Elmhurst, IL, is a mid-sized city in the Chicago suburbs with a population of 44,000; it shares a common history with most of the municipalities surrounding Chicago. Once home to the Potawatomi, the area now known as Elmhurst was first settled by Europeans in the 1830’s and was named Cottage Hill in the 1840’s when the first Post Office was established.
The current name was established in 1869 and the community was incorporated 13 years later. Of the city’s 14,000 homes, more than 11,000 were built before 1970 and most of those were built in the two decades following World War II as a post-war population boom swept the United States. Older homes lend charm to Elmhurst but also create maintenance problems for local homeowners, with one common problem being wet basements.
Homeowners in Elmhurst, just like their neighbors in Addison and Bensenville, face wet basement problems that stem from various sources and require different remedies, specific to the home. However, there are three approaches to wet basement waterproofing that are commonly used.
Crack Repair – Poured concrete foundations are common in the Chicago area and homes in Elmhurst are no exception. The most frequent source of a wet basement in a home on such a foundation is a non-structural crack in the concrete caused by settling or pressure from over-saturated soil. Cracks like these can be permanently repaired from the interior by injecting them with expanding polyurethane that completely fills and seals the crack all the way to the outside soil. When cured, the polyurethane material remains flexible to prevent minor foundation movement from re-opening the crack.
If the crack is inaccessible from the inside, such as in a finished basement, it can be repaired externally by digging a small hole down to the foundation footings at the site of the crack and filling it with sodium bentonite clay. The sodium bentonite sets up to form a pliable permanent seal against water intrusion.
Interior Drain Tile – Interior drain tile is one of the most versatile forms of wet basement waterproofing. Consisting of perforated plastic pipe installed next to the foundation footings under the basement floor, interior drain tile relieves hydrostatic pressure that would otherwise cause water to enter the basement through the cove joint or through cracks in the concrete floor. In a complete system, both ends of the pipe terminate in a sump basin where a sump pump removes it from the home. Interior drain tile requires no maintenance and rarely clogs.
Exterior Waterproofing – When the source of a wet basement is ground water from over-saturated soil, the best remedy is to apply a waterproofing membrane to the exterior of the foundation. The membrane, asphalt-modified polyurethane, is troweled onto the outside wall in a heavy coat. When it cures, it forms a permanent barrier against water intrusion over the top of the foundation, through the walls and other sources. This barrier is not to be confused with “damp-proofing,” a light, sprayed on coating applied generally during construction.
If required, the membrane can be supplemented with exterior drain tile to relieve lateral water pressure. Then, a heavy-duty drain board is installed to protect the membrane and channel water to the drain tile.
Regardless of the method, an Elmhurst homeowner who needs wet basement waterproofing requires the knowledge and expertise of a basement waterproofing contractor who can diagnose any problem and recommend the right repair. At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve helped hundreds of Elmhurst homeowners keep their basement dry and safe since our founding in 1957. Why not ask for our free advice?
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