How to Seal a Basement in Northbrook, IL 60062


How to Seal a Basement in Northbrook, IL 60062

Northbrook IL is a pretty typical upscale American suburb.  Considered part of Chicago’s North Shore even though landlocked, the village’s 34,000 residents enjoy quiet streets, nearby restaurants, shopping and transportation and excellent schools. 

Originally known as “Shermerville,” the town was a farming community in the late 19th Century.  By the time it was renamed Northbrook in 1923 there were 500 residents and only a few hundred homes.  Northbrook’s growth story mirrors that of many American suburbs – at the beginning of World War II the suburb had fewer than 500 homes but by the time the 1980s dawned that number had increased 16 times over, with 9200 homes lining village streets, a result of the postwar building and baby booms.

Today, there are 12,000 homes and homeowners in Northbrook and they face the maintenance and repair problems that plague homeowners all over the Chicago area.  Because more than three-quarters of the village’s homes are more than 30 years old, many suffer the aches and pains common to older homes, including the need to seal their basements.

Three Common Ways to Seal a Basement in Northbrook

Although a thorough inspection and unique repair plan are required for a specific home in Northbrook, just as they would be in neighboring Glenview and Winnetka, there are three methods that are frequently used to seal basements in Northbrook.

Crack Repair – Poured concrete foundations are the type most commonly found throughout the Chicago area and Northbrook is no exception.  Because these foundations are monolithic, they are subject to stress and movement that result in the occurrence of non-structural cracks that permit seepage.  The best way to permanently repair these cracks is to inject them with expanding polyurethane from the interior of the basement.  The material fills and seals the cracks completely and permanently and remains flexible when cured to prevent minor foundation movement from causing the crack to re-open in the future.

If the basement is finished or the crack is otherwise inaccessible, it can be repaired from the outside by filling a small-diameter hole with sodium bentonite clay all the way down to the foundation footings.  The sodium bentonite remains pliable and forms an effective “positive side” barrier against water.

Interior Drain Tile – Foundations of all types are still subject to the hydrostatic pressure caused by ground water under the basement floor.  This pressure causes the basement to leak through the cove joint and cracks in the floor.  The optimal remedy is to install interior drain tile, perforated pipe in a bed of washed gravel under the basement floor.  The drain tile draws off ground water, relieving the pressure, and moves it to a sump pump for disposal.  Properly installed, interior drain tile never requires maintenance.

Exterior Waterproofing – Concrete foundations can take on water through porous patches and over the top of the foundation wall.  Masonry foundations, such as brick and stone, can leak through deteriorated mortar joints or porous masonry units.  A great solution to these problems is to apply an exterior waterproofing membrane, asphalt-modified polyurethane, to the foundation walls.  Troweled on in a thick coat, the membrane creates a permanent barrier against water intrusion.

When large amounts of water are present, the membrane can be augmented by installing exterior drain tile and heavy-duty drainage board to channel water downward.

No matter how old the home, construction of the foundation or source of seepage, a Northbrook homeowner seeking to seal his or her basement needs the services of a professional basement waterproofing contractor.  At U.S. Waterproofing, we have been diagnosing and repairing wet basements all over the Chicago area since 1957 and we have already helped hundreds of Northbrook homeowners seal their basements, permanently and cost-effectively.  Why not ask for our free advice?


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