Mold is growing where the water guard was installed. An investigation revealed the product was modified by the installer. The owner has denied fault.
We had an unfinished basement with two visible foundation cracks. We planned to finish the basement to increase our living space as our newborn son had arrived.
October 7, 2013. Sales rep ***** ******* sold us a Clarke Basement interior perimeter waterproof system at a cost of $12906.86.
At that time we gave a deposit cheque of $3872.06 for the work to begin in December. The system was to stop water from the existing cracks and any water from future cracks from entering our basement. The system included underground water guard, with thermal guard and basement to beautiful panels on the entire interior perimeter.
December 5 2013. The Clarke dry basement system was installed by a forman **** and a crew in my unfinished basement along the entire interior perimeter of my basements walls. Everything seemed to go as planned and a cheque of $9034.80 was given to the company to pay off the balance on the contract. I was advised a receipt and warranty would be mailed out within a few weeks. The warranty did arrive.
January - June 2014 - My basement was finished.
July 28, 2014 - I noticed spots which turned out to be mold growing along the baseboards of the EAST interior perimeter walls atop the Clarke basement water guard system. I immediately called the company to advise them. They agreed to send out a technician to investigate.
August 1st,8th,13th,15th, 2014 - Over four separate visits a clarke technician **** analysed the mold problem and tested the water guard system. He determined it was necessary to dig up and replace the previously installed water guard. Upon removing the water guard it was revealed that the product had been altered by the initial Clarke installer. The water guard was cut in half to fit above the footing and installed in a way that affected the products ability to drain the way it was designed to.
August 6, 2014. I spoke to ********* to set up an appointment for ***** Due to the problem I read my warranty and noticed the warranty I received was for 10years when I was told a full perimeter system received a 25 year warranty.
I requested ********* to review my warranty and advise me what it should be.
August 26 - September 2014. After phone calls and emails I was escalated to a manager ***** ***** where I requested follow up and a return of my deposit. I was offered a dehumidifier.
September 8, 2014. I discovered mold beginning to grow in the same fashion on the baseboards and trim of the NORTH wall so I called and sent another email to *****.
September 9, 2014. I went to the office to meet with anyone and get the situation resolved. I was able to sit down with another manager and *****.
Sept 17, 2014. The owner of the company *** ****** came to my home with two technicians. He personally investigated the mold and advised he was unsure what caused the mold to grow along the baseboards, but he was certain it was not due to his companies work. He proposed they don't dig up the floor of the NORTH wall but instead just put back new baseboards and monitor the air humidity until spring.
I did not find this acceptable for many reasons. *** ****** was dismissive about my concerns.
I asked about my deposit being refunded. He said no funds would be returned. I asked him to leave.
Innitially I was willing to work with ****** Basement Systems. After meeting with the owner I don't trust this company. I don't trust the future work they would perform, or the warranty coverage they would potentially provide. I want to void the contract and a full refund of $12906.86.
Re: Case # XXXXXXX: **** *******
To address the concerns of ****:
I believe that it is important to note that the warranty provided to **** has nothing to do with mold growth in any way. The warranty is for ground water seepage only. If there is evidence that water from the ground is gaining access to the basement we will honor the warranty without question. This is important as at no time was the system proven to fail. The area that **** repaired had indeed been modified to accommodate the existing construction, but even after **** replaced the section ****'s problem continued.
There are some very important issues to note with the building materials: in the area where the mold is suspected the drywall was not wet nor was it damp, it was dry. The paint on the wall was not blemished to suggest that the water was migrating beyond our product, through the drywall and into the living area. Also and most important is the material that the baseboard is made of, MDF (medium density fiberboard) is a very popular product that is made from recycled paper products, but it reacts excessively when exposed to moisture. It will expand to the point where it will crack and cause itself to pull away from the walls. Except for the blemishes that **** is pointing out there is no evidence of this. So I am very confident that the issue with ****'s basement is not from my product, service or installation.
During the visit with **** I was prepared to remove the entire system if necessary. I take a great deal of pride in what we do and am not interested in having an unhappy customer nor knowing that there may be a flaw in what we have installed for him. I know that **** "flood tested" the drainage system for over 40 minutes when he came to replace the section. This is where we pour massive quantities of water into our drainage system as we want to encourage the system to fail, it didn't. When I examined the system looking for a defect or a leak I could not find one. There was nothing to repair or replace. So in light of that, the problem is possibly an environmental issue like elevated humidity or poor circulation in the basement.
When **** came to the office and talked to ***** *****, the Vice President of Clarke Basement Systems, he was offered a ******* dehumidifying unit that retails for over $2000 but he refused it. This unit will dry and condition the air in the entire home.
Where did the problem come from? A plant watered to close to the wall? Was there a blemish on the baseboard that is showing through thin paint? Is there poor air circulation in the basement causing humidity to condense behind furniture? As you can see these are questions that can't be answered.
Did this warrant a tear out of what I feel is a good working system? No
I sat down with **** and my two crew workers so they could also listen, and learn.
