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AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation left an incredible basement waterproofing mess for me to clean up. After installing a worthless interior “water management” system, they topped that outrage off by smearing all the interior walls of my basement with toxic, flammable, exterior roofing tar. The noxious stench only added to our misery. We had to abandon our house for almost a month, paying tens of thousands of dollars to get the mess taken off of the walls and have the basement cleaned up.
The left photo shows a portion of the wall after AquaGuard’s subcontractor negligently applied the tar. The right side shows the same area after I paid to have the tar carefully removed. During this work, the new contractor had to seal off the basement to prevent the hazardous tar and silica dust from filling the house. Because no such sealing is ever perfect, we moved out to a local apartment complex while the work was being done. Of the more than $50,000.00 in damages awarded to us by the arbitrator, most of that was simply to pay the bills associated with the cleanup.
No compensation was awarded for the suffering we endured throughout this sorry affair, nor did we seek such compensation. All we ever asked was that AquaGuard fix the problems which they refused to do in anything like a satisfactory manner. As the arbitrator stated: “The Owner timely notified Contractor of the problems with the work, and the Owner offered Contractor ample and reasonable opportunities to come to the house and present a remedial plan. However, Contractor did not take advantage of these opportunities, insisting instead on having its incompetent Subcontractor return to make repairs. The Contractor failed to take diligent, timely and reasonable steps to cure the defective work.”
I would add that AquaGuard never expressed any sorrow or admit any fault in this matter, other than offer up the lame excuse that they aren’t perfect! No one expects perfection but honesty and fair dealing are a minimum set of expectations.
It is my belief that had we not pursued them with legal action, they would have been more than happy to band-aid the problems and keep their ill-gotten gains. Not content with having us ripped off, AquaGuard added insult to injury by treating us with utter disrespect and disdain. I can hear as plain as day the words of their sales representative when I called to complain. He said: “Mr. Rzemien, I hope you aren’t one of those customers with unrealistic expectations?”
What happened in our basement was beyond simple incompetence. The attempt to rip me off by using exterior roofing tar was outrageous in it self. As the arbitrator noted: “The Subcontractor installed unsightly, black, odorous roof/foundation tar coating on the interior basement walls instead of the contractually required cementitious AquaFin coating, and this tar coating was installed sloppily and in a hit or miss manner”. I would add that I paid approximately $7000 for this AquaFin coating alone and the cost of the tar smeared on my walls was less than $75! AquaGuard was well aware that a change had been made but did nothing to stop it.
Anyone who has tried to remove tar or any petroleum product from cement knows what a difficult, time-consuming, and messy process this is. Small wonder then that AquaGuard elected to do nothing but leave the mess to me and their unlicensed, incompetent subcontractor. A reputable company would have taken ownership of the problem and moved quickly to correct it. AquaGuard tried all sorts of things to avoid responsibility and ultimately had to be held accountable by the legal means at my disposal.
In a future posting we will review the consequences of the course of action they chose to follow.