Poking around in the history of familiar communities around Chicago is often pretty interesting. How else would anyone know, for example, that Skokie was originally called Niles Center or that Des Plaines was once the world’s largest producer of hothouse roses or that Oak Lawn is the home of the world’s largest cigar store Indian?
A little historical research can also encounter some town vs. town rivalries but nothing like what erupted in the mid-Nineteenth Century between Naperville and Wheaton. Just before the Civil War, an election in DuPage County authorized moving the county seat from Naperville to Wheaton, setting off a decade of animosity between the two towns.
The issue went before the voters again after the war and, upon winning a squeaker of a victory, Wheaton wasted no time in building a new courthouse and starting to transfer records. Not giving up, Naperville refused to turn over some records, which spurred a “Midnight Raid” by Civil War veterans from Wheaton to take the records by force. After more skullduggery and lawsuits, the DuPage County seat remained in Wheaton where it is today.
Things are pretty amicable between the towns today and the nearly 20,000 homeowners in Wheaton don’t have to worry about taking part in raiding parties. They do, though, have the same maintenance worries as their counterparts in Naperville and many of them require basement waterproofing.
Of course, every house in Wheaton is different but there are three commonly used approaches to basement waterproofing that will solve most homeowners’ problems.
Crack Repair – The most common type of foundation in Wheaton is one of poured concrete and the most frequent damage that causes seepage is a non-structural crack in the basement wall. The best way to repair a crack is to inject it with expanding polyurethane from inside the basement. The polyurethane will fill the crack all the way to the outside soil and form a permanent seal that remains flexible when it cures to prevent minor foundation movement from causing the crack to re-open.
If the crack is inaccessible from inside it can be repaired on the exterior with sodium bentonite clay. A small hole is dug next to the foundation at the site of the crack and filled with the clay, which forms a permanent, pliable barrier against water on the “positive side” of the foundation wall.
Interior Drain Tile – Another common type of seepage occurs when hydrostatic pressure under the foundation forces ground water through cracks in the basement floor or the cove joint. Installing interior drain tile, perforated pipe buried in a bed of washed stone under the basement floor, will alleviate this pressure and carry water off to a sump pump. Properly installed, interior drain tile requires no maintenance.
Exterior Waterproofing – Water can enter poured concrete foundations through patches of porous concrete or over the top of the foundation wall; it will seep into masonry walls through deteriorated mortar joints or porous masonry units like brick or concrete block. This seepage can be stopped by applying an exterior waterproofing membrane, asphalt-modified polyurethane that is troweled onto the wall in a thick coat to seal the wall against water.
If large amounts of ground water are present, the membrane can be complemented by installing exterior drain tile and a heavy-duty drainage board that protects the membrane and channels water downward.
Regardless of the appropriate type of repair, a Wheaton homeowner who needs help keeping water out of his or her basement will need an experienced basement waterproofing contractor. At U.S. Waterproofing, we have been waterproofing basements in the Chicago area for 56 years and we have already helped hundreds of Wheaton homeowners keep their basements dry and their homes healthy. Why not ask for our free advice?
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