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Basement waterproofing done by AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation was such a disaster that I was left with only one option: Rip it all out and start again. Having failed to perform anything like an adequate job, indeed having nearly destroyed our basement and created a toxic mess, this bunch of telemarketing phonies turned a blind eye on their gross negligence and numerous breaches of contract. Their arrogance and indifference smacked of a business model akin to “The customer is always wrong.” A reputable company faces up to problems and addresses issues. Not so with AquaGuard.
As the Arbitrator stated: ”Contractor admitted that the workmanship was sub-standard and needed to be redone. Virtually every aspect of the project was improperly performed or not performed at all.” In the end I had to go to arbitration, per the terms of the contract, to recover damages. Then I had to start all over again. The water still seeped into the basement. The tar and the accompanying stench had to be dealt with. The hazardous silica dust had to be cleaned up. In short, AquaGuard had left my house in terrible shape and I had to deal with the clean up.
Initially, redoing the work seemed like a sensible approach, if in fact the water seepage problems in my basement would be adequately addressed by proper installation of the system AquaGuard offered. However, much had been learned about the total inadequacy of their so-called water management system. From the clay bowl myth, to the usefulness of their interior drainage system, to the crack repairs they provided; all of it was useless in addressing the real issues associated with my basement.
I began my search for a real waterproofing solution all over again. After more than 30 years living in my home, the water seepage problem had gone from a very rare event to something that happened for all almost every significant rainfall. The amount of water in the basement could be either small puddles or very extensive. The areas of the basement were seepage occurred had spread to practically every side of the house, though there were always a few sites where it started and where the amount of seepage was worse.
Just how useless the AquaGuard interior drainage system was became readily apparent when I had several areas of the trenching opened up. My initial reason for breaking through parts of the cement covering was to see what was hidden in the trench path. Surprisingly even with subsequent heavy rains, no significant water was ever seen in the trench itself. Thus replacing the solid drain tiles with the correct perforated tiles would have not addressed the flow path of the water into my basement. Simply put, the water was coming in through numerous cracks in the walls, not pooling up from the bottom (Clay Bowl Myth) as postulated by the sales representative.
What to do?
The answer was obvious. The advice of the numerous inspectors and other waterproofing professionals was unanimous. For an old house like mine, the multiple cracks in the foundation had to be repaired and the basement walls sealed from the outside. An interior waterproofing solution, such as coating the walls, was a patch only, lasting some few years before hydrostatic pressure could cause it to fail. Of course if all I was interested in was getting rid of the house and let the next owner worry about it, then such a patch job would have been an option. That was not what I wanted. This is my home and I wanted to have the job done right. When the time comes to sell it, I want the next family to have a sound basement, free of water seepage, for as many decades as possible. Only an exterior excavation and properly installed waterproofing job would do.
In the following postings I’ll describe how I finally solved my waterproofing issues. I’ll provide details and photos of the work done by a reputable company. Observing real waterproofing professionals at work was a pleasure. This was more expensive than what I paid AquaGuard to do but the cost / benefit factors were enormously different. After all, the money I paid AquaGuard was totally wasted and provided no benefit, hence the cost/benefit factor was infinitely bad. Paying more to get the work done correctly was simply a smart investment.
I’ll also describe what we discovered when the bogus system AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation provided was ripped out. Not surprisingly, what we found was even worse than what we had seen up to this point.