Wilmette IL is one of a number of suburban villages that make up Chicago’s “North Shore,” a string of communities bordering Lake Michigan that stretches from Evanston on the city’s northern edge to Lake Bluff, only 14 miles from the Wisconsin state line.
Wilmette, the first of the North Shore communities to be settled by Europeans, took its name from a man whose own name was a bit of a mystery, fur trader Antoine Louis Ouilmette. Ouilmette, also known as Ouilamette, Ouimet, Wilmot and other variations, was either a native Potawatomi or a French-Canadian, depending on which version of the story is being told. Ouilmette helped negotiate the Treaty of Prairie du Chien and was rewarded with 1800 acres of lakefront land that included modern-day Wilmette and Evanston.
In further naming adventures, the earliest European settlers in the area were farmers from Trier, Germany, a contender for that nation’s oldest city. Trier lent its name to New Trier Township, which includes Wilmette, and New Trier High School, which can trace the name of its mascot, the Trevian, to Treves, as the German city is known in French and sometimes in English.
Regardless of how it came to be called by that name, Wilmette today is a pleasant, leafy suburb of beautiful homes. Of course, beauty and history aside, Wilmette homeowners face the same maintenance and repair issues with their homes as homeowners everywhere and many of them are in need of basement waterproofing.
Just as in neighboring Evanston and Winnetka, homes in Wilmette are individually evaluated when basement waterproofing is needed but there are several commonly used methods that will solve most problems.
Crack Repair – The most common type of foundation in Wilmette is poured concrete and the most common source of water in that type of foundation is a non-structural crack in the basement wall. The best way to repair these cracks is to inject them with expanding polyurethane from inside the basement. The polyurethane fills and seals the crack all the way to outside soil and remains flexible when cured to prohibit re-cracking from minor foundation movement.
When the crack is inaccessible from inside it can be repaired on the exterior with sodium bentonite clay. A small hole is dug down to the footings at the site of the crack and filled with the clay, which forms a pliable yet permanent water barrier.
Interior Drain Tile – Another common source of water is seepage through the cove joint or cracks in the basement floor caused by hydrostatic pressure forcing ground water through. Installing interior drain tile, perforated pipe buried under the floor in a bed of washed gravel, alleviates this pressure and the pipe carries ground water to a sump pump for disposal. Interior drain tile is maintenance-free.
Exterior Waterproofing – Poured concrete foundations can seep water over the top of the foundation wall or through porous patches; masonry walls through deteriorating mortar joints or porous masonry units like concrete block or brick. These problems can be fixed permanently by installing an exterior waterproofing membrane, a thick coat of asphalt-modified polyurethane that is applied to foundation walls with a trowel. The membrane forms a permanent barrier against water infiltration.
When a large amount of ground water is present, the membrane is aided by installing exterior drain tile and drainage board that protects the membrane and channels the water downward.
No matter the source of water or the recommended repair, a Wilmette homeowner in need of basement waterproofing will require the assistance and advice of an experienced contractor that knows Wilmette and its homes. At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve been keeping basements dry around Chicagoland since 1957 and have already helped hundreds of Wilmette homeowners with basement waterproofing services. Why not ask for our free advice?
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