- April 28, 2022
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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 you’re 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. That’s 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 home’s 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 you’ve already done that, it may be time to call in the professionals.
You’re 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, we’re going to go over some red flags to look out for and some tips for how to avoid getting scammed.
Red Flag #1: They’re Not Licensed
Basement waterproofing is a major home improvement, and anyone performing it is required to be licensed and insured. We’re not talking about slapping a coat of sealant on the walls – we’re 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.
Don’t hire an unlicensed waterproofing contractor. Just don’t.
Red Flag #2: You Can’t Find Any Information About Them
If you’re a savvy homeowner, you do research before hiring any service provider. If you look up a company and they don’t have a website, that’s a red flag. Any reputable basement waterproofing company is going to have a website. It’s part of doing business these days. Try looking up the owner’s 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: They’re 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.
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 there’s no guarantee you’ll see a dime.
Here are a few recent cases:
Avoid being a victim. Do your homework and hire a well-respected basement waterproofing company. You’ll be glad you did.
Schedule Your FREE Basement Inspection
At Value Dry Waterproofing, we value your home and we value our business reputation. That’s why for more than 20 years, we’ve provided honest and thorough basement inspections followed up with well-researched, fact-based basement waterproofing solutions for homeowners throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
We can’t guarantee you a dry basement – we don’t 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.