6 questions to ask a basement waterproofing contractor
Get answers to key questions when planning basement waterproofing. (Photo courtesy of David Kuhar)
If you’re ready to hire a basement waterproofing contractor, the next step of the process is obtaining multiple estimates.
Although any major home improvement investment warrants speaking to multiple contractors, it’s especially important to do so when seeking basement waterproofing work due to the variety of repair systems and approaches.
Help yourself make a smart hiring choice by arming yourself with these six questions every homeowner should ask of basement waterproofing contractors:
1. Are you licensed, bonded or insured? Do you carry workers compensation insurance?
This is one of the first questions any homeowner should ask a contractor before beginning work on their homes, but it holds especially true for basement waterproofing as the nature of the work may require the contractor to obtain a building permit.
Even if a permit is not required, bonding, liability insurance and workers compensation can help protect you and your home financially if something should go wrong with the job.
2. How many years have you been in business?
How long a company has been in business can provide an indication about how experienced they are in making basement waterproofing repairs – and if they have experience with your type of problem.
A key follow-up question: How long have you used the process you recommend for my waterproofing job? If they’ve only been using a particular process for a few years or less, it stands to reason it’d be much harder to ascertain first-hand how durable or long-lasting a system or repair is.
3. Can you provide references?
A basement waterproofing contractor who has a long history of satisfied customers is a definite plus when trying to make a hiring decision. Make it point to call a few customers, both those who have recently had work completed and those whose work took place several years ago, and see how the repairs are holding up.
“It also helps to talk with people in the know – real estate agents, home inspectors, builders – to get the real industry insider knowledge,” says Matthew Stock of U.S. Waterproofing in Rolling Meadows, Ill.
4. Why do you think the repair you proposed will work best for my waterproofing problem?
With so many repair processes and systems, it’s important you do your homework and do your best to understand how a proposed repair will work. Be sure to ask about the proposed materials and understand what role they play in the overall system.
“Look at the solution they’re offering and take the time to see if the solution makes sense,” says Steve Allen of highly rated Integrity Waterproofing in Lakewood, Ohio. “Make sure the solution is something that will solve the problem.”
5. What will the work look like?
If your home needs a more extensive repair, such as exterior excavation or installing an interior drain system, the quality of the work will affect how your home looks.
“If they’re doing something like an interior drain system, ask them how wide the trench will be, what material they’ll use, and if it will be performed neatly and professionally,” says James Kripas, owner of highly rated All Aspects Waterproofing in Savage, Md. “It comes down to a matter of quality and how much they’re getting for the money.”
6. Do you guarantee or warranty your work?
How long does the company offer its warranty? Does it cover the materials and the labor? Has the company ever needed to come back out to service warranty coverage?
“They should ask how long is your guarantee on the work and whether it’s transferable from homeowner to homeowner [when the home sells],” says Terry Chubb of highly rated Chubb Construction in Wickliffe, Ohio.