It’s pretty common for first-time visitors to Niles who are cruising down Touhy Avenue to do a double-take when they spot a landmark they had expected to be far, far away. The Leaning Tower of Niles, a half-scale replica of its more famous cousin in Pisa, Italy, has been attracting attention since it was first opened as part of a private recreation area in 1934.
Niles is more than showy landmarks, though. BusinessWeek.com named the village “America’s Best Affordable Place to Raise Kids” in 2010 and village residents enjoy great parks and recreation facilities, including the Leaning Tower YMCA.
Niles has nearly 30,000 residents and homeowners among them are responsible for nearly 12,000 homes, almost 2/3 of which were built during the postwar building boom of the mid-Twentieth century. Like homeowners in neighboring Skokie and Glenview, homeowners in the village face the ongoing maintenance problems that come with older homes and many of them encounter wet basements that need waterproofing.
Although every house with a wet basement must be treated as a specific case, there are some generalizations that can be made about wet basement waterproofing and three common types of repair.
Interior Drain Tile – Basement waterproofing contractors view drain tile as sort of a Swiss Army Knife of waterproofing in that it does multiple jobs well and is extremely versatile. When installed on the interior, drain tile is a sub-surface drain that lays below the basement floor at a level even with the foundation footings. Comprised of perforated plastic pipe buried in a bed of washed stone, the drain tile picks up ground water below the foundation and relieves the hydrostatic pressure it causes, preventing water from seeping into the basement through cracks in the floor or the cove joint. The water is carried to a sump pump that discharges it from the home to a storm sewer or gravity-fed drain.
Crack Repair – The most common type of foundation under Niles homes is poured concrete and the most common damage to concrete foundation walls that leads to a wet basement is a non-structural crack. The best way to repair one these cracks is from the inside, injecting it with expanding polyurethane. This material expands to fill and seal the crack all the way to the outside soil and it remains flexible when cured to prohibit re-cracking from minor foundation movement.
When cracks are inaccessible from the inside, such as in a finished basement, they can be repaired from the exterior by digging a small hole down to the foundation footings at the site of the crack and filling it with sodium bentonite clay. The clay draws water from the soil and sets up as a permanent, pliable barrier against further seepage through the crack.
Exterior Waterproofing– Exterior waterproofing is done by applying a waterproofing membrane, a thick coat of asphalt-modified polyurethane that is troweled on to a foundation wall to seal it permanently against water intrusion. The membrane protects the foundation from water coming in over the top or through porous concrete or masonry; a shallow excavation is usually required to apply the coating, the depth depending on how far down on the foundation wall the membrane is to be applied. In cases of a high water table, exterior drain tile can be added and the membrane covered by heavy-duty drainage board that channels water down to the drain tile.
Regardless of how it is eventually repaired, basement water damage in Niles requires the services of a basement waterproofing contractor that knows the area and its homes. At U.S. Waterproofing, we know Niles because we’ve helped hundreds of Niles homeowners with their seepage problems in our more than 55 years in the business. Why not ask for our free advice?
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