New Construction Buyer Tip: Waterproof Like You're Building Noah's Ark
In May 2013 I wrote a post about the Ashley Oaks new construction project going on in my market area. I try to keep a lookout for unique building projects that might appeal to the special buyer that wants something out of the ordinary.
This good weather has allowed the building to move along at a good pace, all except for the abundance of rain we've had. Will it ever stop...at least until more builder progress can be made? Its raining as I write this post.
It just so happened that I took a ride by the construction site to check on the progress and update my blog. Wouldn't you know it...one of the new homes being built was having the foundation 'damp-proofed'.
I wonder how many remember the Biblical account of Noah and the specific instructions given him to build the Ark. Those instructions had to be followed 'to the letter' because it would need to sustain Noah's family for some 40 days and nights. The account says that 'Noah did just so'. It meant their very lives. More Rain...anyone?
Leaky Foundation...What's a Homeowner To Do?
Now I don't know much about this process called 'damp-proofing' and I don't recall that anyone's life has been threatened by a leaky foundation, but from what I observed, it looks like spray painting some asphalt looking material to the foundation from the inside to help prevent water from seeping through the foundation. Now from my own experience, I know that what was used on my home only offered minimum waterproof protection. We have had 4 foundation leaks in just over 10 years. Where was Noah when I needed him?
My curiosity pushed me to make a phone call to get more information. What I learned is there are other choices that can be made to Waterproof Your Home Like You're Building Noah's Ark. Here are some I found:
- Basic damp-proofing: The Builders Special. Its great unless you live in extreme cold weather climate where foundation cracking happens frequently.
- Fiberglass coating: This application sits on top of the basic and adds another level of protection that flexes with the foundation. The cost to upgrade to this level of protection can add 3.5 times the cost to the builder.
- Polymer Coating: This is a rubberized coating that gives even more protection and might be considered the absolute best level of protection choice over the others. I wish I had this choice available to me when I built my townhome. This level of protection will add an additional 2.5 times the cost to the builder as well.
Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later
I don't know what the local building codes call for regarding waterproofing a foundation, but if you are considering or are in the process of building a new home and have not given much thought to waterproofing your foundation, I would highly recommend that you speak with your builder as soon as possible and get pricing on what it would cost to upgrade to the highest level of protection you can afford before the foundation is poured. It is very difficult and costly to correct a foundation crack or leak after the home is built. I have gotten quotes of over $500 for what turned out to be a minor leak the size of a quarter, but the damage from the water is incredible. If your lower level is finished, you have to ask yourself: is it worth to go through all the headache, frustration, expense and inconvenience to replace items that might be irreplaceable?
I suppose if today's modern builders would take a lesson from Noah, all structures would be totally waterproof. Until that happens it is up to the buyer to do what they can to protect themselves from leaky foundations.
Solutions For the D-I-Y's
I want to mention that there are options to correct leaky foundation after the fact. There are companies that offer waterproofing products for D-I-Y's. If you are patient, you enjoy working with your hands, need to save money and feel that you can do as good a job, this option may be right for you. Now I know what you're thinking; 'No way will I take on a project like this myself.' But you want to Waterproof Your Home Like You're Building Noah's Ark, you might be surprised to learn that it can be fun. We had a foundation leak and after removing a portion of the drywall we found the leak coming from where a reinforcement rod had rusted. After calling the company listed on the link above, we bought a 'sample' of the product and followed the instructions. The process took all of about 2 hours and is still holding today.
And if you have an un-finished foundation and you are considering finishing it, and you want to Waterproof Your Home Like You're Building Noah's Ark, this might be an option for you. The website is very helpful and has lots of information and even a calculator to guesstimate how much product you need to complete the project. This is good information even if you have someone else do the job for you.
You can count on Rebecca Howard to look out for you. I am the Community Expert.