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Stories from the Industry is a section of our experiences, not only with our customers but with our day to day activities regarding Waterproofing your Home! We hope that these lessons learned on waterproofing inform you in making the best possible long term decision on your wet basement water problems. These articles are also here to help inform the home owner and educate you in selecting the right waterproofing contractor for the right job.
Mrs. T. calls in for a free inspection and free estimate. The home is located in Rochester Hills, Michigan and has a damp basement. Mrs. T. says she has a block foundation that was built in the 1980's. The problem described was peeling paint, dark stains, mold, and mildew on her lower block walls.
Our inspector arrives to begin the free estimate process. Our inspector confirms that the customer has stagnant water sitting in the hollow block walls causing a breeding ground for mold and mildew. We advise her that work should be done right away so that the mold problem does not spread and get any worse. Luckily, Mrs. T. had received two other estimates already, and had all her facts in front of her.
Our inspector explained the different types of waterproofing systems we could offer her. These systems would not only take care of the water problem but the mold problem as well. Our inspector described the guarantee Atlantic Coast Waterproofing, Inc. offers and how it would be completely and fully backed. At this point, Mrs. T. decided to review the warranties of the two other contractors. Mrs. T. explained to our inspector that the two competitors offered the same exact warranty as Atlantic Coast Waterproofing yet what Mrs. T. did not notice was the fine print on one waterproofers estimate and the verbiage on the back side of the other competitors estimate. Our inspector knew that we were comparing apples to oranges and began to explain the differences in the guarantee's and warranties:
Our first competitor was offering a "Life of the Structure Warranty." A life of the structure warranty is a warranty on the structure as long as it is structurally sound. This warranty also had limitations such as; the system does not cover against damp spot discoloration of walls. Damp spot discoloration of walls means, walls that change colors from dampness. I think everybody would agree that walls don't change colors on their own, but will change colors from mold and mildew growth.
Our second competitor was offering a lifetime limited warranty on their water proofing system, but it had limitations on it also, as described in the warranty name. This warranty did not cover against any mold or mildew as well.
After reading over the warranties from the two companies, Mrs. T. was baffled, to say the least. Her basement did not leak, yet her big problem was the mold and mildew. These other two water proofers were going to fix the basement but not warranty the true problem. Technically, if their systems were going to repair the basement moisture problems then why would not the warranty extend to the mold and mildew?
Atlantic Coast Waterproofing, Inc. installed an engineered system for Mrs. T., which not only solved her mold and mildew problems, but her foundation water problems as well.
Atlantic Coast Waterproofing, Inc. offers the strongest transferable guarantee in the industry!
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Our inspector arrives on location and begins the Free Inspection and Free Estimate process.
Our inspection reveals cracks in the basement floor slab with ground water intrusion. The exterior inspection shows that the home's location is in a low spot in comparison to the neighborhood. Ironically, the foundation block walls are in good shape yet the basement floor slab is not. Our inspector explains the evidence and dilemma to Mr. D. The wet basement and cracks in the basement floor slab are a result of Hydrostatic Water Pressure and a system should be installed under the home to permanently solve the problem.
Mr. D. then conveys that the other three waterproofing companies proposed something different.
These solutions are as follows:
The first company, which was a plumber by trade, wanted to install a perforated sump basin (crock) and sump pump into the floor for a cost of $1,750.00. They could not offer a "Dry Basement Guarantee" yet only a one year manufactures warranty on the sump pump.
The second company, which was a waterproofer by trade, wanted to excavate around all four walls on the exterior side only. The walls would be waterproofed and the exterior draining system would be installed for a cost of $22,000.00. The waterproofer offered only a ten year warranty on their work specific to the walls, exterior side which they stated that this should alleviate the wet basement floor, "or so they said". Any obstructions to that would need to be removed and replaced in addition, or at the customers expense.
The third company, which was also a waterproofer by trade, wanted to work on it from the inside. They suggested an interior drain or gutter system with an installed plastic subfloor system. The plastic subfloor would raise the flooring off the damp wet concrete. The cost was estimated at a rough $10,000.00
We need to address this waterproofing process now before we go any further. This waterproofing process involves installing a gutter like perforated pipe system on the top of a "level footing" and not "under the floor slab" to redirect groundwater to a sump pump. Now, the floor's area of removal is four inches wide with installation of this type of drain system.
Please keep in mind that the floor is generally four inches thick "by building code" as well. To add, the gutter pipe is approximately three inches in diameter which allows for only one inch of cement flooring on top of it after installation of the system. Bottom line is this system does not have proper gravity flow of water and your only going to have about an inch of concrete between you and the pipe. In other words, you will have standing water within this pipe 365 days a year regardless of the weather conditions outside. Talk about causing another problem: No one in their right mind wants that damp, wet basement smell.
The system Atlantic Coast Waterproofing recomends is a below floor slab interior drainage with pressure relief system which lowers the groundwater level twelve inches beneath the basement floor slab. This system offers proper gravity flow of water to a submersible sump pump system. This sump pump system also includes backup pump for the potential of power failures.
Mr. D. said he found it hard to shop for waterproofing and said it was like comparing apples to oranges. The obvious answer was the three previous systems quoted for his predicament never dealt directly with his problem. Here are the reasons why they did not deal directly with the problem: The first plumbing contractor wanted to install just the sump pump system, yet offered no true passage way for the water to make it to the pump, big mistake. The second contractor, a waterproofer, who wanted to excavate and waterproof, had the right idea about moving the water, but was moving it away from the wrong location. The sure sign was the walls were intact and had no signs of stress or water retention on the interior sides of the walls! The third contractor, again a waterproofer, who was waterproofing in the right location, could have potentially done it the wrong way. The key is a majority of homes should not require you to buy a multitude of solutions. True, this system would catch the water immediately before it comes into your basement yet does not keep the ground water from contacting the floor slab from underneath it. We are talking about waterproofing your basement not buying a la carte soup, salad, and entree when you sit down at a local restaurant!
The Atlantic Coast Waterproofing System offers Mr. D. a "Lifetime Unconditional Guarantee Against Water Seepage" across his entire floor slab as well as all four of his foundation walls. We do have to say that Mr. D. says, "Thanks Atlantic Coast Waterproofing!" Thank you as well Mr. D. of Waterford, Michigan.
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