The history of Mount Prospect begins with a failed entrepreneur.
In the 1870’s a settler named Ezra Eggleston purchased a large tract of land northwest of Chicago that encompassed most of today’s village of Mount Prospect. He platted out a town, built roads and constructed a train station in hopes of luring settlers to the new community to which he gave its optimistic name.
A few things worked against Eggleston’s plans, however, including the Great Chicago Fire and a severe economic downturn known as the Panic of 1873. He subsequently sold out his holdings in the area several years before the area began to develop organically.
Today, Mount Prospect is a thriving community of 53,000 residents, home to many commercial and professional business enterprises. Families there live in some 22,000 homes, a few of which date back to Eggleston’s era. Most are more recent, however, with three-quarters having been built between 1950 and 1980.
No matter how new or old their house, homeowners in Mount Prospect are facing the same maintenance and repair issues as homeowners everywhere and many have discovered basement foundation cracks in their homes.
Most of the foundations in Mount Prospect are built of poured concrete but some, particularly those of Eggleston’s day and shortly thereafter, may be constructed of masonry.
In a masonry foundation, cracks develop in the mortar joints between masonry units. Minor cracks can allow water to seep into the basement and wider cracks indicate structural damage to the wall. Cracks in mortar joints will appear mostly in a stair-step pattern and will usually lead to a bowed or bulging area in the center of the wall.
In a poured concrete foundation, cracks can be narrow and appear to be without a discernible pattern. They can also be wide (more than 1/8”) and show up in a pattern that typically includes a vertical crack in the middle of the wall and two angled cracks across the upper corners. Invisible from inside are two more vertical cracks where the damaged wall separates from the adjacent walls.
The narrow cracks are usually non-structural but will allow ground water to seep into the basement. The wider cracks that follow the described pattern usually indicate structural damage caused by settlement or lateral pressure from over-saturated soil that has caused the wall to move inward, either rotating from the bottom in a poured concrete wall or bowing or bulging in the middle in masonry construction.
Cracked masonry walls are best repaired by applying an exterior waterproofing membrane but the seepage can be managed with interior drain tile and a vapor barrier applied to the wall inside the basement.
Narrow cracks in poured concrete that are seeping water can be permanently repaired by injecting them with expanding polyurethane, which expands to fill and seal the crack all the way to the outside soil and remains flexible when it cures to prevent the crack from re-opening due to minor foundation movement.
Wall movement can be stabilized with carbon fiber strips that are epoxied to the wall but only if the wall has moved less than 2 inches inward. If the wall has moved farther, it will require the installation of low-profile steel channels anchored to the footing and bolted to floor joists at the top to stabilize the wall and prevent further rotation
Depending on the size and location of a basement foundation crack, a Mount Prospect homeowner that finds cracks in his or her basement will need the help of a basement waterproofing contractor and/or a foundation repair professional to fix it properly.
At U.S. Waterproofing, our structural foundation team uses engineering data to plan and implement permanent structural repairs and our basement waterproofing experts employ the latest materials and technology to keep basements dry. We’ve been fixing basements in Mount Prospect and elsewhere around Chicago since our founding in 1957 so please ask for our free advice when you see a crack in your basement.
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