For homeowners in the city of Chicago, urban life is different in many ways from that of their friends and relatives in the suburbs. Just getting around, for example, presents challenges like finding a place to park that isn’t blocks away from a destination and doesn’t cost a small fortune. Of course, there’s public transportation, complete with late buses, stalled EL trains and rubbing elbows with fellow passengers who cough, sneeze or display questionable personal hygiene practices.
Things are different upon arrival at home, too. At a typical Chicago home, the garage is located in the back of the property, off an alley, not in front and connected to the house like in the ‘burbs. Not a huge inconvenience but it can make for a wet or cold walk to the back door with bags of groceries. Building lots are different, too, with the typical Chicago lot being only 25 feet wide with lengths that usually vary between 110 and 125 feet.
The standard Chicago building lot is hardly a detriment (it usually provides a very nice backyard) but it does mean that homes in Chicago are closer to one another than in other areas. This is one of the reasons that basement waterproofing in the city of Chicago can present a challenge and requires a skilled professional to do it right.
There are a number of aspects of life in a Chicago home that impact how basement waterproofing is done:
Proximity – Having homes close together encourages neighborliness but it doesn’t make it easy to do exterior waterproofing work where excavation is required. Also, many homes are separated by paved surfaces, including the famous Chicago “gangways” and, although this doesn’t contribute to a wet basement, it can make work difficult and more costly.
Different Foundations – The “go-to” foundation in Chicago has been poured concrete for a long time. However, with the wide range of ages in Chicago homes, particularly those of “pre-fire” construction, there is also a wide spectrum of foundation construction and materials. It’s easy to find homes built on foundations made of concrete block, brick, stone and terra cotta blocks known as “telephone tile.” Each material performs differently and shows different signs of damage so repairs will vary.
PVC Pipe Required – One of the most common and versatile remedies for basement seepage is interior drain tile, a system of perforated pipe buried in washed stone below the basement floor to relieve hydrostatic pressure and carry ground water to a sump pump. Most experienced basement waterproofing contractors will use flexible corrugated pipe for interior drain tile but Chicago ordinances require the use of rigid PVC pipe in all drain tile installations.
Mandatory Sewer Connections -- In other areas, a sump pump discharges water outside the home where it is dispersed at a safe distance from the foundation. In Chicago, city ordinance prohibits this practice and requires that the sump discharge line be connected to the municipal sewer, a type of connectionthat generally costs more to do. Because Chicago has a combined sewer system with both storm water and sanitary sewage, there is also the chance that a bad connection can lead to backflow of sewage into the basement.
These conditions certainly don’t make basement waterproofing in the city of Chicago impossible and they don’t even make it difficult when the contractor is experienced in working in the city and familiar with its requirements. U.S. Waterproofing was founded in Chicago in 1957 and has helped thousands of Chicago homeowners keep their basements dry since then. Why not ask for our free advice?
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