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How to Avoid Basement Waterproofing Scams

There are few things as stressful for a homeowner as realizing you have a flooded basement after heavy rain or snowmelt. Ripping out wet carpet, hauling away waterlogged boxes, and rushing to find the last wet vac at the hardware store are all tasks you wish you could avoid ever happening again. If youre like many homeowners, you may have heard of basement waterproofing but thought your basement was fine.

The reality is that most basements in the Mid-Atlantic region that are older than 10 years old will get water seepage sooner rather than later. Thats because of several factors, including the wearing away of the original exterior waterproofing” coating, as well as the hydrostatic pressure that builds up in the soil around your homes foundation.

So, if your basement flooded once due to heavy rains, it is likely to happen again. There are some things you can do around your home to redirect rainwater away from your foundation. If youve already done that, it may be time to call in the professionals.

Youre smart to be investigating basement waterproofing, and smarter still to be looking into how to avoid scams. Unfortunately, while professional basement waterproofing is a very legitimate industry that helps thousands of homeowners prevent water seepage, there are some bad actors out there. 

Today, were going to go over some red flags to look out for and some tips for how to avoid getting scammed.

Red Flag #1: Theyre Not Licensed

Basement waterproofing is a major home improvement, and anyone performing it is required to be licensed and insured. Were not talking about slapping a coat of sealant on the walls – were talking about installing an interior French drain system with one or more sump pumps to manage the water when it seeps through the foundation. Any contractor should be able to provide you with their license number. For reputable companies, it will be listed on their website, mailers, business cards, proposals, etc. In Maryland, you can look up their license on the MHIC website. 

Dont hire an unlicensed waterproofing contractor. Just dont.

Red Flag #2: You Cant Find Any Information About Them

If youre a savvy homeowner, you do research before hiring any service provider. If you look up a company and they dont have a website, thats a red flag. Any reputable basement waterproofing company is going to have a website. Its part of doing business these days. Try looking up the owners name. You may find that they have done business under another name, and that company went out of business because they scammed people. 

Look for companies with an online presence – scour their website and read their reviews.

Red Flag #3: Theyre a Brand-New Business

If the company is a start-up, that can be a red flag, but not necessarily a deal-breaker. Do your research on who owns the company. Do they have years of experience in basement waterproofing and have decided to start their own business? That MIGHT be OK if they have the cash flow to have an inventory of equipment and have real employees rather than sub-contractors. If the company is just one man and a truck or an office with some staff, steer clear, and go with a company with a proven reputation. We have seen many companies come and go over the years.  We have also seen these companies take a slew of homeowners for an unfortunate ride leaving them not so high and dry and without a warranty because they renamed or just plain went out of business.

Cautionary Tales

In a worst-case scenario, you hire a basement waterproofing contractor and he starts the work but never finishes. Or the work is so shoddy you have to hire someone else to come in and repair the work they did. In Maryland, if this happens, you can appeal to the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC), as long as the contractor is licensed.

They have a special Guaranty Fund set up for instances like these, but the whole process of getting any of your money back can take years. And theres no guarantee youll see a dime.

Here are a few recent cases:

Karvounis v Basement Waterproofing Technologies

Brenda Parks v Mr. Basement

Avoid being a victim. Do your homework and hire a well-respected basement waterproofing company. Youll be glad you did.

RELATED READING

How to Choose the Best Basement Waterproofing Contractor

Top Questions to Ask a Basement Waterproofing Contractor

Why You Need a Battery Backup Sump Pump

Schedule Your FREE Basement Inspection

At Value Dry Waterproofing, we value your home and we value our business reputation. Thats why for more than 20 years, weve provided honest and thorough basement inspections followed up with well-researched, fact-based basement waterproofing solutions for homeowners throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. 

We cant guarantee you a dry basement – we dont control the weather or power outages. But we can guarantee you a quality installation of proven waterproofing systems. Value Dry offers a lifetime warranty and free annual checkups to help ensure your system continues to operate as it should.

We would welcome the opportunity to help you reclaim your territory. We offer basement waterproofing solutions to homeowners throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia, Washington DC, and Delaware. Schedule a free basement inspection by filling out the form, or call us at (888) 768-2583.

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