Lake Geneva, WI is well known as a friendly resort town on the shores of Geneva Lake that is a popular weekend destination for visitors from Milwaukee, Chicago and elsewhere who frequent downtown shops or enjoy golf at the Grand Geneva. Although its “population” on a warm summer Sunday might number two or three times as many, more than 20,000 call the Lake Geneva area home year-round.
Nearly 40% of the homes in Lake Geneva were built prior to 1970; almost half of those prior to 1950. There was also a building boom in the 1990s when the number of housing units jumped by more than 30%. So, with its combination of newer and older homes, homeowners in the Lake Geneva area often ask about the best way to repair wet basements.
With the wide range of home types in Lake Geneva, based not only on age but also size and location, there is a number of potential causes for wet basements and several ways to repair them.
First of all, with the town’s location on the shores of a large lake, homes in Lake Geneva are likely to be affected by a high water table. This alone isn’t a cause of wet basements but it can be a factor in how quickly a problem develops and how severe it can be.
Drain Tile – Drain tile is sometimes referred to as the “Swiss Army Knife” of wet basement repair because it can be a solution to a wide range of problems, although not all. Whether on the exterior or the interior, drain tile collects ground water before it can seep into the basement and carries it off to a sump pump that removes it from the house. Interior drain tile relieves hydrostatic pressure under the foundation and prevents it from seeping in through the cove joint or cracks in the basement floor. Installed outside the foundation, exterior drain tile prevents seepage through cracks or breaches in the wall and alleviates lateral pressure from oversaturated soil.
Wall Crack Injection – One of the most common causes of a wet basement in Lake Geneva or anywhere is a crack in a poured concrete foundation, which is more likely to be found in a newer home. Lateral pressure from over-saturated soil outside the foundation walls can often cause those walls to develop small cracks – not enough to jeopardize the stability of the foundation but enough to allow seepage. These cracks can be permanently (and cost-effectively) repaired by injecting expanding polyurethane into the crack from inside the basement. The urethane fills the crack all the way to the outside soil and remains flexible after curing so that the crack won’t re-open with minor shifts in the foundation.
Exterior Waterproofing Membrane – For older homes that have foundations constructed of concrete block, stone, brick or any other masonry, cracks will occur in the mortar joints; these can’t be repaired by injection. The most effective repair method for these foundations in Lake Geneva is to apply an exterior waterproofing membrane to the foundation. The membrane is asphalt-modified polyurethane and it is troweled on to the wall in a heavy coat that, when cured, provides a “positive side” barrier to any further seepage through cracks or through porous concrete block.
Of course, there may be other wet basement problems that will require different repairs but these are by far the most common. When a Lake Geneva homeowner sets out to repair a wet basement it’s important that he or she chooses a basement waterproofing contractor that has expertise in even the most uncommon situations and who knows the homes in their town. At U.S Waterproofing, we’ve been helping homeowners in Lake Geneva for more than 30 years and we will help you keep your basement dry, no matter what the problem. Why not ask for our free advice?
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