If you’re looking for a contractor to waterproof your basement, you might not know where to start. Do you open the phone book and pick the first contractor listed? Do you search around online for the best deal?
The good news is finding the best is actually pretty easy. You just have to make sure you avoid these common mistakes when hiring a contractor.
Mistake #1: Choosing a contractor based on price alone
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get a good deal, but never forget, there’s truth to the saying “You get what you pay for.” Don’t choose basement waterproofing contractors simply because they claim to have the lowest price in town. Choosing a contractor based solely on price will get you an inexperienced contractor who cuts corners and does shoddy work.
Instead, you want to find a reputable contractor who offers a fair rate that meets your budget. Get estimates from the best contractors in your area, and find the price that includes the most services from an experienced contractor at the best rate.
Mistake #2: Not asking for references
One of the biggest challenges is separating marketing hype from reality. Any contractor can claim to be an expert at basement waterproofing, but unless they can actually prove it, those claims are meaningless.
The best contractors can provide you with plenty of references from past clients who have used their services. In fact, many contractors even publish testimonials from satisfied customer’s right there on their website, letting you see that they’ve helped plenty of people just like you in the past.
If a contractor doesn’t have testimonials or references, take your business elsewhere.
Mistake #3: Not getting it in writing
Before you hire a contractor, you need to know exactly which services you’ll be getting, the price you’ll be getting them at, and when they’ll be completed. Never just enter into an oral agreement with a contractor, as they can always say later “I never agreed to do this.”
Get everything in writing: the services, the price, and the deadlines. Make sure the contract is signed by both parties, and keep your copy of the contract somewhere that you won’t lose it. If the contractor tries to go back on his word, show him the contract to make sure he sticks to what was agreed upon.
Mistake #4: Not looking at the contractor’s credentials
Never hire an unqualified, uncertified freelance contractor to do work on your home. Reputable basement Montreal and Quebec City waterproofing contractors are registered (and in good standing) with the Better Business Bureau and various national and local homebuilding associations.
Certifications are important as they speak directly to the contractor’s quality of work. If your contractor doesn’t have any credentials to show you, find one that does.
Mistake # 5: Not comparing the interior systems available
There are several different interior waterproofing systems available from contractors. The first one is designed to sit right on the slab floor where the floor and the wall meet. Holes must be drilled into each block core to allow drainage. This is called a baseboard system and is primarily designed to control the water trapped in the block walls only. Any water under the floor must reach its highest level and be ready to leak out onto the living area before it would reach this type of system. This is the simplest and least costly method of attempting to waterproof a basement and is a very poor method at best.
Secondly is what is referred to as a gutter system or drainage channel which is placed at the base of the wall on the footer. Holes must be drilled into each block core to allow drainage. This system controls the water trapped in the wall as well as the water below the floor. However the water level must rise until it reaches the system allowing the water to remain in contact with the slab floor at all times. This causes vapor transfer into the home, damp spots on the floor, and possibly floor water if floor cracks are present.
And lastly the most effective of the interior drainage systems is a perforated drain pipe installed inside and along the perimeter of the footing. Drain tile works most effectively when placed below or along side of the foundation footer, instead of on top of the footer. This system allows you to lower the effective water table an additional 6-8″ below your basement floor. Keeping your basement floor dry and away from the water as much as possible is vital to prevent moisture transfer into your home above. This system and the systems above all require the installation of a sump pump and crock.
Make sure you understand the system being installed or recommended by the contractor and if it is going to effectively prevent the problems you’re having.
In addition to avoiding these common mistakes, another thing you can do is to give yourself plenty of time to plan before you hire any basement waterproofing contractors. Whenever possible, don’t rush into anything. That’s when you make mistakes.
Instead, take your time when hiring a contractor to make sure you find the best worker for the job.
Find your basement waterproofing contractors today!