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Cheap Basement Waterproofing—Most Expensive Thing Homeowners Can Do

Feb 10, 2015 • By Matthew Stock.


Everybody likes to save money. It’s the rare shopper who’s not attracted to a sale and the exceptional buyer who doesn’t try to bargain down the price of a new car.

Homeowners are no exception, of course.  The increased interest in Do-It-Yourself projects is at least partly motivated by saving money and numerous retailers of home improvement products have thrived by offering lower prices.

Even when home repairs exceed the homeowner’s DIY abilities, the search for economy goes on.  Homeowners who are unfamiliar with the costs of having work done on their homes are  often shocked when presented with a contractor’s estimate and seek out ways to have necessary repairs done on the cheap.

Basement waterproofing is no exception and homeowners may be tempted to take cost-saving shortcuts to prevent seepage in their basements, shortcuts that may end up being expensive in the long run.

The Expensive Side of Cheap Basement Waterproofing

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with trying to save money on basement waterproofing and there are a few reasonable ways to do it.  The best way is for the homeowner to make sure that he or she is hiring the best basement waterproofing contractor for their needs and making sure they understand the contractor’s estimate and the nature and extent of the work to be done.

Similarly, a DIY approach can be effective in certain areas, especially when the homeowner has the right skills and tools to do the job and doesn’t overestimate what they can do.  Installing a sump pump, cleaning gutters and possibly installing downspout extensions can be done successfully by a homeowner. 

In general, basement waterproofing is a labor-intensive process that often involves breaking up concrete, creating significant excavations and hauling large amounts of soil and debris.  This alone makes it difficult for a homeowner to attempt on his or her own.

For example, if a seepage problem indicates a need for interior drain tile, a homeowner might be tempted to purchase a baseboard drain kit on the internet that promises to solve the problem for a fraction of the contractor’s cost.  Several hundred dollars and a case of sore knees and gluey fingers later, he or she ends up with an unsightly mess that doesn’t work and will just have to be torn out to install drain tile later.

Even worse is when the homeowner resorts to “miracle” products like “waterproofing” paint or sprays, often advertised on television, as a quick and cheap alternative.  These products will, at best, lay down a surface seal that does nothing but trap water inside a masonry or concrete wall and will eventually blister and peel off the wall, leaving the basement no better off than before.

Of course, there’s always the mistake of hiring the bargain basement contractor or handyman to attempt basement waterproofing.  A good rule to remember is that a basement waterproofing contractor doesn’t do plumbing and plumbers (or general contractors) shouldn’t do basement waterproofing.

A handyman is a great choice to install cabinets or fix a loose stair tread. Basement waterproofing?  Not so much.

Basement waterproofing is too important to do on the cheap.  Working closely with a reputable basement waterproofing contractor and, better yet, spotting and fixing problems when they first occur are the best ways to ensure a dry, healthy basement at a reasonable cost.

At U.S. Waterproofing, we have put the interests of homeowners first ever since we were founded in 1957 and our list of more than 300,000 satisfied customers speaks volumes about that.  Want a dry basement at a reasonable price?  Ask for our free advice.

Want to know more about the hidden expenses of cheap basement waterproofing?  Please post your questions in the Comments box below.

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