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The best way is through consumer organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and the Division of Consumer Affairs. Both organizations will have a 3-year complaint record for the company. While references can be helpful, keep in mind that most companies only provide testimonials from satisfied customers.
Will a French drain resolve my water problem?
“French drain” is a term that’s used very loosely in our industry. The gap between the wall and the floor is sometimes called a French drain (also called a “floating floor”); additionally, this name is also given to perforated piping under the floor or outside of the home.
The purpose of a French drain or floating floor is to route water to a sump pump, however, using this method can sometimes upset the structural integrity of your home’s foundation. When the wall does not come in contact with the floor, the walls can “slide in.” Also, if the French drain gap is not properly pitched, it can cause water to collect and stagnate, which creates breeding grounds for mold. Any building materials near the standing water will absorb moisture as it evaporates, spreading more opportunity for mold growth.
While placing perforated piping underneath the floor is an effective method for removing water under the floor, it does nothing to address moisture problems permeating in the walls.
Perforated piping placed the outside of the home will only work if it is placed at the base of the footing. Any water that approaches the home will be rerouted. The caveat is that the walls must be professionally waterproofed with sealants to prevent water damage and rot.
Can I do the work myself?
The only problem that a non-professional can permanently fix is surface water (grading, gutters, downspouts, etc.). To determine if your problem is being caused by surface water or subsurface water, you must inspect the basement from the inside.
If surface water is the only problem, the majority of the dampness, efflorescence (a white-powdery substance that builds on concrete walls) and staining will be closer to the top of the wall. However, if water symptoms are located closer to the bottom of the wall (where the wall and floor meet), you likely have a subsurface water problem. Healthy Way highly recommends that you hire a professional waterproofing contractor to solve subsurface water problems.
Why isn’t there a quick fix for my subsurface water problem?
There are no permanent quick fixes for subsurface water problems. Using waterproofing paints and submersible pumps will only take care of the symptoms for a time, but may also make your problems worse. Waterproofing paint seals the moisture into the wall, causing cracks down the road from moisture building up from the outside (the source). Sealing with waterproofing paint also prevents concrete from breathing, slowing down the evaporation process and creating more opportunity for mold and odors to present. This is akin to sealing a leaky roof just from the inside of your home.
Aren’t all warranties and guarantees the same?
No. Most warranties and guarantees in the mold remediation industry only cover the wall cove area where the wall and floor meet and does include a guarantee that the walls and foundation will stay dry.
Also beware of companies who offer lifetime guarantees or warrantees. Unfortunately these terms are extremely limited and very vague, making it easy for a company to refuse to fix the problem if it comes back. All warranties should state specific terms for time and be clear. They should offer protection of the foundation, walls, cove and entire basement floor from moisture penetration.
I have a water problem but don’t see mold. Should I still get a mold inspection?
Healthy Way believes it’s always a good idea to get at least an inspection, especially if you smell a musty or moldy odor. It doesn’t take long for mold to populate and can sometimes be missed by an untrained eye. An initial inspection by an honest and reputable mold remediation company can give you a better idea about whether your water problem is major, minor, or non-existent. If their findings seem extreme, get a second or third opinion. Most companies offer a free initial inspection.
What is the best way to resolve a mold problem?
To resolve a mold problem, the first step should involve fixing the moisture problem so the problem doesn’t return. After fixing the moisture problem:
Bleach is mostly water. The active molecules which kill surface mold may not penetrate deep enough to kill the entire underlying mold problem, and may even make it worse because of the bleach water content. Using bleach on a subsurface mold problem almost guarantees the problem will return.
Will I save some money by cleaning out my basement beforehand?
Maybe, unless the items you are moving/cleaning are contaminated with mold. Carrying mold-contaminated items through your house will spread the problem and cost you more in the long run. It’s best to ask a professional first before moving your items.