When traveling around the United States, it is not uncommon to run into some obscure capitals – and not the lesser-known sites of statehouses like Pierre, SD and Montpelier, VT, either.
These capitals can be found even in the smallest of towns, like Anoka, MN, which calls itself the “Halloween Capital of the World.” Or La Crosse, KS, the “Barbed Wire Capital of the World.”
It’s a less-than-well-known fact that, for more than 40 years, St. Charles IL was a capital, too – the “Pickle Capital of the World” – but there is no history of even a single gherkin ever being manufactured there. The name came from the city’s serving as home to Pickle Packers International, a not-for-profit marketing agency that was charged with promoting pickles across the U.S. Promotion, like charity, starts at home so the agency proclaimed its headquarters city as the Pickle Capital and soon St. Charles visitors were greeted with signs proclaiming briny supremacy, along with other sorts of marketing gimmicks.
The Pickle Packers packed off to Washington DC in 2004 and took the title with them but St. Charles has plenty to brag about today – a historic downtown, a beautiful location on the banks of the Fox River and 33,000 residents living in 11,000 homes. St. Charles homeowners, of course, are no different than their counterparts in the rest of the Chicago area, facing maintenance and upkeep issues with their homes, including the need to do basement waterproofing.
Just as in towns like Naperville and Wheaton, homes in St. Charles must be individually evaluated to provide the right basement waterproofing solution but there are 3 approaches that work in 99% of homes.
1. Interior Drain Tile – A common situation in Naperville homes is when hydrostatic pressure under the foundation forces ground water through cracks in the basement floor and through the cove joint. This pressure can be relieved by installing interior drain tile, which is a system of perforated pipe buried in a bed of washed stone under the basement floor. The drain tile picks up the ground water and carries it to a sump pump for disposal. When installed properly, interior drain tile does not require maintenance.
2. Crack Repair -- The most likely source of water in a St. Charles basement is a non-structural crack in a poured concrete foundation wall. The best way to permanently repair such a crack is to inject it with expanding polyurethane, which fills and seals the crack all the way to the soil outside and remains flexible when cured to prevent minor foundation movement from causing the crack to re-open.
If the basement is finished or the crack is otherwise inaccessible it can be repaired on the exterior with sodium bentonite clay. A small hole is dug along the foundation next to the crack and filled with the clay to form a pliable, permanent barrier against water.
3. Exterior Waterproofing – Poured concrete foundations can admit water through porous patches or over the top of the wall; masonry foundations through mortar joints or porous masonry units like concrete block or brick. Any of these problems can be corrected by applying an exterior waterproofing membrane, asphalt-modified polyurethane, by troweling it onto the wall in a thick coat.
If a lot of ground water is present, adding exterior drain tile and drainage board will protect the membrane and move water more efficiently.
In any of these situations, the St. Charles homeowner will need the assistance of a basement waterproofing contractor that knows the area and its homes. At U.S. Waterproofing, we have been doing basement waterproofing all over Chicagoland since 1957 and have already helped hundreds of St. Charles homeowners keep their basements dry. Why not ask for our free advice?
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