Client Case Studies

What it’s Like to Work With Us

You want to trust the company you hire. The best way to find out if your drainage or landscape contractor lives up to their promises is to talk to their past customers. With this in mind we went out and talked to a few of them to get their take on what it’s like to work with us.

“These guys are straight-shooters who genuinely care about the result.”

Ross Dunn, Cedar Hill Road, Saanich, BC

An exercise in faith
Buying a 1940 bungalow in Victoria is an exercise of faith. What you see on the surface is rarely the complete story. So when Ross Dunn and his wife decided to take the plunge on their Cedar Hill Road home, they already knew their drain tile would need to be replaced. What they didn’t know was how fast they’d have to do it.

“This winter our basement flooded with more water than we expected,” said Ross. “The water level went up and down with the rain.”

The house was expected to leak
It was clear the original drainage system — if you could call it that — was no longer working. Built on sloping bedrock, the house was expected to “leak” says Ross. You can literally see water seeping through cracks between the foundation and granite. The idea is that the small moat-like depression that runs along the perimeter of the interior walls would catch the water, and direct it out towards the backyard.

“It was just a nightmare because we had stored so much of our stuff down there.”

With 5′ 7″ ceilings and unfinished walls, the Dunns are under no illusion of turning the basement into living space. But with two young children, they need a dry storage area for their growing accumulation of kid’s toys and sporting equipment.

Ross Dunn reclines on his new paving stone patio.
No thought process at all
After the flood this winter, Ross began getting quotes from different drainage companies. “I had a local rooter company come out and they just took one look and said, it’s going to cost this for a new perimeter drain system….there was no thought process at all,” he says.

He phoned around some more, talking to a few other contractors, but then gave up. He just didn’t feel confident with anyone he talked to.

Several weeks later, he saw a yard sign for RainTek. After asking around, he heard good things. So he called and set up a consultation with Geoff, RainTek’s co-owner. “He was down-to-earth and straight with me. No ego whatsoever.”

Geoff did a thorough inspection of Ross’ home and because the situation was unique, he brought out other members of his crew for additional opinions. After several meetings, Geoff came back with a proposal that made a lot of sense to Ross.

A unique solution for a unique situation
“Instead of a whole perimeter drain system, Geoff recommended a plan where we only do to the front and sides of the house,” said Ross. Because the back of the house was on a downslope, water would not be a problem there. “He designed a solution that solved the water flooding problem while meeting my budget,” says Ross.

Once work began, Ross had the chance to meet the RainTek crew.

“What surprised me was how kid-friendly they were. My little guy just loves tractors, and Adam (the bobcat operator) let him come up for a look. All of the guys were like that. Really good with both my kids.”

Ross’ backyard included drainage, new sod, pavers, garden beds and grading.
While the crew worked on the excavation, Ross wondered if the time was right to do his patio and landscaping work. His yard was a mess of uneven ground, bramble bush, dead grass, and diseased cherry trees. Since the equipment was already on site, Ross surmised that it might be worth it to get RainTek to do the work.

New pavers and landscaping bundled in
“They were doing such a good job, everything was being done on time. So I got them to quote on it,” Ross said. “They bundled the cost with the drainage work, and the numbers came in better than I expected, and we went for it.”

“They cleared trees, got rid of composts, took it all away,” said Ross. “They did little things that they didn’t have time to do but did anyways. I wanted to keep all these wildflowers and rocks, and they made a nice little garden bed with them.”

After the patio pavers were installed, the landscape was leveled, sod was laid, and trees and beds built up — all without the overhead of other landscaping companies.

“I didn’t feel like this was just another job. These guys were straight-shooters who genuinely cared about the result. Adam (our interlocking brick specialist) was particularly helpful and accommodating,” Ross said.

“I’m one of these people, while I may be picky, if I’m impressed, I won’t stop talking. RainTek is one of those companies that I’m happy to tell all my friends about.”

“Getting RainTek to do my drainage & landscaping just made sense.”

Tamara Leigh, Crofton, BC

Tamara Leigh’s new backyard features locally sourced sod and repurposed rocks and soil from the site.
A little piece of paradise
Tamara Leigh pokes around with a trowel amongst a row of infant red lettuce. It’s a beautiful July day in the delightful east Island town of Crofton, and Leigh is enjoying every minute of it in her newly leveled back yard. On one side are three raised garden boxes with freshly sprouted veggies, the other, lush new sod. At the house end, a patio retaining wall features a garden bed filled with ornamental plants and a handful of feature rocks. To the side of the house is a new pathway of drainage screenings.

