I like to think Nolan and I are pretty handy and can fix/build things instead of hiring a contractor. (See our previous house’s hallway board and batten, scraping a popcorn ceiling and switching out outlets and switches for evidence.) Buuuut, when our crawlspace had water in it after Ohio’s worst flood since 1997, we called the pros to get multiple bids on waterproofing the space.

I’d like to note that there was no damage in our basement, thankfully. Not only was there record rain, but our new patio (more coming soon!) was under construction. This gave the water an even easier path to the foundation. The water didn’t penetrate the basement walls, so the finished area and our storage area stayed dry. I’d like to think part of that was because we spent several hours pumping water out of the space and down the drain. (Of all the Christmas presents we received last year, who would have thought the headlamps from my mom would be the most useful!?)

1. Determine what the right fix is

The crawlspace is under the addition, including our kitchen, living room and bedroom. It’s a 900 sq ft space with about 3 feet of headroom.  It was covered with a vapor barrier and then topped with at least 6 inches of pea gravel.

Two of the contractors recommended doing waterproofing (drain tile and sump pump) inside the crawlspace. Nolan even prodded one to see if he’d write a quote for inside and out, but he really didn’t think that was necessary. The third contractor was very confident we needed it both inside and out, plus a proprietary airflow/purity system.


2. Compare pricing

As you can guess the two “inside only” contractors’ pricing was much less than the “whole enchilada” contractor. The “whole enchilada” then played pricing games with us, but was still triple the price. They even called me a week after with the “we have extra inventory, so we might be able to get the price down, but only if you sign right now” game.

3. Compare capabilities/areas of expertise

The picture above shows just how much water was sitting around our neighborhood.  Reason number three to get multiple bids is to compare each company’s area of expertise and capabilities. There are tons of fill-in-the-blank contractors out there, but it’s important to hire the right one for the job.

We ultimately hired one of the “inside only” contractors because they specialize in crawlspaces. The work is scheduled to be done mid-April! We do have more rain in the forecast. 🙁 But, the part of the patio against the house is done and the forecasted rain isn’t record-breaking like it was in February.

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