Skokie, IL was once known as the “World’s Largest Village,” and, although that moniker is no longer used, the town’s nearly 65,000 residents in 10 square miles make up a sizeable community, if not the “world’s largest.”
Skokie can trace its history back to the mid-1800s and thrived as an agricultural community until the turn of the century when the coming of the railroad precipitated a building boom. Later, like many American suburbs, Skokie experienced exponential growth after World War II and doubled its population between 1940 and 1950. Today there are more than 11,000 homes in the village and many of those thousands of homeowners, much like their counterparts in neighboring Evanston and Morton Grove, have faced the question of how to seal their basements in Skokie against water problems.
Just as every home in Skokie is unique in its own way, each basement water problem will be different from another and will require a solution tailored to the specific conditions. However, there are three common tools used by basement waterproofing contractors that, with necessary modifications, will handle the majority of repairs:
Crack Repair – Because the majority of foundations in Skokie are constructed of poured concrete, one of the most common forms of damage is a seeping crack in a foundation wall. These cracks can be caused by foundation movement or lateral pressure exerted by saturated soil outside the foundation. If the cracks are not structural in nature, they will be less than 1/8” wide and can be permanently repaired.
The most effective method of crack repair is to inject the crack from the interior with expanding polyurethane. The polyurethane expands to fill the crack all the way to the outside soil, sealing it from the intrusion of water. The polyurethane material remains flexible so the minor foundation movement does not cause the crack to re-open.
If the crack isn’t accessible from the inside, it can be permanently repaired by filling a small excavation at the site of the crack with sodium bentonite clay. The sodium bentonite hardens to form an impenetrable barrier against water and seals the basement.
Interior Drain Tile – Drain tile is the closest thing to a universal repair that a basement waterproofing company can install because it works to seal a basement in a number of ways. A subsurface drain constructed of perforated plastic pipe buried in a bed of washed stone and installed next to foundation footings, drain tile carries water away to a sump pump where it is removed from the basement.
Interior drain tile is installed along the inside perimeter of the foundation under the basement floor. It helps to alleviate hydrostatic pressure that would otherwise cause seepage through the cove joint and through cracks in the floor.
Exterior Waterproofing Membrane with Drain Tile – An exterior waterproofing membrane is asphalt-modified polyurethane that is troweled on to the outside foundation walls in a thick coat. This coating seals the basement from the exterior or “positive” side and keeps water out permanently. A waterproofing membrane works especially well on masonry walls but can be used on any foundation and is most effective when covered with heavy duty drain board that channels water down to exterior drain tile.
Exterior drain tile goes along the outside perimeter of the foundation and relieves pressure created by saturated soil that can cause seepage through wall cracks, windows and openings in the foundation walls for pipe, electrical service and HVAC.
A waterproofing membrane should not be confused with “damp-proofing,” which is a thin, sprayed coating generally used in new construction.
If you’re a homeowner in Skokie and want to seal your basement, regardless of the source of seepage, you’ll need the counsel and services of a basement waterproofing contractor that knows the homes in your neighborhood and offers a full range of repair methods. At U.S. Waterproofing, we have helped hundreds of your neighbors seal their basements since our founding in 1957 and count them among our more than 300,000 satisfied customers. Why not ask for our free advice?
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