My basement is flooded! I need help!
You sure do. The only question is, what kind of help do you need? If the “flood” in your basement is clean water after a period of heavy rain, you likely have a seepage problem, possibly made worse by a failed sump pump. In that case, you need a basement waterproofing company to come to the rescue.
If the “flood” really is a flood covering your entire floor, you probably have a backed-up sewer. Although the water may appear clean, it could be coming from either the storm sewer or sanitary sewer and may be contaminated. (In Chicago and other municipalities, the storm and sanitary sewers are combined.) In either case, the help you need is going to come from a sewer contractor.
It is understandable that homeowners might confuse the two; after all, a wet basement is a wet basement. However, both the sources of the problems and the means required to repair them are very different and to obtain the best possible result, a wise homeowner will choose carefully when hiring a company to do the work.
Typically, a sewer contractor is a licensed plumber, required in most places because the contractor’s work will usually involve a connection to the municipal sewer line. Additionally, his expertise lies in installing systems that will prevent future sewer back-ups and offer the homeowner peace of mind.
A basement waterproofer’s expertise lies in keeping ground water out of a basement by repairing cracks in foundation walls, installing interior drain tile and exterior drain tile, exterior waterproofing membranes or other methods. He is not required to be a licensed plumber because the closest he will get to plumbing is installing a sump pump.
A sewer contractor can perform a number of repairs or upgrades that will protect your home from future flooding. Often the problem involves the “lateral,” a pipe that connects your home plumbing system to the sewer; sewer contractors can inspect, clean out and/or replace these connections as necessary. Sewer contractors can also install preventative systems, including backflow valves, flood control systems, sewage ejector pumps and residential lift stations.
In any event, the smart homeowner wants the right person for the job when confronting serious issues of home damage and family health. It comes down to this: To solve a seepage problem, call a basement waterproofing company; to solve a sewer problem, call a sewer contractor. The best in each business know their limitations and will freely offer referrals to the other to make sure you get the best results.
At U.S. Waterproofing, we know the basement waterproofing business–proven by the 300,000 dry basements we’ve done since our founding in 1957. We also know some of the best sewer contractors in the business and if you’re not sure what to do about your water problem, ask for our free advice.
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