Basement waterproofing isn't something most of us know how to do ourselves.
It's something we like to hire experts to do. And with good reason.
Basements might seem like places that are naturally supposed to be dark and dank - after all, they're underground, right? But basement moisture is an insidious menace which can have a slow but steady effect on the integrity of your foundation and the air quality of your home as a whole. To keep your basement as dry as possible, you'll need to hire a good basement waterproofing contractor.
A basement waterproofing contractor, particularly one with years of experience, will have no trouble determining the cause of a wet basement. He can spot the telltale signs of leakage or cracking, and he knows where black mold is most likely to grow. What's more, a quality basement waterproofing contractor will be able to advise the best course of action to fix your leaky basement.
But there are so many basement waterproofing contractors out there - how to choose the right one? Here are a few simple things to remember:
Check Angie's List, or a related review site. Angie's List is a community website full of user-generated reviews of all kind of contractors, from general contractors to more specialized professionals. If you think you may have settled on a basement waterproofing contractor, check to see if they have an entry in Angie's List, and what their customers say about them. It could be your surest way to make a final decision.
Ask for references. A basement waterproofing contractor who can provide you with pictures of homes he's worked on in the past is a businessperson who knows how to sell his services. If he can provide letters of recommendation or customer testimonials, all the better. If you were bringing on a new hire at your workplace, you'd ask for nothing less - why subject your home to less rigorous standards.
Make sure he knows a wide range of skills. You may already have a mold problem, so make sure the basement waterproofing contractor you hire knows about mold removal and mold remediation. Ideally you'd like a jack-of-all-trades who can handle any problem that comes up, but be careful not to hire a contractor who'll forge ahead with a project he may know little about addressing. As with any contractor, it's a good idea to get a feel for the range of his (and his staff's) talents before you bring him on board.
Does he hire subcontractors? Subcontractors aren't bad, but they do provide an additional layer of bureaucracy between you and the company you hired in the first place. It's always best to hire someone who does the work himself, or with a small staff. Keeping your contractor close makes him more answerable if something goes wrong, and it keeps the channels of communication simple if an unanticipated problem should arise.
Get a specific written bid. Compare two or three of these. Explain the problem in as much detail as you can to each potential contractor. If possible, have them come out to visit your home and evaluate the problem for themselves. When getting your estimates, cross any basement waterproofing contractor off the list who tries to scare you into hiring him right away. Few problems are so urgent that they preclude a prudent analysis of your options.
Make sure your basement waterproofing contractor is properly licensed and insured. Ideally he should have personal liability insurance and worker's compensation. You want to avoid being sued if he or one of his staffers is injured on the job, and you'll also need a level of protection in case he damages your home. Get the name and number of his carrier and call for confirmation.
Remember: Communication is everything. It's always best to hire a basement waterproofing contractor who will keep you up-to-date on what's going on with the project; who doesn't mind answering specific questions; who's polite and courteous in his interactions with you and your family; and who lets you know as soon as possible if any problems arise.
Like any businessperson, a good basement waterproofing contractor will be eager to add another satisfied customer to his list. If he meets or exceeds your expectations, communicates in a helpful and courteous manner, and makes every effort to resolve your basement waterproofing and mold removal needs at a fair cost, then he's a good bet.
Kevin Ott is a freelance writer living in California. He writes on a variety of topics, including home improvement, travel, food, health and wellness, and employment. One of his clients is Right Way Waterproofing, the premier solution source for basement waterproofing, basement finishing and mold remediation in Pennsylvania.
Visit Right Way Waterproofing's website here:
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