Ever since it was initially developed as quarter-acre residential “farmettes” in 1935, Palos Heights has grown gradually into a pleasant bedroom suburb west of Chicago with an enviable quality of life.
Along the Cal-Sag Channel, however, land adjacent to a local gun club gradually accumulated junked cars and other debris and the whole area became unsightly. In the late 1980’s, the city of Palos Heights acquired the gun club property along with the adjacent acreage owned by the Metropolitan Sanitary and Water District. Through tax-increment financing, the city began to develop the lake and nature preserve known as Lake Katherine.
Today, Lake Katherine is a popular spot that draws 100,000 visitors a year to its 85 acres for hiking, kayaking, picnics or just having some fun in the outdoors. The park offers year-round educational programs and special events, which are popular with local school classes and scout troops. Also a coveted site for outdoors weddings, Lake Katherine adds immeasurably to the lifestyle in Palos Heights.
All the water in town isn’t for fun, however, as many Palos Heights homeowners are discovering it in their basements and find themselves in need of basement waterproofing.
Just as in similar suburbs such as Orland Park and Oak Lawn, homes in Palos Heights in need of basement waterproofing are diagnosed and repaired on an individual basis but there are three common ways to approach the problem.
1. Exterior Waterproofing – Concrete foundations can seep water through patches of porous concrete or over top of the wall; masonry foundations through bad mortar joints or porous masonry units such as brick or concrete block. A smart homeowner will repair these by applying an exterior waterproofing membrane, a thick coating of asphalt-modified polyurethane that is troweled onto the outside of the wall to form a permanent barrier against seepage.
If there is a lot of ground water present, supplement the membrane by installing exterior drain tile and drainage board to protect the membrane and channel water down to the drain tile.
2. Crack Repair – Most homes in Palos Heights have poured concrete foundations; the most common source of seepage in those foundations is a non-structural crack in the basement wall. Cracks can be permanently repaired by injecting them with expanding polyurethane from inside the basement. The polyurethane fills the crack all the way to the soil outside and remains flexible when cured to prevent the crack re-opening from minor foundation movement.
If the crack is unreachable from the interior it can be repaired on the exterior with sodium bentonite clay. A small, deep hole is dug next to the foundation at the location of the crack and filled with the clay to form a pliable, impenetrable barrier against water on the “positive side.”
3. Interior Drain Tile – Another common source of seepage is water forced through cracks in the basement floor or through the cove joint by hydrostatic pressure under the foundation. This pressure can be eased by installing interior drain tile, perforated pipe embedded in washed stone under the basement floor, which will carry ground water to a sump pump for discharge. Properly installed, interior drain tile requires no maintenance.
No matter which form of repair is required, the Palos Heights homeowner needs the help and advice of a basement waterproofing contractor that knows the town and its homes. At U.S. Waterproofing, we have helped homeowners all over Chicagoland with basement waterproofing services since 1957 and we have already served hundreds of Palos Heights homes. Why not ask for our free advice?
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