So spring is finally arrived and with it so will the spring rains. Once again your mind races back to your beautiful finished basement or the unfinished basement that you want to finish but are concerned it will flood. You have did your research and did all the things that a prudent home owner would do. You have extended your down spouts, raised the grade, cleaned your gutters, had a battery back up installed but you still feel the tension every time it starts to rain. It's time to call in a pro. You can have piece of mind knowing that your basement want flood. When it's time to hire a professional waterproofing company..... It's time to research the subject and have the right questions to ask. Don't just hire any waterproofing company they are not all the same! Here is my top 10 questions you need an answer to before you settle on your decision to hire your contractor.
1. Have you ever had a failure?
An honest contractor, who has been in the business for a significant period of time and has done
hundreds of installs has had a failure at some point. This isn't bad. What I what be looking for in the
interview is; Yes, I did have a failure. Let him explain what caused it and what the company did
to address it so that it wouldn't happen again.
2. What size sump pump is installed in the system?
A crawlspace should never have less than a 1/2 HP pump a basement a 1HP pump.
3. What is the discharge capacity of the pump?
The contractor should know his system and should be able to immediately tell you. A waterproofing
system is all about the capacity the system can move. This is essential information in making the
4. What is the best back-up system available?
A real pro is going to say in this order......A automatic switch over natural gas or propane generator if
a pump is needed to produce lift. If you are up high and perhaps can have a gravity feed drain
then a pump will not be needed to begin with (THIS IS THE BEST) battery back-ups or water back-ups
should only be recommended if one of these two options are not possible.
5. Do they install a level ...footer system or is it a deep channel pitched system?
This is vital!!!!! I only recommend installing a deep channel pitched system.PERIOD. It's just common
sense, water flows down hill. A real waterproofing system will have a high point located at the
farthest point away from the sump pump that will pitch all the way to the pump. It will not sit level
on the footer. These systems fail regularly... BUYER BEWARE! Most of the time a consumer can
save 20%-30% if you go with one of these systems. Just remember they are not designed to handle
large amounts of rainfall, rapidly.
6. I have an issue in one location. Why is the company recommending an entire system?
If you have a poured basement 9 out of 10 times it can be addressed in that specific location by
addressing a crack. If you have a block wall you will most likely need a system installed.
7. Do you do outside waterproofing?
Every professional waterproofing contractor that is excellent in the industry will offer this service.
You should ask if they do and have them explain why or why they are not taking this approach with
your proposal. In most cases an outside system will be more expensive and many obstacle
can obstruct this type of install. However, it is the best approach if possible.
8. How far away do you bury a discharge line?
It should be at least 20' away from the basement.
9. Can you have 3 references to call?
Call them. you need to hear from people that the contractor has done work for.
10. What does the warranty cover?
This is huge in making a determination. Have them flip over the contract and explain it. Ask
questions. Make sure you understand. The standard warranty is very weak. It may say things like,
" Life time transferable". Check out the details. Most cover nothing. If your system fails the
contractor will most likely have a way out of all liability. Some contractors in the industry are working hard to improve this. Seek to do business with these contractors.
This leads me back to the 1st question. Have you ever had a failure? This will tell you a lot about the company and how they deal with failures. Going with the best price is not the answer in waterproofing. You will be well served to take the time and do your research in finding a contractor. find the best and pay more if you must.