Crawl spaces are more common than you may think, with 27 million homes in America built with them. That’s roughly 15 percent of all residential homes in America.
If your home happens to have a crawl space, then you want to do what it takes to ensure its integrity. Crawl space issues can prove devastating, so it’s best to avert them at all costs.
But even with the best kind of preventive maintenance, problems are bound to crop up on occasion. It’s the reason you need to always have a crawl space repair company on call in case these issues happen.
Unfortunately, homeowners never take the time to ensure the crawl space professional they hire is well suited for the job. To help make sure you hire the right expert, here are six mistakes to avoid.
Here are the biggest mistakes crawl space repair companies make and what you should look out for when choosing one.
Too often, homeowners assume that just because someone says they’re a crawl space repair expert, they are a good fit for the job. The truth is there are many fly-by-night contractors in the housing industry who can’t back up their claims.
The best way to weed out the wheat from the chaff is to insist on seeing proof that the contractor is qualified to operate in your area. Do they have a valid license? Ask to see the proof.
Next, determine whether the company is fully insured. Even with the best-laid plans, accidents can happen at the job site. The company’s insurance will kick in to cover any property damage or personal injuries that happen.
If you never bother to verify a company’s credentials, you risk working with an unlicensed and uninsured contractor. The possibility of getting scammed is extremely high. And should an accident occur on your property while the contractor fixes your crawl space, you’ll be liable.
A contractor’s reputation is the best indicator of what kind of experience you’re going to have once you start working with them. If you found the contractor through recommendations from people you trust, then that’s a good sign that the contractor is reliable.
If you found the contractor through an online search, there are ways to learn about the company’s reputation. References and reviews are especially informative. Search for honest and accurate online reviews about the contractor to learn what experience previous clients have had with them. Go to websites such as Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and Google Maps and take a look at the reviews and star ratings there.
Keep in mind that reviews can sometimes be fake. For this reason, you should be wary of positive review after positive review. Fact-check against other reviews and ask the company if they have past customers you can speak to.
A top crawl space repair expert will also be willing to give you a list of references you can talk to. Call some of these references to find out how satisfied they were with the contractor’s services.
When you ignore the importance of reviews and references, you open yourself up to the risk of an unpleasant experience.
Generally, a few negative reviews should be nothing to worry about. However, if a large amount of the reviews are negative, you should stay away from that company.
Additionally, check out these tips on how to spot fake reviews.
Sure, every crawl space repair expert starts somewhere, but it’s not a smart idea to hire someone straight out of training to fix major repair issues.
When selecting your options, call up each company and ask about how long they’ve been serving your area. This way, you can know if they have the needed experience to get the job done well.
Additionally, if they’ve been working in your area for quite a while, then they’ll be more familiar with the specifics of the ground in your crawl space and the home structures that are common in your area. Working with a professional who has years of experience fixing crawl spaces gives you some confidence.
Someone with considerable crawl space repair experience will have encountered foundation problems similar to yours. Thus, they’ll know how to deal with the issue quickly and safely.
Besides, an experienced crawl space repair will most likely have many references they can refer you to. This helps you determine for sure if they’re the best fit for you.
When asking about experience, ask about the experience level of the workers, too.
Just because a company has been around a long time, this isn’t a guarantee that all its employees have. Double-check this to make sure whoever comes to do your crawl space repair has years of experience.
Another mistake many homeowners make is to hire contractors from out of state or from other locations within the state. The problem here is that the contractor may not be familiar with the local code. Violating this code may put you in trouble with the authorities.
A local company has a thorough knowledge of your area, which gives them an upper hand when it comes to fixing issues with your crawl space. They know what crawl spaces issues are commonest in your locality and have the right crawl space repair equipment to fix them.
Moreover, a local company is always easily available to help you in case of an emergency. And if they make a mistake during their work and you run into problems, you can always easily find them in their physical location.
A crawl space repair company should have no problem giving you a written estimate of the repair cost before they commence the job. This way, you have a clear idea of the anticipated costs.
Some people underestimate the role price plays when deciding which crawl space company to hire. While top-quality repair service is seldom cheap, you shouldn’t pay through the nose to have your problem fixed. The best contractors charge reasonable rates.
Get at least three quotes from reputable repair companies in your area before making a decision. Compare the quotes and go with the one that makes the most sense for your crawl space repair budget.
The best contractors have profound confidence in the services they offer, and they prove it by offering impressive guarantees. Once they’ve provided service, they give a solid promise to fix any issues that arise as a result of potential errors on their side.
If the contractor you’re talking to is willing to do this, it’s a great sign that you’ll be happy with their work.