We went over the above possibilities and ****'s answer was "So you are not taking responsibility for this then?" To which I responded, "I do not believe it is a waterproofing system failure. At this point I do not believe this is our issue from the work we have done."
But being responsible, I want to help resolve this and make **** as satisfied as possible. I recommended he put back the baseboard and I would supply him with a hygrometer to measure relative humidity in the basement over the next 4 to 6 months and asked if it could be charted on a piece of paper daily with the current temperature. He felt this was a lot to ask of him and that he didn't have the time to do it, nor put the baseboard back on. I stepped it up and said we had nothing else on the schedule for the day and that my two guys would go out, buy the baseboard material and put it up for him. I also said we would need to borrow his saw to which he agreed. When I got up to leave the table he said "wait I'm not done yet" and stated that he wanted his original deposit returned to him. I asked him for what reason and he said in good faith. I said this would not be happening, that we are trying to work with him to resolve this issue.
I believe we really tried to help **** resolve this issue. Show me a defect in my product and workmanship and I'll make every effort to fix it and make it right. But in this case, I can't find a defect and neither can ****. The blemishes truly could have come from any one of a number of things but not ground water seepage.
President & CEO
(The consumer indicated he/she DID N*T accept the response from the business.)
*** is correct. The Clarke Basements warranty is carefully worded excluding liability to mold. The improper installation of the water guard on the EAST wall was only discovered because mold began growing in the areas where the company did work. After investigating, **** advised me the mold on the baseboards was growing from the ground up.
When *** says there was no evidence of mold growing anywhere on the drywall or paint he is correct. The mold did not reach the drywall because the baseboards were removed before the mold had time to spread from the baseboards up the wall. **** investigated and his solution to stop the mold was to replace the water guard. For the water guard to be repaired **** needed to break ground. By digging up the existing water guard **** discovered the product had been modified and compromised. The water guard in that section was cut in half lengthwise and sealed by concrete compromising the products ability to drain. **** replaced the cut product with a properly measured product that fit without needing to be altered. Why wasn't that done the first time?
Within a couple of weeks of the original problem, a similar mold problem is occurring on the NORTH wall. We removed those baseboards and put them in the garage. We contacted the company again because we wanted the problem fixed. We don't enjoy having contractors in and out of our home, jack hammering and digging to repair the same job over and over again. When *** came that day we were prepared to let them tear up the water guard again and have the job completed correctly.
*** contradicted his own trusted employee and took the stance that there is no proof that ****** Basement did anything wrong with the installation. His solution is to do nothing to address the mold beginning to grow on the NORTH wall. *** gave many scenarios that could be the cause of the mold. *** implied that my toddler could have spilled juice or my dog could have gotten the area wet or the baseboards had gotten wet before they were installed. In fact he went so far as to blame me for the mold because I used MDF baseboards in a basement. *** could not explain why mold was only growing on the baseboards above where his company did work while none of the baseboards on the interior walls show any signs of moisture or mold.
**** solution was to cover up the area with new MDF baseboards (which he already stated was a mistake to have in the basement) and monitor the basement humidity until the spring. I agreed to take daily humidity readings. What made the situation worse was when I pointed out the mold would still be there and I can't have my toddler in the basement playing while I know mold spores are growing over the next 6 months. *** said " ...its the same air circulating through the house anyway".
I guess *** ****** sees nothing wrong with allowing a 14 month old to be exposed to mold for the next 6 months.
Last year Clarke Basements salesman ***** ******* requested we pay a 30% good faith deposit before the project could begin. In October 2013 we gladly paid $3872.06 two months in advance of the work beginning December 2013. Here we are a year later and we still have problems with the system they installed. When *** was here I asked for a return of our good faith deposit. *** said he's not giving us anything. That was when I asked him to leave and I advised I would contact the BBB and get other companies perspective and possible solutions.
*** ****** stated "... the product was modified to accommodate the existing construction." Maybe splitting a patented product in half is normal business practice. We don't know. When the product doesn't allow water to drain and is discovered by his employee isn't that proof something was wrong with the installation? Clarke Basements did the entire installation, they investigated the East wall, their solution was to dig up and replace the split water guard. Ironically a different style of water guard was used to replace the original split water guard. The new style fit properly and did not need to be modified.These are facts. Why wasn't the second style used the first time?
Again this was the solution from his company on the EAST wall.
Of course *** can't find a defect and neither can we because the product is underground!!!
This was ***'s first and only visit to our home. He was not here during any part of the installation or investigation. ****, the original installer has never been back and when questioned about ****'s installation notes *** advised there are none. At this point we don't believe *** ****** can be trusted. We have to hire someone else to fix his company's work. That's why we want all of our money back.
**** & ********* *.
Final Business Response
I truly believe that Clarke Basement Systems did what we were hired to do and the issue of mould is not a result of our workmanship. The system has since been thoroughly tested and was proven not to leak. As mentioned previously, we are here to help but it will not include a full refund as we have made what we feel are logical ideas to try and find out what caused this issue. If for any reason we believe there is a failure of the system we will be pleased to fix it.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Something is not right or there would not be mould. If the products are proven and work then I do not believe the products in our basement were installed correctly.