Highland Park, IL, is one of the more picturesque towns on Chicago’s North Shore, combining well-preserved architecture with a stunning setting on bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. The area’s natural beauty inspired its original European settlers to carefully plan the town, originally intended as both a permanent and summer home site for Chicago’s upper class. Architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and David Adler contributed classic home designs that still lend stature to the city.
Today, Highland Park is a thriving community of 30,000 residents, a number that is dwarfed every summer by visitors to the area’s main attraction, the Ravinia Festival. Summer home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia offers classical and popular music and jazz in a peaceful setting in a deeply wooded area in the former town of the same name, annexed by Highland Park in 1899.
As in many established municipalities with a variety of residential architecture, many of Highland Park’s home date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Older homes are charming but they often create maintenance issues for modern homeowners and commonly need wet basement waterproofing.
Every home, and every basement water problem, is different and there is no “one-size-fits-all” repair for wet basements but there are three common ways that basement waterproofing contractors approach the problem.
Crack Repair – The most common type of foundation in Highland Park, as it is in the entire Chicago area, is poured concrete and the most common source of a wet basement is a non-structural crack in the basement wall. The best way to permanently repair a seeping wall crack is to inject it with expanding polyurethane that fills and seals the crack all the way to the outside soil. The urethane material remains flexible once cured so that minor foundation movement will not cause the crack to re-open.
If the basement is finished or if the crack is otherwise inaccessible, it can be repaired from the outside by digging a small hole at the site of the crack down to the foundation footings. The hole is then filled with sodium bentonite clay that forms a pliable, “positive side” barrier against further water intrusion.
Exterior Waterproofing – When water seeps into the basement through porous concrete or masonry, deteriorated mortar joints or over the top of the foundation, the seepage can be stopped by applying an exterior waterproofing membrane. This method works on any foundation but is particularly effective on some of the older homes near the lake in Highland Park that may have masonry foundations made of brick, stone and telephone tile. The membrane, asphalt-modified polyurethane, is troweled onto the wall in a thick coat and should not be confused with the watery spray known as “damp-proofing.”
Where ground water exists in large quantities, the membrane can be augmented by installing exterior drain tile and applying drainage board over the membrane to channel water downward.
Interior Drain Tile – Another common source of a wet basement in Highland Park is seepage through the cove joint or cracks in the basement floor, caused by hydrostatic pressure under the foundation. This pressure is relieved and seepage stopped by installing interior drain tile, perforated pipe that is embedded in washed gravel and situated level with the footings under the basement floor. The drain tile carries the water to a sump pump that discharges it from the house.
No matter what type of basement water problem is facing a Highland Park homeowner, when he or she needs wet basement waterproofing, only a basement waterproofing contractor that knows Highland Park homes can do the job. At U.S. Waterproofing we have helped hundreds of Highland Park homeowners stop seepage and keep their basements dry since our founding in 1957. Why not ask for our free advice?
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