In almost anything we do in life, there can be easy ways and there can be good ways. Rarely can we have both – ‘easy’ and ‘good’. Protecting basements, crawlspaces, and foundations of our homes is no exception.
Most homes are constructed with foundations that extend well below ground-level. Whenever it rains, some of the rainwater goes into the ground. We can reduce that, but we can’t stop it. Homes should be constructed so that no matter how saturated the ground gets, it simply doesn’t matter. That’s where waterproofing and foundation drainage come into play.
Unfortunately, far too many houses are constructed the ‘easy way’ when it comes to protecting homes from groundwater. Lindsley Waterproofing’s reluctance to take the easy route (whenever the results would be inferior) has resulted in most of our work being ‘retrofit’ work – after failures of the ‘easy way’ have become obvious. (That’s because most builders are budgeted for meeting minimal code requirements.)
The Easy Way vs. The Right Way
What are the RIGHT WAYS to address water intrusion in a ‘retro-fit’ situation? It’s rarely easy; and it’s never as easy as it would have been to do it right the first time – during original construction.
There have been as many attempts to make our type of work ‘easy’ as there have been attempts to make a better mouse-trap; and the results have been just about as ‘underwhelming’.
As a general rule of thumb, EASY work is ‘contractor-friendly’. It can be ‘homeowner-friendly’ in the short term (if cost is the only consideration); but thorough work – the RIGHT WAY – is ‘homeowner-friendly’ in the long-term.
There are numerous examples of ‘contractor friendly’ methods versus ‘homeowner friendly’ techniques. Here’s one:
The picture above shows a pump installation [EASY WAY] that was unnecessary! This homeowner didn’t have to be at the mercy of an electro-mechanical device [PUMP] and an uninterrupted power supply. But the cost-predictability of this EASY WAY makes it always profitable for the contractor. [EASY WAY = ‘contractor-friendly’] LINDSLEY WATERPROOFING only installs pumps when they’re actually needed!!! (The huge ‘Band-Aid’ stuck on the right-side wall is also part of this system.)
After an extended power outage (during which the battery for the back-up pump was exhausted and some prized possessions were ruined), Lindsley Waterproofing was contacted to find out if there might be a better way to keep this homeowner’s basement & belongings protected. They now have a ‘gravity powered’ downhill pipe running out of her basement [RIGHT WAY]. We joked with them to be sure that they ‘keep their gravity bill paid on time’ so they won’t have to worry about another failure.
Our RIGHT-WAY installation was neither EASY nor convenient but our experienced crew had no trouble contending with a concrete driveway, huge oak roots (which we spared by hand-digging under them) and some other unexpected buried obstacles we encountered while digging the long and deep trench out to ‘daylight’. The homeowner is now very happy because, at last, their best interest had become the highest priority.
Unpredictability and the chance of losing money is why many companies push pumps on people who shouldn’t be dependent upon them. Those companies’ self-serving interest is their primary driver.
Our goal is always to put the best interest of the client first.
Here’s another example of a ‘better-mouse-trap’ EASY ‘solution’ which turned out not to be a solution at all:
The black filter/mesh material on the walls of this crawlspace is sometimes called ‘smart-pipe’. It may be ‘smart’ when it comes to ease & convenience of installation (and obscene profit for the installer) but it’s not so smart when it comes to the well-being of the homeowner who was sold the system – another ‘contractor-friendly’ EASY WAY.
You’ll see in the background on the right the same ‘super sump system’ that you saw in the previous example (further above in the basement). Our worker in that picture is getting started with a REAL French drainage system in this flooded crawlspace to replace the ‘smart-pipe’. The homeowners now have NO WATER under their house. They also have a passive, downhill gravity drain-pipe buried out to a city storm drain right in front of their house. Even if the ‘smart-pipe’ had worked for collecting water, putting these folks at the mercy of a pump to get rid of the water was unconscionable!
In both of the examples above, the homeowners had sessions with slick, well-scripted salespeople who convinced them to sign up for an EASY WAY. And they paid up-front, non-refundable deposits. Because of those non-refundable deposits, they cancelled appointments with Lindsley Waterproofing. Of course, that’s the purpose of the deposits – “hook ‘em before they find out about the RIGHT WAY”. It’s really too bad that they had to pay to get their basement and crawlspace flooding taken care of twice!
Lindsley Waterproofing is a ‘mom & pop’ company that has been in business since 1994. We have always made our clients’ best interest our driving force – way ahead of our short-term profit margin. That philosophy has worked out well in the long-term as we get most of our business from referrals. We’ve continuously maintained an excellent standing with all the areas Better Business Bureaus [BBB] and Chambers of Commerce [CCC].
At Lindsley Waterproofing, we’ve turned down numerous ‘offers’ from national franchising outfits which offer a lot of ‘contractor-friendly’ perks – and, of course, ‘better mouse-traps’. They offer huge advertising budgets that ‘mom & pop’ can’t afford; but we’ll remain content with our steady stream of referrals and minimal advertising. Some of the national outfits even put up smear campaigns on the internet against competition [in the form of un-fact-checked blog-posts] to help their franchisees.
Folks need to learn to take these bloggers’ word with a grain of salt. It may be ‘old-fashioned’; but they need to check companies out through their local BBB or COC – who can’t be ‘bought’. They fact-check complaints before making them available to the public.
At Lindsley Waterproofing the EASY WAY (or the most profitable way) is rarely the RIGHT WAY. We haven’t sold our souls to the devil with any of the national franchising outfits.
The Mom & Pop Guys The Big Boys Don’t Want You Talking To