Chicago has a number of notable suburbs but the one that is known around the world is Oak Park. Much of its international renown comes from the town’s association with two giants of American arts, Ernest Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Closer to home, Oak Park is known to Chicagoland locals as the suburb with all the historic homes, top-ranked high school and an involved citizenry. For Oak Parkers, the village offers a convenient, attractive and comfortable home that few ever want to leave. However, some of its charms are the very things that lead to basement water problems in Oak Park.
Many Oak Park residents would tell you that life in their leafy municipality would be darn close to perfect if it weren’t for those (expletive deleted) sewers!
Oak Park was first settled in 1835 when it was part of Cicero; the village was incorporated in 1901. Typical of towns of this vintage, old infrastructure, such as sewers, starts to deteriorate over time and leads to problems for modern-day homeowners. Several times in the last few years, torrential rains have overwhelmed municipal sewer lines and caused numerous Oak Park homeowners to suffer flooded basements.
Repairs to the sewer system notwithstanding, the way to prevent this type of flooding is by installing overhead sewer systems, eliminating floor drains and rerouting below-ground plumbing drains to ejector pumps. This puts gravity to work for, instead of against the homeowner and eliminates basement water problems caused by sewers.
Whereas this kind of problem is outside the realm of normal basement waterproofing in Oak Park, there are still challenges presented to homeowners by other conditions there. For example, most of the homes in Oak Park are older and are subject to the typical weaknesses of older construction. For example, homes built in the area in the 19th and early 20th Century are likely to have stone, brick or some other type of masonry foundations.
These foundations are prone to basement water problems because of deterioration in the mortar between blocks, bricks or stones that allows water seepage into the basement. In the case of bricks or the somewhat newer concrete blocks, the masonry units themselves are porous and water can seep through them over time. The best way to eliminate this type of basement water problem in Oak Park is to install an exterior waterproofing membrane. This is an asphalt-modified polyurethane sealer that is troweled or sprayed heavily onto the foundation, sealing leaks from the exterior or “positive” side.
The greatest protection comes from covering the membrane with semi-rigid plastic drainage board that channels water down to exterior drain tile, either new or existing.
The history of some of Oak Park’s homes can be a factor in basement water problems as well. Oak Park designates local landmark status for a long list of homes and approximately one third of the village’s home are in nationally designated historic districts, including the Frank Lloyd Wright-Prairie School of Architecture Historic District. Typically, such homes require great care in undertaking any type of repair, including basement waterproofing, so that the historic nature of the home is preserved. This means that any work should be done by a basement waterproofing contractor that has experience working on historic homes and knows how to handle their basements and foundations properly.
If you’re a homeowner with water problems in Oak Park, there are remedies, even for the sewer back-ups. The experts at U.S. Waterproofing have worked with many, many Oak Park homeowners during our company’s 55 years in business and count them among our more than 300,000 satisfied customers. Why not ask for a free consultation when you see signs of seepage or dampness?
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