It wasn’t always this clean and organized, says the busy Communications Consultant. Three years ago, when her partner first bought their half duplex, the yard was a maze of blackberries. “They had to be hacked down with a machete,” says Leigh.

Bogged down in winter
There were also significant drainage issues. “The yard was basically unusable,” she says. The property used to slope steeply from the back fence to the patio retaining wall. Rainwater would collect against that wall and saturate the entire yard. “It was a bog right through the rainy winter and spring season.”

This spring Leigh decided it was time to take action. She began by asking a local landscaping company if they’d like to take on the project. “They said no, because they didn’t have drainage capability.”

Blended drainage-landscape expertise hard to find
Turns out that isn’t so unusual. Landscapers tend to be trained in building the softscape (trees, plants, garden beds) and the hardscape (all the masonry and built components). Drainage companies, on the other hand, are focused on fixing water issues — and have the heavy equipment and drainage certifications to tackle those tasks.

“That’s when RainTek’s name came up,” says Leigh. “After talking to them it became clear why they were so highly regarded. They had the cross-section of skills I was looking for: landscaping, carpentry, and drainage skills.”

After the initial meeting with RainTek, work on Leigh’s backyard progressed quickly. A three-man crew showed up with a small bobcat, which made quick work of the excavation. Curtain drains were laid to collect rainwater, and then the yard was leveled and sodded with new turf.

Plans take a turn
While all this was going on, Leigh was hatching a plan for adding some raised garden beds until a crisis occurred with the family pet. “I’m a chronic do-it-yourselfer,” she says. “I was going to do the raised beds myself. But my cat died in the middle of the project, and I just didn’t have the energy to do it. So I asked the guys to take it on. They gave me a quick estimate, and started work the next day — it was impressive.”

Leigh’s project included raised garden beds for growing veggies.
In fact, it was this kind of responsiveness and adaptability that most impressed Leigh. “They were really good with on the spot creative ideas — like weeding around the clematis growing up our fence, and creating a half moon flower bed for wildflowers instead of just filling it in with sod. Little touches like that made a difference to us,” she says.

All in all, Leigh feels the value for money was a no brainer. “I’ve done enough small projects badly to recognize the value of hiring a professional,” she says. “It took three professionals four days to do something that would have taken us all summer to do. Getting RainTek to do my drainage and landscaping just made sense.”

“Raintek helped clear up the unknowns and get me unstuck.”

Colin Goldblatt, Oaklands, Victoria, BC

A drain camera inspection revealed Colin Goldblatt’s basement flood was caused by a disconnected perimeter drain.
A swampy greeting
Coming home to a flood in your basement is never fun. For Colin Goldblatt, opening his basement door after a rainy afternoon, it was a nightmare. The small lake that had formed in his backyard was now seeping over the door’s threshold soaking everything in its path.

But let’s go back.

It started with a mysterious sump pump
Just over two years ago, Colin, a UVIc professor and avid DIYer, found a heritage home in Victoria’s Oaklands neighbourhood. In need of some serious TLC, the two-story house had some interesting quirks, including a mysterious sump pump sitting in a basement pit. But since Colin urgently needed a place to live, he decided to take the plunge and deal with these issues later.

Then the rains came
Unfortunately, the basement flood turned out to be one of those issues. Upon closer inspection, Colin could see from markings on the foundation that the home had prior floods, which explained the sump pump. He decided to investigate further as to the root causes of the water infiltration. He began digging up the area in front of the basement door, and found the perimeter drain was plugged solid with mud. Instead of digging up his whole drain system to see how extensive the blockage was, Colin decided to call RainTek for a drain camera inspection and analysis.

How the flood occurred
Colin watched the TV screen while a RainTek technician ran the camera through his drain and quickly realized two things: first, his PVC-based perimeter drain was connected to his downspout. Not unusual, but also not ideal, since, second, the drain pipe simply ended next to his foundation! It wasn’t connected to the city storm drains nor was it routed further out into his backyard. For Colin, who loves to solve and fix problems on his own, this information was invaluable.

Sump pump mystery solved
As for the sump pump, with the help of RainTek, Colin realized that it was primarily for pumping out the water that was collecting under his slab and foundation. A secondary purpose was to pump out any flood water that collected above the slab. With this mystery solved, Colin could now move ahead with decisions about what to do next.

“As a homeowner, the really helpful thing with RainTek’s inspection was figuring out what was actually happening versus what I thought might be happening with the drainage system,” says Colin. “The drains had been put together over the course of a few different renovations, so it was hard to determine what was what. Raintek helped clear up the unknowns and get me unstuck.”

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