The salesman came out on a Friday night and spent hours providing a
detailed picture of their "total solution." $13,000 for our 1000 foot
ranch. The hook was that if we signed right now to be on a 24-hour "on
call" list, they would knock the price down to $10,000. We were
properly informed regarding the 3-day cooling off period, but there
were hints that if we went with the on call offer, they might be
ordering the materials right away and we'd be responsible. In fact,
the salesman told us, they might start work Monday morning. (The
cooling off period ended Tuesday at midnight.)
We signed. Then came to our senses. Faxed a letter and the
cancellation notice, and stopped payment on our deposit check.
The salesman returned Wednesday night with the manager -- a
good-cop-bad-cop routine. They spent over an hour trying to reverse
our decision -- with a lower price and a smaller job. Very hard sell.
Among other things, the manager -- with that "I'm sorry to have to
tell you this" tone of voice -- said they may have to go ahead and
deliver the materials anyway. When we mentioned that we had talked to
our attorney, the manager pointed out "We have attorneys, too," but he
did not actually threaten to take us to court.
Finally, my husband said "Look. I made a stupid mistake on Friday, and
I'm not going to do it again." They finally left, but not without
suggesting that we hadn't heard the end of it.
Two days later we received our deposit check in the mail. Whew!
I'm sure they do great work (if you can afford it), and they DID
return our check, but it was an ordeal. We're going with a local
What problem(s) are you having? It may be that there is a simple,
relatively inexpensive solution...
Before you spend big bucks with a waterproofer, have you gone through the
basic steps of sloping the ground away from your house for the first 4-6'
from the foundation, fixing leaky gutters (and orienting downspouts away
from the house), etc?
This and Doug Kanter's post had great advice (thanks, Dough - I am removing some
Azaleas I don't like for their growing habit and tendency to be infiltrated from
a spot where I was going with just grass - now I realize they're in a spot just
like you describe, and I'll need to put something else there).
But I'm a homeowner who *did* the re-grading work and (later on - clearly wasn't
the main issue) the gutter work, but my problem did need a basement
waterproofing system to solve.
If Doug and Kyle's suggestions don't work, the two best options are:
1. Get footer drains in if you haven't them already. It's always better to
redirect the water from outside the foundation. Water can damage the foundation
while seeping in. A neighbor is getting his addition in, and it's real
interesting to see what the bottom few foundation blocks in the existing
foundation look like. He's talking advantage of all the work to do that for his
house. A lot of dirt and disruption around the house and bye-bye to a lot of
where most people have landscaping, though.
2. If you can't do that (I couldn't due to a large porch and addition on two
sides of the house), I would recommend B-Dry for their system. I was very
pleased with them. The only thing I could call pressure sales from them was
that they pointed out that a *lot* of people were signing up for work soon, as
we had waist-high snowpack when I brought them in for the estimate. (Well,
duh.) I was very happy with their system and work and professionalism and
If you get a basement drainage system, if you possibly can, have it drain by
gravity. Due to my plot and house layout I need a sump pump, and gee dontcha
know when it's raining and storming it right when the power will go out :-/
You did good. Everything they did the first time was a tip off of a
real flim flam. Too bad more people don't do as you did.
I never sign anything the first day. I just tell them it is my policy
(it is) and that if they can't wait a couple of days for me to think it
over, then I don't trust them. If they have a good product and they are on
the up and up, they will not mind a few days delay. If they don't like it
I simply say they have proven to me, they can't be trusted and ask them to
Never trust anyone who has to have you sign right now or loose
something. They will be telling your neighbor the exact same thing the next
I remember one day I had a water softener salesman in. I really was
considering their services, but I wanted to know a couple of technical
answers to questions before I decided. When he got to the part of his sales
pitch where my question fit in, I stopped him. He could not answer the
question by indicated I would understand when he was done. Sure thing, then
he started over from the beginning again. We went though this several times
(I had time to kill that day) and each time I interrupted him with a
different question at a different time. Each time he had to start over from
the beginning again. The end result is he did not know the answer to my
question and did not have any idea how a watersoftner worked. When he tried
to answer a question he answered it wrong.
It was fun.
There are a number of great ideas for taking up telemarketers time on
the web. When I am not busy, I really enjoy taking up their time. Now with
the no call list, I don't get many any more.
I do it quicker than that. Anyone who does that raises a huge red flag and he
or she goes into my 'Category B' - the 'not to do business with' category. (I
can't seem to find moderately-priced furniture stores that don't do something
like this, though....)
Have you taken the time investigate WHY your basement is wet? And what do
you mean by "wet"? Is it just constant dampness, or actual standing water?
If the latter, does it happen every time it rains, or only during the spring
My basement had standing water at certain times. The total cost to fix it
was roughly as follows:
$350 for 2 visits by a highly regarded home inspector. I was a new homeowner
and he helped me learn to observe what was going on, and to understand how
the drainage system worked in my home and my neighborhood. Priceless.
$100: The cost of a few flats of pachysandra, which I planted in shady
corners where nothing else would grow. My roof had a couple of odd spots
where no gutter in the world could prevent runoff during heavy rains. These
spots happened to be in the shady corners, so the problem was compounded by
the fact that it was hard to grow anything which would maintain a root
system. The pachysandra helped slow and disperse the flow of water into the
ground, which (and some people won't believe this) stopped the water problem
in the parts of the basement closest to the plantings.
$20 (a guess - it's been a long time): The cost of these cement fan-shaped
things which you place under your downspouts where they meet the ground, to
carry the water a foot or two away from the foundation. Home centers sell
them in the same departments as the brick and paving stones. There are
plastic ones, too, if you like tacky things in your flower beds.
Various costs: Bags of shredded bark mulch (not chunks), which, like some
plants, will slow the flow of water and allow it to disperse over a wider
area. It's good for your flower beds, so you should use it even if you don't
have a water problem.
Put a large house plant in your bathtub and water it. Wait an hour for the
soil to absorb as much water as it can. Now, water it 5 more times and watch
what happens. The water drains out the bottom (assuming the pot has a
drainage hole, as it should). A given amount of soil can only hold so much
water. After it reaches that point, the water passes right through (in a
potted plant or in some outdoor situations). Or you end up with a temporary
pond, as you'll notice in some farmers' fields, or poorly drained lawns.
Observe how your property behaves during wet weather and you'll figure out
how to deal with it.
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