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waterproofing options

We have had contractors give estimates for installing french drains in the basement. Prices vary. We do not know the questions to ask! PE or PVC pipes? where does the sump pump take the water? Does the system clog? how to contain dust from project? BTW there is not enough space to slope away from house; gutters are fine. Thanks for any advice

Re: waterproofing options

Here's some things I'd suggest you look for when deciding to hire a waterproofing company.

1. How long was that company in business? A huge number of contractor companies close after 2 or 3 years in business. All companies will offer some sort of warranty but what good is a warranty if the business will not be there in the future to honor it?

2. Who manufactures their products, how long have they been in business, how reputable they are and, do they back up the Warranty given by their dealers/franchisees?

3. Check their reputation on the Better Business Bureau. All you need to do is go to the BBB website, type the name of the company and the zip code. You will get a profile of the company, information on how they conduct business (number of complaints filed and whether they were resolved or not). There is also a rating system. Business with a A rating are usually more reliable.

4. When it comes to basement waterproofing, avoid generic products adapted for that application. So no generic PVC pipes. Give preference to systems that were specifically designed for basements because their design is what will ultimately keep the product working for the life of the structure. These systems are, for example, designed in a way that minimizes the chances of clog, but are also fitted with service ports that will allow them to be serviced and flushed periodically. (Don't buy into the "our system is self flushable" tale).

5. The sump pump system should include the option for a battery operated backup pump. The same storms that flood basements, knock off power.

7. The sump pump should be tied to a discharge line long enough to take the water as far away from the foundation as possible. Make sure it will be extended far enough onto the yard or the street, depending on where you live. The contractor should be able to tell you where the water will be taken.

8. A good contractor will take a number of measures to minimize the dust from the project from getting out of control. They will move everything to the center of the basement and cover, will wet the concrete to minimize dust,will seal any doors to the upper floors and recommend that you close the vents. They will have a vacuum cleaner tied to the Jackhammer to suck in the bulk of the dust. However, dust is a very tricky thing so you may expect some of it to get into the upper floors. But if you hired a good company it won't be nothing that you can't get rid off with your regular dusting and vacuuming routine.

Make sure you gather all the information you can about the company, their products, their services and reputation. Do not sign anything if you are not 100% convinced or if you still have unanswered questions. Be aware that, even after you sign, if you are not comfortable, the FTC Cooling Off Rule, enacted as law in most States gives you about 3 days after you signed the contract to change your mind and cancel the contract, without incurring in any fees or penalties for that.

Here's some more information on hiring a good waterproofing contractor.


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