Top Questions to Ask A Basement Waterproofing Contractor

If you’re looking for a basement waterproofing contractor, you may have a wet basement or have experienced a flooded basement after heavy rains. So where do we go when we’re looking for a contractor? The Internet, of course.

It’s always good practice to be able to ask knowledgeable questions before hiring any type of contractor. If you know at least a little bit about the topic, it helps you weed out the amateurs. Here are the top questions to ask a basement waterproofing contractor.

1. Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?

This is the first question you should ask any contractor who will be doing work on your home. It protects you if they have an accident on the job or if they damage your property in the course of doing the work. They will also need to be licensed, bonded, and insured to get a building permit.

2. How long have you been in business?

In general, the longer a company has been in business, the better. The years of experience they have will be a good indication of how skilled they are. Companies that do poor quality work and don’t stand behind their work generally go out of business within five years.  Being a weather-driven industry, there are short-lived basement waterproofing companies that only exist to “soak up the profits” after major weather events.  Beware of these companies.

3. Do you have references?

This is still a good question to ask if you want to get references from people in your area. Most respectable basement waterproofing companies have a list of references with contact information that they are happy to hand out.

Call a few of the names on the list and ask them about their experience. You may also want to read online reviews because those will include the folks who were not completely satisfied with the contractor. Pay attention to how the company responds to negative reviews.

You can also check out their Better Business Bureau (BBB) page. What rating do they have? Do they resolve complaints? Do they now, or have they done business under another name? Sometimes that’s an indication that a company changed their name because they have a bad reputation.

4. Can you tell me what solution you think is best, and why?

This is where it helps if you know some of the jargon and how a basement waterproofing system works. Their solution may include things you as a homeowner can do on the outside of your home, and will definitely include what they will do in your basement. This can include:

  • French drains
  • Sump pumps
  • Floor drains
  • Weep holes
  • Convection ports
  • Foundation repair
  • Gutter cleaning
  • Redirecting downspouts
  • Regrading or adding topsoil around your foundation
  • And more

Compare the plans of attack between basement waterproofing contractors. The professionals will likely have very similar plans. Ask about the discharge capacity of the sump pump(s) they plan to install.

Here is more info on Basement Waterproofing Terms You Need to Know.

5. What will the work look like and how will you protect my home?

If the work involves a French drain, that’s extensive and dusty work. How wide and deep will the trench be? What gravel and pipe do they use? Ask to see pictures. How will they enter and exit your basement? How will they protect the rest of your home from concrete dust?  Dust is to be expected, but some companies take the time to do their best to protect your space.

Make sure you’re satisfied with all of their answers. The specifications on the work being done should eventually be in writing in your contract.

6. What sort of warranties do you offer?

The gold standard for basement waterproofing companies is to offer a lifetime transferrable warranty. That means the warranty carries over to the next owner if and when you sell your house.

Ask if it covers labor and materials. They may have a one-year or three-year warranty on their sump pump(s) or battery backup sump pumps and another warranty on the waterproofing system. Make sure you get the details.

7. What are your service capabilities?

Due to the nature of basement waterproofing, the solutions, the fact that sump pumps are mechanical and they can break, this is perhaps the most important question to understand.  How many service technicians does the company employ?  In times of severe precipitation and when sump pumps are working very hard, how many vehicles and technicians can the company dispatch to service their customer base?

Companies that only utilize subcontractors will not be able to promptly service your system in times of need.  Their warranties may read very well but if they don’t have the manpower, equipment, and on-hand inventory to service their customer base in times of need their warranty is not worth the paper it is written on.

Also, inquire if there are service fees for visits.  Do they offer annual maintenance or a service contract to inspect and test the system annually?  Quality companies like to offer an annual checkup to ideally catch problems before they happen.  These companies are also the companies that often have the service capabilities you should expect.

8. Are there additional costs I should know about?

They should be honest and upfront about this. If you are getting a new sump pump, they should tell you that you will need an electrician to install a dedicated outlet if there isn’t one already available.

While some contractors might have a basement remodeling division, others might refer you to other professionals they work with to finish your basement. In either situation, that will be an additional cost.

Schedule a FREE Basement Inspection

If you have a wet basement and you want to preserve the safety and health of your home and family, we can help. We are licensed and insured basement waterproofing contractors, and we have inspected more than 100,000 homes. Your inspection is completely free.

When we find the source of the water intrusion, we will design a customized plan to fix the problem. We provide cost-effective warrantied solutions to homeowners throughout Maryland, DC, northern Virginia, and parts of Delaware. Don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Schedule an inspection today.

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