Basement Waterproofing Hazards

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Basement Waterproofing | AquaGuard Mess Cleanup I

Exterior System Pic1

AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation failed to provide the appropriate basement waterproofing solution to the seepage problem in my house, costing me tens of thousands of dollars in damages and months of frustration before I could clean up their mess.  I was naive to trust their slick salesman, their worthless and misleading proposal, etc.  In the end it was my fault for failing to do my homework when researching waterproofing companies.  I signed their contract, and cannot fault them for selling me the wrong system.  I do fault them, however, for failing to provide me what they promised, failing to address numerous contract breaches,  and topping it off with the grossly negligent smearing of exterior roofing tar all over the interior walls of my basement.

If I had to do it over, I would have started where I ended up; namely having a reputable outfit install an exterior basement waterproofing system.  Reading the literature it is clear that some outfits grossly exaggerate the cost of an exterior system as part their sales tactic.  Indeed when I finally had an exterior system installed, the cost was more.  However, it was not nearly as much as the damages I suffered through AquaGuard’s incompetence.

As stated by the Arbitrator: “The basic elements of the basement project were to install an interior perimeter basement sub-floor drain system which emptied into two sump pits containing two sump pumps and a battery backup pump which discharged to the outside of the house; to repair certain cracks in the basement walls; and to apply an AquaFin waterproof coating on the interior basement walls.”

Further on, the Arbitrator noted: ” Virtually every aspect of the project was improperly performed or not performed at all.  Contractor’s president and general manager,…, agreed that the Subcontractor’s work was “poor…all around,”

But the key points I wish to emphasize in this posting have to do with the necessity to redo the work.  As AquaGuard’s own independent inspector noted:  “…no part of the visible job was correct, and he recommended to  (AquaGuard’s General Manager) that a “total re-do” was required.  My own home inspection expert testified that the project was “unacceptable all the way” and “you gotta tear it out” and that the work “must be removed and replaced.”

Indeed, my home inspection expert wrote in his report on the work the following: “In order to correct your moisture problem and their work so that it conforms to your Contract, I recommend the following:

1. Correct the grading and drainage away from the house to conform to IRC R401.3. Drainage.
2. All occupants (including the 2 cats) should move into temporary housing for 30 days.
3. Place all basement items in a temporary storage trailer.
4. Encapsulate the basement area prior to starting waterproofing the basement area. Install proper venting to the exterior of the house before starting the job. MOSHA OSHA.
5. Remove the drain tile and the sump pumps. Remove the asphalt tar from the interior walls, then re-install the drain tile and proper-sized sump pumps on opposite sides of the basement as per your Contract. IRC R405.1 Concrete or Masonry Foundations R405.2.3 Drainage System.
6. Repair cracks and open mortar joints in the foundation walls (concrete & block). Seal the walls as per Contract.
7. Clean the whole house and re-install the moved items from their temporary storage trailer back into the basement area.
8. Remove all debris from the basement area and dispose with proper permits.

In conclusion, complete all work as per your Contract in a workmanlike manner with all required permits. All work should conform to all local codes in that jurisdiction. I estimate the approximate cost to do the above would be $ 43,685.00.”

The above description is his estimation of how the mess needed to be addressed to conform to the terms of the contract. Clearly a massive undertaking. More importantly, however, is the fact that the fundamental system I agreed to have installed in the first place was itself simply inadequate to address the water seepage problem. The water was clearly seeping through cracks that penetrated the basement walls in several places. The only sensible, longterm solution was to dig out the entire foundation and seal the cracks from the outside. That was precisely what I had done in the fall of 2013. The photo above shows the first day of excavation. In following posts we’ll examine more of this exterior work. We’ll also examine the actions of a reputable company; one that took time to assess the real nature of the problem, clearly laid out the work they were really going to do, obtained the proper permits in a timely fashion, and finally performed all work in an exceptional fashion.

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