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The incompetent crew AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation sent to my house not only failed to properly dig and prepare the hole for the sump basin, they did significant damage to the basement floor slab. Damages associated with this unworkmanlike performance were one of the first signs that things had gone seriously wrong. Of course we knew immediately of their grossly negligent behavior when smearing exterior roofing tar on the interior walls of my basement. However it would take time to uncover the many other breaches of contract and misdeeds associated with practically every other aspect of their sloppy work.
The arbitrator noted: “The concrete floor near one of the pits had a 1/2″ wide crack developing at the seam between the old concrete floor slab and the new concrete trench topping, although the Contract does not guarantee against cracking”. This description of an issue with the floor only partially captures the problem we will be examining. Looking at the photographs accompanying this post one can see note one but two cracks in the original floor slab. These cracks are not at the seems of the old and new concrete, but totally in the original floor slab. In one case, though perhaps not readily apparent in the pictures, is the fact that the cracked off portion of the slab is actually slumping toward the corner where the sump enclosure was dropped in.
The work crew foreman, immediately after sealing the trench with cement, warned me that I shouldn’t put anything on it for several days. This seemed prudent, though at the time I didn’t realize it would be far more than several days before I was ready to do anything in my basement. After AquaGuard’s disreputable, unlicensed subcontractor nearly destroyed my basement with various grossly negligent acts, it was many months before I was ready to do anything in my basement. Regardless, after about a week I noticed diagonal cracks forming across the floor in the corners where the two sump pumps were installed. Over the course of several weeks the cracks widened and one in particular actually began to shift and tile toward the sump pit itself. This is clearly seen in the right-most photo shot of the pictures shown above.
The professional waterproofing contractors and home inspection people who came to my house agreed that the likely cause of the problem was two-fold. First, the breaking up of the floor slab itself likely caused minor cracking in the corners where the trench path took a sharp turn and the sump pits were opened up. Second, the digging and preparation of the pit were likely done in such a manner that the dirt underlying the floor slab was not properly repacked, leaving voids that would allow the slab to sink over time. While not a longterm foundation stability issue, it is unsightly, a likely issue for would-be home buyers and needs to be corrected.
While we currently don’t know with certainty the condition of the foundation below the slab, the cracking and slumping suggest the dirt has gaps in it. As I mentioned in a previous posting, I am having the entire interior system AquaGuard installed ripped out. Paraphrasing AquaGuard’s own independent inspector: no part of the visible job was correct, and he recommended to AquaGuard’s General Manager that a total re-do was required. AquaGuard did not act on the recommendations of their hand-picked expert. You’d have to ask them why they decided to do nothing.
As part of the ripping out process, I am taking photographs and notes so we can discuss in the future those parts of their handiwork that have remained covered up to date. We shall see in detail what care was exercised by AquaGuard’s disreputable work crew when digging the hole, creating the trench path, etc.