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Duct tape to cover up a basement waterproofing screwup? Really?? Yet that is precisely what AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation’s work crew did. Anyone could see this blatant example of incompetence, if someone bothered to look. AquaGuard, “The Trusted Name in Waterproofing” as they like to call themselves, turned a blind eye to nearly every aspect of the work done in my home.
As the Arbitrator noted: “The pipe access holes in the sides of the pits were cut too large, so that the small stones fell into the pits. The Subcontractor had unsuccessfully attempted to close these large opening with duct tape.”
You can clearly see the duct tape in the above picture. Think about this for a second. This is an enclosure meant to hold water so it can be pumped out of the basement. How long could anyone expect such a “fix” to work? Better yet, how did it happen in the first place? Clearly the holes AquaGuard’s work crew slashed in the side of the basins are much too large, as if they were incapable of measuring the diameter of the drain pipe and then creating a hole of appropriate size; in this case a hole approximately 4 inches in diameter.
Now there are minor complications but I’ve been told by experts in the basement waterproofing business that using a standard 4″ circular hole cutter will do the trick. Such a cutter costs somewhere around $20 and, if you’re in the business of installing sump basins, would seem to be a cost-effective and handy tool to have. If you’re grossly incompetent and know you can get away with almost anything, then maybe you pull out a knife, box cutter, or whatever you happen to have lying around, and slash your way through the plastic enclosure. The irregular cut marks, readily seen in the photo, certainly look like AquaGuard’s crew took the quick and dirty approach to making the opening.
So the holes are too large, the rocks fall into the pit, and who cares? A reputable company would have inspected the work, declared it unacceptable, and fixed the problem. As the Arbitrator noted: “In the words of …Contractor’s own inspector, no part of the visible job was correct, and he recommended to (AquaGuard’s General Manager) that a “total re-do:” was required.” Note that AquaGuard’s inspector came out long after the job was done and, based on what happened after his inspection, AquaGuard wasn’t at all interested in addressing anything except the tar on the walls.
So what is wrong with stones in the bottom of the basin? The main problems are the potential damage to the cast iron impeller at the base of the sump pump or the plugging up of the pump itself. For the Zoeller Model 53 pump installed in the sump basins the maximum size solid that will pass is 1/2 inch spherical. Irregular shaped solids pose additional problems but the main point is this: Many of the crushed rocks that fell into the rear sump enclosure through the oversized holes in the side of the basin were both irregular in shape and significantly larger than 1/2 inch.
Of course it hardly mattered what was in the basin as the pumps never came on in the nearly 2 years the system was in my basement. The worthless trench path with solid drain tile made it nearly impossible for any water to flow into the sump basin in the first place.
In other words:
1. No water in the basin.
2. No chance of the sump pumps ever turning on.
3. No Worries!
The basement waterproofing Aquaguard Waterproofing Corporation did in my basement was so bad that it cost me more than $50,000 to repair the damages. From gross negligence to simply stupid behavior, there are examples almost too numerous to count. The use of duct tape to cover up another failure by their work crew merely highlights how low their standards really.