St. Charles IL is, in many ways, unique among Chicago suburbs. It has a long history, dating back to the 1830’s, yet large parts of the city’s residential and commercial areas are very new.
Unlike most local suburbs (and suburbs throughout the country) St. Charles grew slowly and steadily, adding a few hundred new residents a year to reach its current size of 32,000 instead of experiencing the postwar building boom of the 1950’s and 60’s that drove most suburban growth.
Today, the city is a charming combination of an older downtown straddling the Fox River with popular stores and restaurants and outlying areas with newer, larger homes on what was farmland not long ago. It was this amalgam that netted the city the honor being named #1 choice in Family Circle’s list of Best Towns and Cities for Families in 2011.
Owners of St. Charles’ 11,000 homes, like those in nearby Geneva and West Chicago, aren’t exempt from the maintenance issues that face homeowners everywhere and many of them have discovered that they need to seal their basements to avoid water problems.
Of course, the problems of a particular home can only be solved by implementing a solution specific to that home but there are 3 repair approaches that are commonly used to seal basements in St. Charles.
Crack Repair – The most common type of residential foundation found in the Chicago area, including St. Charles, is poured concrete, which is typically susceptible to non-structural cracks. These cracks are often the source of seepage but they can be sealed permanently by injecting them with expanding polyurethane from the interior of the basement. The polyurethane fills and seals the crack all the way to the outside soil and remains flexible when cured to prevent minor foundation movement from re-opening the crack.
If the basement is finished or the crack is otherwise inaccessible from the inside, it can be repaired from the exterior. A small hole is dug next to the foundation at the site of the crack and filled with sodium bentonite clay that sets up to form a permanent, pliable barrier against water.
Exterior Waterproofing – Any foundation can suffer seepage when water penetrates porous concrete or masonry or mortar joints or comes over the top of the foundation. The best way to prevent this seepage is to apply an exterior waterproofing membrane to the foundation walls. Comprised of asphalt-modified polyurethane, the membrane creates a permanent barrier against water intrusion when troweled on in a thick coat and is far different from “damp-proofing,” a thin spray coat applied to new construction. When excess ground water is present, the membrane can be supplemented by exterior drain tile and drainage board to channel water downward.
Interior Drain Tile – A common cause of basement seepage is when hydrostatic pressure under the foundation forces water into the basement through floor cracks or the cove joint. This type of seepage can be stopped by installing interior drain tile, perforated piped buried in a bed of washed stone under the basement floor, that eases the pressure and carries ground water to a sump pump to be ejected from the house. Properly installed, interior drain tile requires no maintenance.
Regardless of the source of seepage or the appropriate remedy, a St. Charles homeowner will need the assistance of a full-service basement waterproofing contractor to seal his or her basement. The experts at U.S. Waterproofing have helped hundreds of St. Charles homeowners keep their basement dry since the company was founded in 1957, so why not ask for their free advice?
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