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Why Some Basement Waterproofing Companies Don’t Repair Foundation Cracks

Mar 21, 2012 • By Matthew Stock.

Believe it or not, there are basement waterproofing companies that won’t fix a foundation crack (as shown below).  That’s right!  It may be hard to believe, but they are out there. 


Over the years, I’ve heard just about every excuse in the book.  Some of these might sound plausible to the untrained ear.  Have no fear.  Let’s unspin the spin together.

The Top 5 Excuses:

  1. They don’t know any better.   Some of the companies in our area are waterproofing franchises who received training from their East Coast franchisor.  They were indoctrinated in the belief that every home requires a full basement system.  Basement waterproofing out east is much different than in Chicago.  The homes there tend to be older and built using masonry such as brick, stone or block.  Masonry foundations usually exhibit seepage through the mortar joints that hold the individual masonry units together.  There are only two methods for addressing a masonry foundation leak: an Interior Drain Tile or an Exterior Foundation Membrane / Drain Tile System.  While these systems can be used to address wall cracks in poured concrete foundations, most of the time it is overkill
  1. They aren’t interested in doing small jobs.  This one always puzzled me.  If you want to be successful in the service business, you must be willing to do both large and small jobs.  There are some contractors that just don’t think it’s worth the fuss.  No wonder so many contractors continue to go out of business. The cost to seal a crack is pretty minimal; usually it costs somewhere in the $300 to $500 range, depending on factors such as the number of cracks and depth of the foundation.  Some companies just can’t find a way to make this line of work profitable.  It’s harder earning a living when you have to travel a great distance between jobs, especially with today’s gas prices!  A more established, full-service waterproofing company can usually group a number of small jobs together in a tighter area to help make the route more profitable. 
  1. They prefer a one-size-fits-all solution like an Interior Drain Tile System as opposed to diagnosing the actual problem.  That’s not to say that Interior Drain Tile isn’t a viable solution.  Sometimes it is  As mentioned above, it is one of the only solutions for a masonry foundation.  Poured concrete foundations, on the other hand, have multiple types of seepage problems.  Some of the problems can be more complex in nature, which requires a big investment in training.  A top- notch waterproofing company should focus on offering the most practical and economical solution.  That philosophy has served us well over the years.  300,000 dry basements don’t come easy. 
  1. They tried before and failed.  Sealing foundation wall cracks is a specialized trade.   If fixed incorrectly, they will eventually leak.  Too many repeat service calls can overwhelm any company.  Foundations can crack for a number of different reasons.  In order to properly repair a crack, you need to have a good understanding about what caused it.  For instance, some cracks are a sign of a structural problem and they require a different method of repair.  Successful basement waterproofers also need to be well versed in both interior and exterior crack repair methods.  Our average installer has fixed thousands of cracks.  We have several technicians who have been sealing cracks for over twenty years.  At U.S. Waterproofing, you aren’t given an opportunity to perform repairs on your own until you’ve been mentored by an experienced Foreman over hundreds of jobs. 
  1. Their salesman sees you as his next mortgage payment.  Almost all basement waterproofing salespeople are compensated by commission.  I’ll be the first to tell you there’s nothing wrong with that.  Incentives are needed in order to recruit top talent.  That goes for just about any sales-related field.  A line is crossed, however, when a salesperson puts greed before a customer’s best interest.  We pride ourselves on hiring salespeople based on their honesty and integrity.  If they could have played Al Pacino’s, or worse, Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross there’s zero chance of landing a career with us. 

I know there are some experienced basement waterproofers across the country who would echo our thoughts.  I’ve heard from some of you in the past and would love to hear from you again.  Homeowners are also welcome to share their stories!

Tags: foundation cracks, cracks in basement walls, foundation waterproofing, basement waterproofing facts, drain tile, researching companies, interior drain tile, exterior drain tile, how to choose a waterproofing company, interior foundation crack repair, exterior foundation crack repair, complaints

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