There’s an old joke about contracts: “The large print giveth and the small print taketh away.” Not really true, of course, but it does help to make a good point: Always read and understand a contract before you sign it. Once you’ve put your signature on any kind of agreement you are bound to it so make sure you know exactly what you’re signing.
Of course, that works both ways. The other party to the contract – car dealer, mortgage company, home repair contractor – is also obligated to fulfill their end of the deal, so understanding exactly what you should be getting for your money is equally important. When signing a Chicago basement waterproofing contract, there are 6 things you should look for.
What Should be in a Chicago Basement Waterproofing Contract
Each basement waterproofing company in the Chicago area will, of course, have a different contract but there are some things that should be in every one:
- Plain English – Even lawyers don’t want to have to wade through multiple paragraphs of “whereas” and “heretofore.” A Chicago basement waterproofing contract should be written in language that everyone can understand, that is well organized and clearly spells out what is expected of you and of the basement waterproofing contractor. The best contracts will get right down to business, be specific and as brief as possible. If a salesperson makes a promise to you, make sure it’s in the contract.
- Warranties – Warranties are particularly important in basement waterproofing. It’s the contractor’s statement that you can rely on them to do the job right the first time and, if that doesn’t occur, they will return to make it right at no additional cost to you. A warranty is not the same as a guarantee but it does offer you assurance that the job will be done right. Make sure warranties are clearly stated in your contract.
- Warranty Terms – A reputable basement waterproofing contractor will offer a lifetime warranty on interior work, such as interior drain tile and crack injection. Interior waterproofing work is done under controlled conditions and, when the job is done right, it will function properly for the life of the homeowner and beyond. Exterior work, on the other hand, is subject to conditions beyond anyone’s control, so outside work, such as exterior drain tile will have a limited warranty, typically 10 years.
- Transferable Warranty — If a basement waterproofing contractor is confident enough in his work to warranty it for a lifetime, he should be confident enough to make it transferable. This is particularly helpful when a homeowner has procrastinated and waited until the house is going to be put on the market before having waterproofing work done. This not only allows the homeowner to have the assurance that the basement is dry but provides a great selling point that might just make the difference in the house moving quickly or languishing on the market.
- Manufacturer’s Warranties – If the contract includes the installation of mechanical equipment such as sump pumps or basement dehumidifiers, these items are typically covered under manufacturer’s warranties, not a warranty from the basement waterproofing contractor. This should be stated in the contract and the installer should provide you with all pertinent warranty information.
- Damage Repair and Preparations – Sometimes, despite the basement waterproofing company’s careful work, things in the basement or outside your home may get damaged. Make sure your contract clearly states what damage is covered and under what circumstances. Your contract may also include an addendum that explains what preparations you must make before the work is done – moving furniture or stored items, moving plantings, taking off drywall – so make sure you understand what is expected of you as well.
Of course, you should always read ANY contract thoroughly and make sure you understand all the provisions – but it really shouldn’t be that complicated. At U.S. Waterproofing, we make sure our contract language is clear, our lifetime and limited warranties are fully explained and, most importantly, that our work lives up to your expectations. Why not ask for our free advice?