Auburn Gresham woman blown out of the water by cost of waterproofing fix

CHICAGO (WLS) -- If you have water coming in your basement, you might think one job will fix it. But an Auburn Gresham woman spent $10,000 and said she's still dealing with a leaky mess.

After a flood in 2016, Ollie Williams hired Perma-Seal to waterproof her basement.

"The water was here, all the way alongside the baseline, all the way out here in the middle of the floor," she said. "They dug up, they cut the wall from here to the floor and they dug from here to here all the way around the basement."

She said she paid $10,000.

Roy Spencer, the president of Perma-Seal, explained the company's approach to Williams' service.

"Based on the pattern of seepage and where she got it, we felt like the best step would be to put in a waterproofing system and interior drain tile system. Subsequent to that there was a really hard storm and she continued to get water," he said. "We went ahead and 'camera-ed' her sewer line so at that point, low and behold, her sewer line collapsed. So at that point we gave her an estimate for the sewer line repair."

The second estimate, for the sewer repair, amounted to $4,915.

"I'm still having floods here and I feel Perma-Seal should have told me from the beginning. They should have told me I needed that as opposed to putting drain pipes and paying $10,000," Williams said.

Spencer said the waterproofing job was necessary, but was there a way to detect the sewer problem so customers don't get surprise additional estimates?

"Sometimes if you suspect a sewer problem you can run a camera down the line and it costs $250 or so to run the camera down the line," Spencer said.

However, Perma-Seal doesn't usually do this unless a customer asks because the sewer is rarely the culprit.

"There is some element of risk," Spencer said. "As experienced as we are - we have done this for 39 years and 300,000 homes, nobody is more experienced as we are diagnosing problems - but there is no 100 percent certainty."

Spencer also pointed to the contract that Williams signed, saying that basements could have additional water and sewer back-up issues.

"The first disclosure is, 'Neither Perma-Seal or any other company can guarantee that you will not get water in your basement.' We simply can't," Spencer said.

Williams said she can't afford the new repairs.

"All the water just sitting right here, we have to use the wet vac to mop the water up," she said.

Perma-Seal also said that there's a chance that even after the sewer repair, Williams may need to spend another $5,000 on an exterior flood control system in case the city's sewer overloads.

Before waterproofing your basement, you should ask about all possibilities of flooding and realize that just one type of job may not solve the problem. You may want to order a sewer line inspection. And, most importantly, read the contract in full.
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