In the mid-80s, there was a popular movie that starred Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as a young couple struggling, with the expected comedic results, to renovate an old house. The movie was called “The Money Pit,” and, although the movie has been pretty much forgotten, the title has lingered on as a somewhat pessimistic description of homes that need a lot of repairs.
Every homeowner, and certainly those in Chicago, has to deal with repairs to their homes from time to time – things break, wear out and fall apart from use. The difference between a normal level of maintenance and a house that turns into a “money pit” is often the difference between taking care of problems when they are small and putting them off until they have grown into monsters.
One perfect example is a leaky foundation. Oftentimes, a foundation leak will be small and will only turn up after a really heavy rain. A homeowner who has other priorities may choose to ignore a small leak because "it isn't hurting anything" or because the basement is finished and any potential damage is minor. Understandable, but hardly a good idea.
Here are a few reasons not to ignore leaky foundations in Chicago:
Leaks Can Only Get Worse – There has never been, in the history of foundations and basements, a leak that has cured itself. There have, though, been many that have worsened over time and caused more damage and incurred more cost than they would have if they had been repaired promptly. The continued presence of water can cause efflorescence in concrete, deteriorate mortar joints and do other less visible damage to your foundation.
Leaks Increase Humidity – Water sitting around in your basement will eventually evaporate but, because of it being in an enclosed space, the evaporation will only increase the humidity in your basement and the living area above. The higher humidity will contribute to a musty odor throughout the house, make the air feel clammy and cause condensation inside windows in cooler weather.
Leaks Cause Mold – The most dangerous result of leaving foundation leaks unrepaired is the likelihood that the water will cause the growth of mold. Airborne mold spores need only water, warmth and food to begin growing on household surfaces. Adding water to the multiple sources of organic material that serves as food – wood, drywall, paper, fabrics – can create mold growth that will not only damage these surfaces but will create an unhealthy atmosphere in the home as spores are transported throughout the house by central HVAC systems.
Leaks Prevent Use of the Basement – Even if your intention is to use your basement only for storage, a leaky foundation will cause damage to stored goods. Even if boxes and other goods are placed on shelves or otherwise kept out of direct contact with water, the increased humidity and potential for mold growth may still damage them. Of course, finishing the basement to convert it to useful living space is out of the question because erecting finish walls and installing flooring would be foolish if they concealed a leaky foundation.
Just as there are numerous sources of foundation leaks in Chicago homes, there are many permanent, cost-effective ways to repair them, including crack injection, interior and exterior drain tile, waterproofing membranes and exterior water management. Consulting with a professional basement waterproofing contractor that has worked extensively on leaky foundations in Chicago will enable homeowners to choose the most appropriate way to keep their basement dry and avoid the problems caused by water.
At U.S. Waterproofing, we have been fixing leaky foundations in and around Chicago since our funding in 1957 and we have the endorsement of more than 300,000 satisfied customers to show for it. Why not ask for our free advice on your leaky foundation?
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