River Forest IL is a small, affluent suburb located just west of Chicago and next to Oak Park, often referred to as its “sister city.” The two towns share a public high school and River Forest has many of the attributes of the larger town, including historically significant architecture.
River Forest, although its city fathers might not be anxious to take on the title, has a legitimate claim on being known as the “Junk Food Capital of the U.S.:
Franklin Mars, founder of Mars. Inc., lived in River Forest and invented the Snickers Bar in 1930 while a resident;
Edwin Perkins, the inventor of Kool-Aid, was also a River Forest resident and maintained production of the iconic beverage mix in Chicago until it was sold to General Foods in 1953;
James Dewar, a plant manager for Continental Baking Company and River Forest resident, converted his plant’s production of seasonal strawberry shortcakes to a cream-filled cake in 1931. He called it the “Twinkie.”
Culinary history aside, today’s River Forest is better known today as the home of Concordia and Dominican Universities. The town’s 11,000 residents live in 4,000 homes, three-quarters of which were built prior to 1960. Just like owners of older homes everywhere, River Forest homeowners are facing the maintenance and repair problems that occur in older homes and many of them have water problems that require wet basement waterproofing.
Just as in neighboring Oak Park and Elmwood Park, homes in River Forest that need wet basement waterproofing are individually diagnosed but there are several common situations that occur and several common remedies to fix them.
Wall Crack Seepage – A non-structural crack in a basement wall is the most common cause of seepage in poured concrete foundations. The best way to fix this seepage is to inject the crack with expanding polyurethane from inside the basement. The polyurethane fills the crack all the way to the outside soil and stays 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 interior it can be repaired on the exterior with sodium bentonite clay. A small hole is dug at the site of the crack and filled with the clay to create a permanent barrier against ground water.
Cove Joint Seepage – Ground water below the foundation creates hydrostatic pressure that forces water into the basement through floor cracks or between wall and floor. Installing interior drain tile, perforated pipe buried in a bed of washed gravel under the basement floor, eases this pressure and moves ground water to a sump pump to remove it from the home. When properly installed, interior drain tile requires no maintenance.
Porous Wall Seepage – Porous spots in poured concrete foundation walls can admit water and water can enter the basement over the top of the wall; masonry walls leak through deteriorated mortar joints and porous masonry units like concrete block and brick. This seepage can be cured by installing an exterior waterproofing membrane, a thick coating of asphalt-modified polyurethane, applied with a trowel to form a permanent barrier against ground water.
If ground water is extreme, the membrane can be augmented with exterior drain tile and drainage board that covers the membrane and channels water down to the drain tile.
No matter what type of wet basement situation or the recommended wet basement waterproofing approach, a River Forest homeowner requires the assistance and advice of an experienced basement waterproofing contractor. At U.S. Waterproofing, we have been waterproofing basements all over the Chicago area since we started in business in 1957, including many in River Forest. Why not ask for our free advice?
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