All Basement Waterproofing Problems Are Not Alike
Integrity Waterproofing is the local Cleveland name you can rely on for expert, ethical and affordable basement waterproofing.
In an industry full of look-alikes, with similar approaches and solutions, Integrity Waterproofing stands apart. Most basement waterproofing work being done today comes from system companies – who may claim to do all types of waterproofing, but will in practice mostly steer you to their preferred method, which is almost always an interior water control system.
Integrity Waterproofing takes a problem-solving approach to leaky basement and foundation issues, instead of a one-size-fits-all system. There are many causes of basement seepage and foundation-related problems. By identifying your specific problem and its root cause, we advise you on the right solution for your property. This not only makes many customers happier with their outcomes, but often saves money. System companies are not really interested in real causes, because the solution they propose is the same for everyone.
Every basement/foundation problem is unique. How could every solution be the same?
Most companies in this industry claim they offer waterproofing, when in reality they sell interior water control. The two are totally different. Water control systems are installed inside a basement, using french drains and pumps to move water back out once it gets through the foundation. Waterproofing is performed exclusively on the outside, correcting the problems that cause seepage before the water gets into your home. Let the water in and pump it out, or keep it out altogether; this is the key difference between water control and real waterproofing.
Start with the premise that water is not the problem – it is a symptom of a problem. Seepage occurs through cracks or openings in the walls, or as a result of non-drainage or poor drainage. Often it is a combination of the two. If your walls show signs of water such as damp spots, mold, or white powder, interior water control systems should not be considered, because they will often make dampness problems worse. We have waterproofed hundreds of homes that had interior systems installed previously. These homes were largely free of seepage, which is what water control companies guarantee – but as their walls kept deteriorating, and began cracking or shifting due to continued water incursion, those homeowners were surprised to find that structural problems and wall dampness were not covered by their guarantees.
The Inside/Outside Approach
One extremely expensive water control system is often referred to as the inside/outside approach. Some companies propose limited outside work: shallow drains, typically halfway down your wall, or exploration trenches. This kind of partial excavation does very little for the homeowner. It allows a salesman to sell the benefits of excavation, without obligating the company to do much digging. The most important foot of any exterior dig is the foot that gets below the level of your basement floor, where ground water collects and is moved away by your drain tiles. Any measure short of this depth accomplishes very little. This is why interior drains and pumps are still necessary with any inside/outside system. Inside work is unnecessary when real waterproofing is accomplished.
Interior water control systems require a sump pump(s) in order to pump water to the outside. System companies usually call them something different like pressure release systems, or “super water extractors”. They may even tell you their system is completely different than a sump – but a pump placed under your basement floor is a sump pump, no matter what someone may call it.
Almost every city and town in Northeast Ohio issues different permits for waterproofing and water control. If someone claims to be offering you basement waterproofing, insist on seeing a waterproofing permit. I believe it is unethical to represent that you are waterproofing a home, when in fact you are installing a water control system.
Why do so many companies focus on water control systems? They’re extremely profitable. Water control systems require little in the way of equipment. Installation requires only minimal labor skills, and material costs are low. Typically, water control system companies enjoy a seventy percent profit margin for their work.
Horizontal cracking, or wall shear, is caused by expanding clay. It is estimated that clay expansion is the single leading cause of home damage in the United States. If your foundation walls appear to be bowing, cracking, or if there is shifting of any kind, clay expansion is likely the culprit. In their efforts to avoid digging, system companies have come up with many devices – wall anchors, carbon fiber straps, meshes, and beams of all kinds – to attempt stabilizing these stressed foundations. But doesn’t it make more sense to eliminate the movement’s source – the clay – than to try counteracting it? It can make a home more difficult to sell when you have anchors, beams, or other devices attached to the insides of your foundation walls.
The basement floor provides lateral support to stabilize the bottom of the foundation. If your walls are starting to bow, showing horizontal cracking, stair cracking in corners, or other signs of movement – especially if cracks open and close seasonally – never allow the floor to be trenched to install an interior system. A cracking wall needs all the support it has. Losing the lateral floor support will hasten wall failure.
By taking a problem solving approach, Integrity Waterproofing offers you the peace of mind that comes from receiving an honest evaluation and repairs specific to and appropriate for your situation. Our success as a company is a testament to the way we do business. Honesty, hard work, and quality service have earned Integrity Waterproofing the best reputation in the business.