Tri-State Concrete economized by purchasing a used 3/4-ton pickup truck to haul its waterproofing unit. "We put a flatbed on it to make it more accessible to gas and service the machine," Wernimont explains.
Learning to waterproof
These users of spray-on waterproofing systems say they were trained by representatives of the manufacturers. The one-day training provided by Mar-Flex involved demonstrations of how to use the system and how to spray the waterproofing product onto walls properly. Wernimont says in addition to this initial training, Mar-Flex visited his company a few months later to observe their technique and make sure they were using the right application rate. As they have worked with the product longer, they are becoming more expert in how much to heat it based on the outside temperature.
"Epro sent out a field rep who spent a few days with us," says Richert. "He checked us out on the equipment and did a few jobs with us to make sure everything was going OK." However, as the company does more jobs, he says they always encounter some little unique unexpected thing and find a way to work through it.
Kazemi's workers started applying ProtectoWrap membranes after reading the product literature and following the instructions. He has since taken several seminars put on by the company. Although learning the basics took only a few days, he says it was three to five months before he felt they had become high quality waterproofers. He stresses the importance of learning new techniques and observing how the structure is put together so the junctions will be waterproofed correctly.
Selling the service
The benefits of waterproofing are the same regardless of the type of product used. They include protecting the foundation or basement walls from vapor or moisture transmission and preventing efflorescence in the concrete. "They can expect a dryer basement," Wernimont says. "It will prohibit mold. It will stop any water from coming in through cracks. Many people use their basements as lower level living, so it's a simple sell to protect their investment in the finished basement."
Richert says customers in his area needed education on the benefits of waterproofing to understand it is more valuable than the dampproofing typically offered there. Now some contractors call them just for waterproofing when someone else is doing the concrete work, although he hopes this will help them get that work in the future. The company uses a comprehensive marketing program for waterproofing, including a phone book listing, home show participation and sending a trifold mailer to builders when they first started offering the service. "But the most visible is on the side of our waterproofing truck," he points out. "We've got 'Waterproofing' in big letters and a big water wave trying to break over the top and being repelled back. We've gotten quite a few calls from people saying they've seen the truck."
By contrast, Excel Concrete does no marketing, because waterproofing is required by the building code so it sells itself. Kazemi takes a middle road, with ads in the contractors' blue book and heavy reliance on referrals from satisfied customers.
Part of what sells waterproofing is the warranty. For below-grade jobs, Kazemi offers a three-year warranty. Approved ProtectoWrap applicators who have their work inspected and approved by the manufacturer give a 10-year manufacturer's warranty. Stephens & Smith offers five-, 10- or 20-year written manufacturer's warranties depending on the additives and layers of protection chosen by the customer. Mar-Flex provides a 10-year warranty which Excel Concrete stretches to 25 years.
Preventing damage to the waterproofing
Things that happen on the jobsite after the waterproofing is finished can damage it. "The waterproofing can be damaged in the backfill process or the wall can be cracked then and damage the waterproofing," Richert notes. "Or they don't grade the drainage away correctly and the water ponds and eventually finds a way in. Correct landscaping, grading and downspouts are needed. Landscapers can create pockets so areas don't drain or may put a sprinkler head too close to the foundation." To avoid these problems, waterproofers need to talk to the landscapers, excavators and builders about how they should do their work to prevent problems that could affect the waterproofing. Subs who cut holes in the wall for utility lines may damage membrane waterproofing.