Kenosha, to the surprise of some who don’t live there, is a pretty big town. In fact, it’s the 4th largest city on the western shore of Lake Michigan, behind only Chicago, Milwaukee and Green Bay in size. Numbering nearly 100,000, Kenosha residents present a fairly typical picture of urban/suburban Midwesterners.
There are approximately 36,000 houses in Kenosha and, of course, they vary widely in size, style and construction. The one thing that the vast majority has in common, though, is a basement and, because of Kenosha’s location on Lake Michigan and other factors, those basements have something in common, too – water problems.
Although basement water problems can affect any home, anywhere, in any setting, there are two factors that make them more likely to occur in Kenosha:
Lake Michigan – There is water in the ground everywhere, deep in some places, shallow in others. The highest level of that ground water is known as the “water table” and it is affected by several factors, including soil type, topography and proximity to bodies of water. Because it sits on the shores of one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes, Kenosha’s water table is pretty high, increasing the likelihood of hydrostatic pressure that can cause basement seepage.
Clay Soil – Another thing found along the western shore of the lake is soil consisting predominantly of clay, which comes as no surprise to any Kenosha homeowner who’s ever dug a hole in the yard. Clay soil absorbs water readily instead of draining and expands when it gets over-saturated, increasing lateral pressure that often causes cracks in foundation walls that allow water to seep into the basement.
Another trait shared by homes in Kenosha is the predominance of concrete block foundations. Although every bit as solid as poured concrete, these foundations do present some unique challenges when it comes to fixing basement water problems.
Exterior Waterproofing Membrane – Although suitable for all types of foundations, an exterior waterproofing membrane is particularly useful on concrete block or other masonry walls. Seepage in a concrete block foundation comes either through cracked or deteriorated mortar joints or through the porous block itself. By troweling the waterproofing membrane on to the exterior foundation wall, the thick coat of asphalt-modified polyurethane completely seals the wall on the “positive” side and creates an impermeable barrier to water seepage. For further protection, a heavy plastic drainage board can cover the membrane and channel water down to exterior drain tile.
Drain Tile – Whether installed on the interior or the exterior, drain tile can be used to eliminate basement water problems in a number of situations. Interior drain tile will relieve hydrostatic pressure created by the high water table in Kenosha and prevent basement seepage through floor cracks or the cove joint. Exterior drain tile will help relieve lateral pressure by draining away ground water outside the foundation, helping to prevent cracks and seepage through mortar joints and/or concrete block.
Crack Injection – Newer homes in Kenosha are more likely to have been built with poured concrete foundations instead of concrete block. This type of foundation is affected by the same lateral pressure caused by swollen soil and can develop narrow cracks that allow water to seep into the basement. These cracks are best repaired by injecting them from the interior with expanding polyurethane that will fill and seal the crack all the way to the outside soil. This permanent repair also remains flexible when it cures to prevent the cracks from re-opening from minor foundation movement.
Regardless of the cause or type of basement water problem, a Kenosha homeowner with a wet basement requires the services of a basement waterproofing contractor that can properly assess the damage and recommend the best, most cost-effective permanent repair. At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve been helping homeowners in Kenosha and elsewhere in southeastern Wisconsin fix basement water problems permanently and at a fair price. Why not ask for our free advice?
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