Griffith, IN maintains a small-town feel even though it is nearly in the shadow of one of the country’s largest cities. Once known as a Midwestern railway hub, Griffith today is a mixture of residential, commercial and light industrial properties with 16,000 residents and 8,000 homes.
Griffith has had its economic ups and downs, along with the rest of northwest Indiana, but today its newly rejuvenated downtown and other economic development initiatives have the town on the verge of another economic boom. One thing has remained consistent, though – homeowners in Griffith still have to repair wet basements and many of them aren’t sure where to begin.
Anywhere there’s a home with a basement, water in that basement comes from ground water that seeps in through cracks, porous masonry, window wells, cove joints and other breaches in the foundation. Some locations have contributing factors that can increase the likelihood of a wet basement and Griffith is no exception:
High Water Table – All of northwest Indiana has high level of ground water due to its proximity to Lake Michigan. A high water table increases lateral pressure on foundations and makes basements more likely to experience seepage problems.
Sandy Soil – Again, the northwest Indiana area has generally sandy soil, particularly in areas closer to the lake. Whereas sandy soil drains well and doesn’t expand when wet like the clay soil found in the Chicago area, it can drain too fast during heavy rains and cause basement safeguards like drain tile and sump pumps to become overwhelmed.
Concrete Block Foundations – Also common in NW Indiana, concrete block foundations are structurally strong but can allow seepage in ways that poured concrete foundations don’t. Water can enter a basement through cracked or deteriorated mortar joints or through the concrete block itself, which is fairly porous.
There are a number of repair methods and materials available to basement waterproofing contractors, but they vary depending on construction, source of seepage and other factors:
Drain Tile – Drain tile is perforated plastic pipe that is buried next to foundation footings in a bed of washed stone; it carries water to a sump pump. Interior drain tile relieves hydrostatic pressure under the foundation and prevents seepage through floor cracks and the cove joint. Exterior drain tile relieves lateral pressure outside the foundation and removes water that can seep in through wall cracks, mortar joints and other sources.
Exterior Waterproofing Membrane – Particularly effective on concrete block walls, an exterior waterproofing membrane is asphalt-modified polyurethane that is troweled onto foundation walls in a thick coat. Once cured, it creates an impermeable barrier to ground water and can be covered with a heavy-duty plastic drainage board to channel water to exterior drain tile. This is not to be confused with “damp-proofing,” a thin, sprayed-on coating.
Crack Repair – For those homes in Griffith that do have poured concrete foundations, lateral pressure from the soil can cause foundation cracks that can seep water into the basement. The best way to repair these cracks is to inject them from the interior with expanding polyurethane that seals the crack permanently and fills it all the way to the outside soil. If the interior wall is not accessible, cracks can be filled from the outside by filling a small hole in the ground at the site of the crack with sodium bentonite clay. The sodium bentonite absorbs water from the ground and hardens, forming an impenetrable seal on the outside of the wall.
Regardless of the type of wet basement repair a Griffith homeowner needs, one thing is true – those repairs are best done by a basement waterproofing contractor that knows Griffith, its homes and homeowners and understands the problems they may encounter. At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve been helping homeowners repair wet basements in Griffith and all over northwest Indiana for decades and we know the territory, so why not ask for our free advice?
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