Gurnee IL is best known today for the Gurnee Mills shopping center and Great America amusement park but the village has a long history that extends back, as does that of many Chicago suburbs, to settlement by the Potawatomi native American nation.
Gurnee first flourished as a stage coach stop on the newly built Milwaukee Road that connected Milwaukee and Chicago. The presence of a ford in the Des Plaines River, followed by a succession of bridges, made the town a hub of the McHenry – Waukegan toll road and much trade and many travelers passed through the intersection of the two.
Other “passengers” passed through Gurnee, too – runaway slaves traveling on the Underground Railroad that made its stops at the same site as the stagecoach, Mother Rudd’s tavern at what is now the intersection of Milwaukee and Grand Avenues and the home of the Gurnee Historical Society.
Gurnee’s status as a transportation hub grew when the railroad came to town and the town’s center shifted from the stage stop to the train station. The town took its name from Walter Gurnee, an executive with the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad who had earlier served as mayor of Chicago and had founded the village of Winnetka.
Today, Gurnee is both a residential and commercial community with more than 30,000 residents and 11,000 homes. Owners of these homes face the same maintenance and repair problems as their counterparts all over Chicagoland and many of them are in need of wet basement waterproofing.
Of course, there is no one magic solution to wet basement problems but there are several methods that will handle the vast majority of repairs.
1. Crack Repair – The most common type of foundation in the Chicago area is poured concrete and the most common source of a wet basement is a non-structural crack in the basement wall. The best way to permanently repair a seeping wall crack is to inject it with expanding polyurethane that fills and seals the crack all the way to the outside soil. The urethane remains flexible once cured so that minor foundation movement will not cause the crack to re-open.
If the crack is inaccessible, it can be repaired from the outside by digging a small hole at the site of the crack down to the foundation footings. The hole is filled with sodium bentonite clay that forms a pliable, permanent barrier against water.
2. Interior Drain Tile – Another common source of a wet basement is seepage through the cove joint or cracks in the basement floor, caused by hydrostatic pressure under the foundation. This pressure is relieved by installing interior drain tile, perforated pipe that is embedded in washed gravel and buried under the basement floor. The drain tile carries the water to a sump pump that discharges it from the house.
3. Exterior Waterproofing Membrane – When water seeps into the basement through porous concrete or masonry, deteriorated mortar joints or over the top of the foundation, the seepage can be stopped by applying an exterior waterproofing membrane. The membrane, asphalt-modified polyurethane, is troweled onto the wall in a thick coat to create a permanent exterior water barrier.
When there is a large quantity of ground water, the membrane can be augmented by installing exterior drain tile and drainage board that protects the membrane and channels water downward.
Regardless of the type of repair needed, a Gurnee homeowner who needs wet basement waterproofing, will require the advice and services of a basement waterproofing contractor that knows Gurnee and its homes. At U.S. Waterproofing we have helped many Gurnee homeowners keep their basements dry since our founding in 1957; here’s a typical reaction. Why not ask for our free advice?
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