Homeowners tend to have their favorite go-to guy to keep up with basic home repairs and their “honey-do” lists. It’s often difficult to find a good handyman, but when you finally do, you pile more and more on his punch list. Everything from touching up the paint in the master bathroom to installing that new light fixture you just picked up from Home Depot.
Just do yourself one favor. Leave the repair of foundation wall cracks to a waterproofing professional. Here are 5 reasons why:
1. They don’t have experience in diagnosing the root of the problem
Basement wall cracks happen for a number of reasons. The cause dictates the method of repair. Basement waterproofers tend to take a more in-depth approach. The better companies perform an interior and exterior evaluation of your home and make proactive recommendations such as extending your downspouts and sump discharge line to prevent future problems as well as solving the problem at hand.
2. They aren’t properly equipped
Basement waterproofing is a highly specialized industry which requires specific tools and materials. Handymen aren’t well versed in foundation crack repair methods. They usually perform superficial surface repairs, such as chipping out the crack and patching it with hydraulic cement. A big no-no.
3. They might not be around to stand behind the warranty (if they even offer one!)
I’ve mentioned in prior articles that a warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it. Most basement waterproofing companies offer a lifetime warranty on residential work. What good is “lifetime” if your go-to guy moves or retires in five years?
4. They are often underinsured or uninsured
I admit this is a broad generalization, but the truth is most self-employed handymen don’t have sufficient insurance. There’s a degree of potential liability on almost any home improvement project. If a “moonlighter” without insurance gets hurt in your home, you can be liable for their medical bills. I personally wouldn’t let anyone do work for our company or my residence without checking their insurance first.
5. Their repairs aren’t considered to be legitimate when you eventually sell the house
Most home inspectors know the difference between professional and amateur waterproofing repairs. If they don’t, they probably haven’t had the chance to sit through one of our educational seminars we periodically do for organizations such as NICASHI. A savvy home buyer will also ask for the paperwork that came along with the repair. If they see “Joe’s Handyman Service” on the invoice, how confident do you think they are that it will be a lasting repair?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to put handymen out of business. We have a great working relationship with many handymen and contractors; we are constantly referring each other work (no, we don’t believe in “kickbacks”). Take DR Services for example. They are a well known contractor on the North Shore. You would need them, for instance, to remove drywall in order to expose the leak in your foundation. They’ll then refer us to diagnose the seepage problem and make the necessary repairs because they know that we can do a better job than they can. So we scratch each other’s back.
Any handymen out there who want to chime in? How about a homeowner who has had a foundation crack repair fail on them? Would love to hear from you.