An Ounce of Prevention Beats a Flood of Cure

applying membraneHome Builders need to  consider preventive waterproofing as part of new construction.

By Matt Stock

When assessing the value of waterproofing for new construction, some contractors see lots of costs, but no real benefits. However, investing in this type of preventive maintenance adds value to the potential home buyer and bolsters the reputation of the builder who demonstrates this level of concern for his customers.

Value at the Foundation

Yes, waterproofing will add costs to your project, but not as much as you may think. Most jobs are typically in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. Contractors who pride themselves on quality work and materials – those who take care to install a quality roof, for example – should view waterproofing in the same way.

For more educated buyers (especially those who have endured floods before) and for builders of premier homes, waterproofing is a given. While some builders and buyers fixate on light fixtures and countertops, those in the know ensure the home’s very foundation is protected.

Prevention is Key

Builders and buyers may opt to wait until the home is complete and consider waterproofing later. Why fix it if it ain’t broke? Because it’s easier and far more cost-efficient to add this feature while the building is under construction than after it is finished.

Many Symptoms, Same Cause

It’s not just general contractors who are wise to advise customers to waterproof. Every day, tuck pointers see ongoing mortar cracks caused by settling foundations. Window contractors know that foundation problems lead to windows that never quite open or seal properly. Basement remodelers realize it’s a mistake to invest in a new project when there are signs of imminent seepage.

Contractor Considerations

  1. Don’t settle for damp-proofing. For a bit more, adding a true foundation waterproofing membrane will better protect the homeowner from seepage down the road.
  2. It’s much easier to install drain tiles before, rather than after, the building is constructed.
  3. Positioning downspouts away from the building or connected to a storm sewer is an easy way to prevent leaks.
  4. Pour responsibly. Concrete doesn’t cure properly in cold temperatures or when the ground is frozen.
  5. Consider installing a high-quality sump pump and backup.

Think of waterproofing prevention as an investment in your own marketing. Helping customers prevent costly damage enhances your reputation, credibility, word-of-mouth, and ultimately your future business.

Matt Stock is president of U.S. Waterproofing.

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