For many municipalities in northern Illinois, the history of the community’s name is often a tangled tale of founders’ names, proximity to long-gone landmarks and references to immigrants’ hometowns in Europe and elsewhere.
By comparison, the origin of “Rockford” is pretty simple: The city was established and lies today on the banks of the Rock River and, back when overland travel was made arduous by geographical barriers, it was the location of a convenient and easily negotiable ford in the river. Travelers passing through on horseback and in wagons from Chicago to Galena put the two together and “Rockford” was born.
Today, Rockford is a city of more than 150,000 at the center of a metropolitan area with a population of more than twice that. For a long time, it was the second largest city in Illinois, a title that has since gone to Aurora, but it remains the state’s largest city outside the immediate Chicago area.
There are more than 64,000 homes in Rockford. Nearly one-quarter of these pre-date World War II and two-thirds are more than 40 years old. Homeowners with houses of this vintage often face the maintenance and repair issues that are common to older homes and any homeowner in Rockford, with its high water table due to its location in a river valley, can find themselves in need of wet basement waterproofing.
Just as in other riverside communities like St. Charles and Elgin, homes in Rockford are individually evaluated when recommendations are made for wet basement waterproofing but there are several common problems and corresponding repairs.
Cove Joint Seepage – Ground water under a foundation creates hydrostatic pressure that can force water into a basement through the cove joint between wall and floor or through cracks in the floor itself. The seepage problem is best solved by installing interior drain tile, a system of perforated pipe buried in a bed of washed stone under the basement floor, which alleviates the pressure and carries the water to a sump pump for disposal. When it has been installed properly, interior drain tile will never need maintenance.
Seeping Wall Crack – The most common source of seepage in a poured concrete foundation is a non-structural crack in a basement wall. The best repair method for such a crack is to inject it with expanding polyurethane from the inside. The polyurethane fills and seals the crack all the way through to the soil outside and remains flexible when cured so that minor foundation movement doesn’t cause the crack to re-open.
In a finished basement or when the crack is otherwise inaccessible, it can be repaired on the exterior with sodium bentonite clay. A small hole is excavated at the site of the crack down to the foundation footings and filled with the clay; it forms a pliable and permanent water barrier on the “positive” side.
Porous Wall Seepage – A poured concrete wall can admit water over its top edge or through sections of porous concrete; a masonry wall seeps through deteriorated mortar joints or porous masonry such as brick or concrete block. Any of this seepage can be prevented or stopped by installing an exterior waterproofing membrane, which is a thick coating of asphalt-modified polyurethane that is applied to the outside foundation walls with a trowel to form a permanent water barrier.
If ground water is especially high, exterior drain tile can be added along with heavy-duty drainage board that protects the membrane and channels water downward.
No matter what the source of seepage or the recommended repair, a Rockford homeowner in need of wet basement waterproofing will require the assistance of an experienced basement waterproofing contractor. At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve been waterproofing wet basements since 1957; here’s what one of your Rockford neighbors had to say about our service. Why not ask for our free advice?
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