How to Seal a Basement in Highland Park, IL 60035


How to Seal a Basement in Highland Park, IL 60035

Highland Park IL is one of the most-visited of Chicago’s North Shore suburbs, not only for the theaters and restaurants of its welcoming downtown district but for two warm-weather attractions, the Ravinia Festival and the Port Clinton Art Festival.

Highland Park’s 31,000 residents enjoy life in a picturesque setting on the shores of Lake Michigan.  Although situated in a quiet, forested area, Highland Park enjoys great transportation access through passenger rail service to Chicago and nearby interstate highways.

Modern Highland Park was formed out of 3 older communities, Port Clinton, St. John and Ravinia and boasted of more than 3,000 homes by the beginning of World War II.  Accordingly, there are a number of historic homes in Highland Park, including the Willits House, designed by iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  The postwar boom that expanded most American suburbs didn’t skip Highland Park, either, with 5,000 more homes being built by 1970.

Today, there are nearly 12,000 homeowners in Highland Park and, because the majority of their homes are more than 40 years old, they are facing typical maintenance issues, including water problems that require them to seal their basements.

3 Common Ways to Seal a Basement in Highland Park

Just as in neighboring Glencoe and Deerfield, the right way to seal a specific Highland Park basement will be determined on a case-by-case basis but there are 3 commonly used methods that will handle almost any situation.

Exterior Waterproofing – Because of the age of its homes, Highland Park has a number of stone and brick foundations that can leak through mortar joints or porous masonry. These, along with leaking poured concrete foundations, can be sealed by applying an exterior waterproofing membrane to foundation walls.  The membrane, asphalt-modified polyurethane, is applied to the foundation in a thick coating with a trowel and forms a permanent seal against further water intrusion.

When large amounts of ground water are present, the membrane can be augmented with exterior drain tile and a heavy-duty drainage board that protects the membrane and channels water downward.

Interior Drain Tile – A common source of seepage in Highland Park and elsewhere is water that is forced by hydrostatic pressure through cracks in basement floors and through the cove joint.  The best way to stop this seepage is to install interior drain tile, perforated pipe that is buried in a bed of washed stone under the basement floor.  The drain tile relieves the hydrostatic pressure and carries water to a sump pump to be discharged from the house.  Properly installed, interior drain tile is maintenance-free.

Crack Repair – The most common cause of basement seepage in homes with poured concrete foundations is a non-structural crack in a basement wall.  These cracks can be permanently repaired by injection with expanding polyurethane that will fill the crack all the way to the outside soil, sealing it.  The polyurethane material will remain flexible when cured to prevent the crack being re-opened by minor foundation movement.

If the crack is inaccessible from the inside, it can be repaired on the exterior by digging a small hole next to the foundation at the site of the crack and filling it with sodium bentonite clay.  The clay forms a pliable, permanent barrier against water.

No matter the type of foundation, age of the home or required repair, a Highland Park homeowner who needs to seal his or her basement will need the help of an experienced basement waterproofing contractor that knows the area and its homes.  At U.S. Waterproofing, we have sealed basements around Chicago for 56 years and have already helped hundreds of Highland Park homeowners keep theirs dry.  Why not ask for our free advice?


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