A Waterproof Inspection Guide
If your home or building has a moisture problem – whether it’s a wet basement or foundation, or a mold or mildew infestation – it’s a good idea to call in a waterproofing specialist to assess the extent of problem and offer solutions.
Waterproof inspections typically involve a visual inspection, location of leaks and other trouble spots, moisture measurements and (perhaps) lab testing. After the inspection, the company should offer a suggested remedy and an estimated repair cost.
Remediation services include:
- Basement/crawl space waterproofing
- Mold remediation
- Installing drainage systems and dry wells
- Structural repairs
- Facade waterproofing/restoration
- Cracked stucco/masonry repair
- Balcony repair and waterproofing
- Parking lot/deck waterproofing
If you’re buying a home or building and suspect water problems, you should strongly consider bringing in a waterproofing specialist. Some buyers choose to make the sale contingent on the results of a waterproof inspection. A home inspection should also turn up water problems, but home inspectors do not offer remediation services.
In most cases, moisture problems first become evident in the basement or crawl space. The signs might be small at first – water seepage where the wall meets the floor, for example – but excess water can eventually cause catastrophic damage to your foundation. This is why it’s important to address the problem as soon as it comes to your attention.
Cost of a Waterproof Inspection
The cost of inspection is very small compared to the total cost of remedying a moisture problem. Some companies offer free inspections in hopes that you’ll hire them to do the work. Others might charge $300 to $500.
The repairs are where things could get costly, but prices vary greatly depending on the nature of the repair. Basic repairs such as sealing a crack start at about $300 to $500, while complex structural repairs could cost tens of thousands.
Methods and Costs of Basement Waterproofing
There are three basic methods of basement waterproofing, each with its pros and cons. The price of waterproofing is heavily dependent on the method, as well as the extent of the problem and your geographic location.
- Waterproofing paint is an inexpensive DIY fix that works in some cases. Spray or roll the waterproof paint onto your basement walls and floors to control minor moisture problems and tiny leaks. This method should cost less than $100, but it’s not a solution for major moisture problems.
- Interior waterproofing is the most popular solution. A waterproofing specialist digs a trench around the interior basement walls, then installs a drain and sump pump to move water away from the structure. This method costs about $30 to $50 per linear foot, plus the cost of a sump pump.
- Exterior waterproofing is very effective but less common because of the high cost and complexity of the project. With this method, the specialist digs a trench around the outside of the foundation and installs a waterproofing membrane. Budget anywhere from about $80 to $150 per linear foot for this approach (potentially up to $200 in high-cost areas).
Choosing a Waterproofing Company
Most waterproofing experts are honest, but don’t blindly assume that the guy or gal who does your inspection has your best interest at heart. Here are some tips for finding a reputable company at a reasonable price.
- Get multiple inspections to compare suggested repairs and prices. You might find that one guy suggests a simple $500 repair, while another insists your basement needs $10,000 worth of work. At the very least, always get a second opinion – particularly if your first estimate comes in suspiciously high.
- Ask about DIY fixes. Sometimes moisture problems are caused by something as simple as clogged gutters or unsloped land. Any reputable company will point out theses quick fixes, rather than try to sell you an expensive repair that you don’t need. If you suspect the company is not being completely honest about the cause of the problem, move on.
- Be wary of any company that uses high-pressure sales tactics. Anyone who tries to scare you into signing a contract on the spot is most likely not trustworthy. The waterproofing expert should allow you time to think through all of your options and decide what’s best.
- Always do background research on any company you’re considering. Ask for references, and call them. Check the company’s rating with consumer organizations like the Better Business Bureau. And find out how long the company has been in business.