You’ll want to make sure that you keep all of this in mind about the crawl space company that you plan on working with.
The quality of products used varies widely. For the sake of brevity, you should understand the differences between different products to make the best decision on system design and the best crawl space company for your home.
The main products involved in crawl space encapsulation are the:
The main products involved in a crawl space drainage system are:
The main products involved in foundation repair are:
Prices for the installation of crawl space repair systems vary dramatically. Generally speaking, the two main factors that influence price are the foundation repair company you choose and the size footprint of the home. Bigger homes require more work, more material, and bigger dehumidification units so they cost more. And just like with any other project, one contractor can cost MUCH more than another so it is wise to get multiple estimates.
An 800 SF crawl space that requires an additional 200 SF of materials for the walls and piers with a brand new beautiful Santa Fe dehumidifier and condensate pump installed starts at $4,200. That price does not take into account any additional conditions that may need to be resolved. Also, this price is not representative of the market price for the Hampton Roads area. BAY Crawl Space & Foundation Repair boast our low prices for the best encapsulations!
When choosing the right repair service for you, you should also get estimates on how long the repair will take. This includes what their availability is like and when they can get started with the repair, as well as how long it will take in total.
If your crawl space repair is time-sensitive because of how it’s impacting your everyday life, then you can take companies off the list that don’t have availability until later or that will take a long time to complete the repair.
When speaking with different companies, ask them how long the repairs will take one of their crews to finish doing.
If there are any companies that come back to you with estimates that are much higher than those given to you by other companies, it might be best to not work with these businesses.
This is because they are making the project seem bigger and more important than it needs to be. This might mean that you end up paying more for a repair that you have to wait more time to have completed.
This is critical. There is a right way to install crawl space encapsulation systems and there is a wrong way. There are many facets to the craftsmanship that contribute to a successful, long-term solution for your crawl space moisture problems. If you get the sense that your contractor learned to encapsulate a crawl space from a YouTube video, you might want to get another opinion. The final results might leave you disappointed.
Every home is different. No one encapsulation system is perfect for every home and every family’s circumstances. There are a few considerations to the system design that you will want to consult with a crawl space expert, in order to make the best decision for you and your family such as: thickness of the liner, size and number of dehumidifiers, method of insulation, placement and orientation of dehumidifier, whether you need a new crawl space access door, etc. Consult with one of our Crawl Space Experts!
Any reputable crawl space repair service should have insurance. It protects both you and them. For example, let’s say that while they’re repairing your crawl space, they accidentally hit a pipe and cause an extensive amount of flooding in your home.
If they don’t have personal liability or other types of insurance, then they could end up losing a large amount of money.
At the same time, if one of their employees is injured while working at your home, the insurance would cover anything you would have to pay.
In addition to protecting both parties, having insurance is a sign that the company is professional.
Speaking of being professional, professional communication is also something to look for when considering crawl space repair services. They should answer the phone right away and answer all the questions you ask them thoroughly.
The same goes for the thoroughness and speed with which they reply to emails.
Professional communication is a sign that the company takes your needs seriously. This will matter even more down the line when they’re in your crawl space doing a repair.
Another sign of professionalism is whether the crawl space repair service company has a professional website. Can you find all the information you need there? Do they answer many of your questions on an FAQ page?
Do they go into detail about the different services they offer? Do they provide contact information so you can easily get in touch with them? They might even have representatives online to speak with you.
If they have a website that isn’t well-designed, they may not be the best company to go with.
For one thing, they haven’t put in the effort to impress their customers with the content. It’s also not very professional, which could mean that they won’t be very professional, either, when doing repairs at your home.
An online presence is a good sign too. If the company is communicative on social media profiles, then chances are they’ll be just as engaged with working with you as their client.
Your crawl space is a major part of your home, so you want its maintenance and repairs handled by the right crawl space repair company. To find the right company, avoid the mistakes we’ve pointed out in this guide.
Are you interested in reliable crawl space repair services in your area? Contact us today and learn how we can help.
Serving Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Hampton, Newport News, Yorktown, Poquoson, Smithfield, and Williamsburg in Virginia as well as Camden County, South Mills, Elizabeth City, Moyock, Currituck, and Knotts Island in North Carolina.
Blake has specialized in crawl space & foundation repairs for over 10 years (since 2012). His prior engineering and business degrees from James Madison University in VA prepared him for a mastery of problem solving with crawl space & foundation repair issues. He is one of America’s top experts on crawl space encapsulation. As Founder of both ‘BAY Crawl Space & Foundation Repair’ as well as ‘GridLock Foundations’ he is a leading industry expert on crawl space foundation repairs.