How to Find A Good Waterproofing Contractor Near Me?
Poorly waterproofed basement is a disaster in more ways than one. Apart from having to pay for the same job again, trapped water compromises your foundation and makes your basement a breeding place for mold, mildew, rust, musty odor, and dry rot. All these are potential indoor air contaminants with adverse health effects like chronic cough, headaches, respiratory problems, frequent colds and sore throats, skin rashes, eye irritation, lethargy, and dizziness. Long-term effects may include an increased risk of cancer. According to WHO, globally, 3.8 million people die prematurely annually from illness attributable to indoor air pollution.
Hence, hiring a certified waterproofing contractor nearby is as much a matter of safety of lives as preservation of your home's structural integrity. The following questions will help you determine the best waterproofing contractor near you:
Waterproofing requires a distinct skill set different from plumbing or insulation, and the license and certification carried by your contractors determine their proficiency to complete your job satisfactorily. Depending on your state of residence, your waterproofing contractor will be holding a specialized license for waterproofing contractors or a home improvement or general contractor license. California, Michigan, Georgia, Hawaii, and Massachusetts are examples of states granting a specialty license for waterproofing contractors. Note some states like New York do not provide for state-level licensure, however, licensing may be required at municipal level. Counties and cities like Miami-Dade County in Florida, and the City of Longmont in Colorado grant specialty licenses for waterproofers. It is recommended you contact your state licensing board or consumer protection department to determine licensure requirements for waterproofing contractors near you. Ensure you see a copy of such requirements from your contractor before signing off on the paperwork.
In addition to government-issued licenses, professional waterproofers do obtain further certification as a mark of mastery in their trade. Such certifications are provided by manufacturers and industry-leading organizations like the Basement Health Association (BHA) and the Waterproofing Contractors Association (WCA). If your contractor claims membership of any such organization, check the online directory on the organization’s website for membership proof.
In 2019, the BLS reported that construction laborers suffered 293 fatal injuries, equivalent to an average of five fatalities every week. In the same year, the Bureau recorded 19,790 occupational injuries among these laborers. As a consequence, you can never underestimate the benefits of insurance coverage. Building contractors are generally required to provide proof of bonding and insurance as a licensure condition in most states. Two of the most important required insurance plans are:
- Liability Insurance: This form of insurance provides professionals with sufficient financial security against liabilities that may occur as a result of their work. Property loss, personal injury, and consequential damages are all examples of these liabilities.
- Workers Compensation Insurance: This usually provides for the cost of medical treatment for employees who are injured at work, as well as a percentage of lost earnings due to the accident.
As a result, you should not ignore these insurance provisions, as they will protect you and your property from consequential damages while also protecting you from a Personal Injury claim if a worker is injured on your property.
While surety bonds are not exactly insurance policies, they function in the same way. They protect your project against abandonment arising from your waterproofing contractor’s service default. In this case, the surety firm, which functions similarly as an insurance provider, is obligated to cover the costs of completing the project.
When you ask for proof of insurance and bonding from any waterproofing contractor near you, do not fall cheaply for their tricks by accepting documents as proof. The majority of these surety companies make it simple to verify and authenticate the identities of their policyholders. Use their official websites or call the company's mainline.
Waterproofing has two major specializations:
- Interior Waterproofing: This type of waterproofing involves installing waterproof solutions from the inside of your home as against from the outside. It is the more common method for existing homes and where the problem is mild. It typically works together with your home's drainage system to collect and direct accumulated water away from the foundation in a bid to keep your home's foundation and walls dry. Waterproofing methods may involve sealing your floors and walls, installing a sump pump, or installing a French drain. It is more of situation management than cure, and hence, cheaper and sometimes not as effective.
- Exterior Waterproofing: This is the more invasive waterproofing method. It involves excavating and exposing the foundation of your home before applying the Waterproofing solution. This specialization involves more extensive and expensive work, and is regarded as the more effective type of waterproofing.
Discussing with specialists from more than one category will help you arrive at the best waterproofing solution, and hence, help you select the specialist near you whose expertise and experience meets your waterproofing needs.
Another specialization of waterproofing is roof waterproofing, typically involving evenly laying waterproofing membranes on the roofs to prevent roof leakage. It is important to ensure that the roof is smoothed out to prevent water collection on the roof, a condition which may in fact, prove counterproductive.
It is upon you to ensure that all the workers in your project are qualified and properly covered. This way, you will not be liable for any harm caused to your property, third-parties, or workers in the course of the job. If your contractor will need extra hands different from their employees, or will have to subcontract a part of the job, then you should make sure they are qualified, licensed, and insured to prevent malpractices and defective work.
Doing due diligence regarding their work credentials will further assure you that your work is in capable hands.
Service providers and manufacturers typically issue warranties to demonstrate their level of trust in what service or product they are offering you. Given that waterproofing failure will typically have serious damaging implications for your building and its contents, a warranty is a part of the work contract you should never waive.
Well-experienced Waterproofing contractors near you will not hesitate to offer assurances on the lifetime of the solution they have implemented for you. There are four major types of warranties used in the waterproofing industry:
- Materials only warranties: This is the most commonly used type of warranty which only covers the cost of a defective component of the waterproof solution, for example, a defective coating. The coverage period typically ranges between five to 30 years.
