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IS ALL WATERPROOFING THE SAME? Here are some things you need to KNOW.

May 7th, 2012 by The Waterproofer

Most homeowners know very little about basement waterproofing. This is not surprising – waterproofing generally has a very long life span and is rarely seen. Usually the first time anyone thinks about waterproofing is when their basement starts to leak. So how do you know who to hire to waterproof your basement?
Most homeowners with wet basements will Google ”basement waterproofing”, “waterproofing” or some similar search and will look at a number of websites. How do you select one waterproofer over another? Most homeowners will call two or three companies give an estimate and often the will choose the lowest one, believing that the process is all the same. But not all waterproofing companies, or waterproofing jobs, are the same. Before hiring a company to complete your basement waterproofing make sure you know what you are getting and who you are getting. Here are a few tips to help you choose a waterproofing company:
1. Who will be doing the work?
Many companies use sub trades to complete the work. This means the company that you are hiring is not the company that will be completing the work. The company you hire sells the job off to another company that has no relationship with you – and may even not be working with the company you hired as soon as they finish your job. The sub-trade may have little reason to do a professional job or make sure that the products are applied correctly. Their motivation is to do the job as cheaply and quickly as possible, and let’s face it – their reputation is not going to be damaged if the job is done poorly. So make sure you ask whether the company will be performing the work itself (i.e., – with its own employees) or selling the job off to a sub-trade.
2. Will top-grade waterproofing materials be used?
Not all foundation coatings are the same. There are many black, asphalt-based foundation coatings on the market and they differ greatly in terms of performance and cost.
For example, there is a product call Black Knight foundation coating which is sold at Home Depot for $35 for a 25L pail which will cover over 500 square feet of foundation. By contrast, a similar looking product called Aqua Block is also sold at Home Depot but costs $154 for a 25L pail which will only cover up to 100 square feet of foundation. Your contractor would require five 25L pails of Aqua Block to cover the same amount of foundation as one pail of the Black Knight product and it would cost him $735 more. The two products look very similar when applied to a foundation, but they perform very differently. Aqua Block is a far superior product in terms of protecting your foundation from water penetration. So make sure you ask which waterproofing materials the contractor uses.
3. Will the company take the time to do it right?
Some waterproofing companies price a job low and depend on rushing through to make it profitable. There are a lot of “shortcuts” that can speed up a basement waterproofing job, but those shortcuts may not be in the homeowners’ best interest.

For example, before applying the foundation coating the basement walls must be thoroughly cleaned, as waterproofing coating applied to a dirty surface tends to perform poorly. Cleaning the walls takes time and requires attention to detail. Another example – some foundation coatings need to “cure” for 24 hours before being covered with drainage membrane and backfilled. Not all companies are willing to take this time – if they have priced a job low, they need to get in, get out and get their money. Some companies will only machine-dig a job, which is faster, and therefore cheaper, than hand-digging, but may end up damaging your property (or your neighbours) by using the machine too close to your walls, fences, walkways, etc. So make sure you ask what areas the contractor is planning to hand-dig, and how the time on the job will be allocated.
In summary, by asking a few simple questions of your prospective contractor you can find out much of what you need to know to evaluate different quotes and ensure you hire a contractor who will do the best job for you.
• KNOW who will actually be doing to work.
• KNOW that top-grade materials will be used on your job.
• KNOW that your contractor will take the time necessary to do the job right.

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