If the intentions of the original developer of the area now known as Palos Heights had been carried out, the city’s 12,000 residents would today be engaged in small-scale farming. Originally a large tract of farmland along Harlem Avenue, Palos Heights was first developed in 1935 under the name “Harlem Heights.”
Each purchaser of a quarter-acre “farmette” received as part of their parcel a dozen trees and six grape vines, along with incubated chicken eggs, just in case poultry farming was more their thing. The farming idea went the way of the original name; the city we know today as Palos Heights was incorporated in 1959 and rapidly became the pleasant residential suburb it is today.
There are 4,000 homes in Palos Heights and, while no longer picking grapes or chasing chickens around the yard, homeowners are faced with the usual maintenance and upkeep problems with their home, including the occasional wet basement.
In Palos Heights, as in the neighboring towns of Worth and Palos Hills, a wet basement repair to a specific home requires an inspection and recommendation based on that home’s condition but there are three general categories of repair that cover almost all the bases of wet basement repair in Palos Heights:
Crack Repair – Poured concrete foundations are common in Palos Heights homes and the type of damage that most often causes wet basements is a non-structural crack in a concrete foundation wall. These cracks are caused by foundation settlement or by pressure from saturated soil and that pressure also forces ground water into the basement through the cracks.
The best way to repair a seeping crack in a Palos Heights home is to inject it with expanding polyurethane, a process done from inside the basement. The urethane expands all the way to the outside soil and fills and seals the crack permanently. The urethane remains pliable when cured to prevent minor foundation movement from re-opening the crack.
If the wall is inaccessible from the inside, the crack can be repaired from the exterior by filling a small excavation at the site of the crack with sodium bentonite clay. The clay sets up to form a pliable, permanent and impermeable water barrier on the “positive side” of the foundation.
Interior Drain Tile – Another common source of a wet basement in Palos Heights is seepage through cracks in the basement floor or the cove joint. These sources of water can be repaired by installing interior drain tile, a sub-surface drain that sits next to the foundation footings below the basement floor. Interior drain tile runs around the inner perimeter of the footings and drains off water that would otherwise be forced into the basement by hydrostatic pressure and carries it off to a sump pump. Drain tile, once installed, is maintenance-free and typically doesn’t clog or need replacement.
Exterior Waterproofing Membrane and Drain Tile -- Exterior waterproofing membrane is asphalt-modified polyurethane that is applied in a thick coat by troweling it onto exterior foundation walls. Once cured, it provides a permanent seal against further water infiltration and should not be confused with “damp-proofing,” which is a thin coating sprayed onto the foundation, typically during construction.
If the situation warrants, the waterproofing membrane will be covered with heavy-duty plastic drainage board that not only protects the membrane but channels water down to exterior drain tile. Drain tile on the exterior drains away ground water that would otherwise enter the basement between the wall and floor; the membrane will prevent water from coming in through deteriorating mortar joints or porous block or stone in masonry walls or honeycombed or porous concrete.
Regardless of the ultimate solution to the problem, a Palos Heights homeowner with a wet basement needs the services of a basement waterproofing contractor that knows the area’s homes and offers a full range of services. At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve helped hundreds of Palos Heights homeowners repair their wet basements since our founding in 1957, so why not ask for our free advice?
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