- Materials and labor warranty: This type of warranty provides for the cost of the component found to be defective and the cost of labor. If a waterproofing solution covered by a material and labor warranty fails, the cost of the materials used and labor employed is covered by the contractor that issued the warranty. This warranty is more standard and comprehensive relative to materials-only warranty coverage.
- Material, labor, and overburden warranty: This kind of warranty works similarly to the materials and labor warranty. However, it goes a step further. For example, if the waterproofing in question was done as an underlay or subfloor to a floor finishing, then this type of warranty will cover the cost of labor and material, as well as the cost of tearing up and reinstalling the floor finishing. It is the most standard type of waterproofing warranty.
- No Dollar Limit (NDL) Limit: While most manufacturers will typically set maximum limits to the amount that may be claimed under warranty, a “No Dollar Limit” basically removes the cap, implying that such as warranty will cover the full reparation or replacement cost, regardless of how much it may cost. Although this is the most preferred type of warranty, it is not commonplace. Also, these companies will typically charge a fee for NDL warranties, and the longer the time coverage of the NDL warranty coverage, the more you will have to pay.
A permit is basically permission granted by local building regulatory agencies to execute a project after having satisfied existing codes and compliance standards. Given how much waterproofing can affect a building's structure, it will most definitely require a permit. Make findings at the building regulatory agency office near you on what permit is required.
City of Parma in Ohio, Miami-Dade County in Florida, Livonia County in Michigan, and Prince George's County in Maryland are only some of the counties that issue a permit for waterproofing. As applicable in your locality, you may be granted the permit or asked to present the licensed contractor handling the job. Permits are a matter of safety and compliance for you and the environment, and you should therefore not attempt to sidestep them.
Past work references give you a peep into a professional's work history and expertise. Waterproofing contractors who have built their reputation on quality service will have no challenge providing you with references to their past jobs. References equally allow you to assess a contractor in-person and make detailed inquiries about their conduct and professionalism from clients near you they have served in the past.
You can also avail yourself of more business reviews and ratings on internet platforms such as the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Business.
Business licenses, typically issued by state authorities, empower business entities to carry out commercial activities in the state in question legally. A business certificate proves further that a business is duly registered and has satisfied other commercial licensure requirements such as professional licensure, financial accountability, and tax compliance. Each state's Office of the Secretary of State allows state citizens to authenticate the registration claims of businesses they want to deal with. This verification will further help curb business imposter frauds which are commonplace today.
The most common problems that occur after a waterproofing job include leaking and concrete cancer. As for leaking, it is simply when water finds another route and still seeps in, usually due to a poorly done job. It is capable of damaging home walls, furniture and fittings, and appliances.
Concrete cancer, on the other hand, arises when the steel used as part of the building begins to rust as a result of damage, thereby expanding and throwing off the concrete around it. The expansion in the steel reinforcement causes the concrete slab to crack and become brittles.
The estimated industry-standard range of waterproofing cost is given below:
The significant factors affecting the cost of waterproofing include:
- The type of waterproofing
- The scale of the job
- Cost of materials and tools to be used
- Amount of preparatory activities such as evacuating a basement
- Cost of labor
Construction specialists such as concrete masons and cement finishers typically execute waterproofing solutions. To enter such a job, a high school diploma or equivalent is required. Professionals typically learn through apprenticeships, technical schools, and on-the-job with established professionals.
Waterproofing professionals typically receive instructions on building and construction tools, materials and techniques, building safety codes, quality control analysis, and building inspection.
Therefore, a certificate of apprenticeship or an equivalent such as a technical school certificate is the minimum for a qualified waterproofing professional. This must be reinforced by substantial years of work experience to show that the worker has applied the knowledge and has garnered quality work experience.
Most associations of professionals offer training and education to willing members. For waterproofing professionals, the BHA is one association that provides certification programs for members featuring the Certified Waterproofing Specialist (CWS), Certified Above-Grade Waterproofing Specialist (CAWS), and the Certified Structural Repair Specialist (CSRS). It would help if you made efforts to verify membership claims and authenticate certification.
As much as waterproofing is a matter of giving your home and property protection from moisture damage, compliance with construction and safety standards is equally important. Also, since waterproofing may require your contractor to work inside your home, then you should hire only those who will be professional with their work and will respect the sanctity of your home.
Hiring an untrained handyman near you for a quick job may set you up for a refix, and waterproofing does not come any cheap. Furthermore, if the handyman is found to have violated local building codes, you will be held liable for allowing a nonprofessional on your job.
You may equally lose your labor and materials warranty if it is found out that an unqualified worker applied the manufacturer's product. Damage to your property due to shoddy work also leaves you exposed to incurring substantial financial liabilities.
Some of the most post-waterproofing expenses include:
- Enhancement expenses such as installing dehumidifiers which keep moisture out of the air and basement dry
No. Except explicitly stated. Homeowner insurance policies do not typically cover the cost of installing a waterproof system. However, if water enters your basement, the insurance company does pay for clean up and inquire about the cause.
Waterproofing contractors near you, like most general and specialist contractors in the US today, are willing to accept digital payments via mobile wallets, bank transfers, and eChecks. You will need to ask beforehand which is their most preferred payment option. Besides taking the FTC's advice not to pay cash to contractors, digital payments offer contractors the advantages of speed, affordability, convenience, and safety. It is more suitable when the contracts involve large sums.