Modern Westchester is a small, pleasant suburb west of Chicago with a population of about 15,000. Like many suburbs in the Chicago area, it saw its period of greatest development following World War II when nearly half of its 7,000 homes were constructed.
Had it not been for the Great Depression, however, the village of Westchester would probably look far different today if it had followed the master plan of its founder, utilities magnate Samuel Insull. Insull, one of the founders of what is now General Electric and the founder of Chicago electric utility Commonwealth Edison, was born in London and longed to establish a proper English village in his new home country.
Insull purchased the 2,200 acres of land that is now Westchester, gave the new town that British-sounding name and planned an English village for the site. A number of Tudor-style homes and other structures were built before the Great Depression brought Insull’s plans (and his fortune) crashing to the ground.
Westchester instead developed organically and homes of different sizes and architectural styles joined the beginning of Insull’s English village. All of these homes have begun to age and homeowners there are facing typical maintenance and repair issues with their houses, including the need for wet basement waterproofing.
Foundation Crack Repair – The most common source of water seepage in a poured concrete basement is a non-structural crack in a basement wall caused by settlement or lateral pressure. The best way to repair such a crack is to inject it from inside the basement with expanding polyurethane that fills the crack all the way to the outside and remains flexible when cured to prevent re-cracking caused by minor foundation movement.
In a finished basement the crack can be repaired on the exterior with sodium bentonite clay. A small hole is excavated next to the foundation at the site of the crack and filled with the granular clay. It absorbs water from the soil and forms a permanent “positive-side” barrier against water infiltration.
Interior Drain Tile System – Another common source of water in the basement is when hydrostatic pressure under the foundation forces water into the basement through cracks in the floor or through the cove joint. The pressure can be relieved and seepage stopped by installing interior drain tile, a system of perforated pipe embedded in washed gravel under the basement floor. The drain tile catches ground water and transports it to a sump pump for disposal.
Exterior Waterproofing – Poured concrete foundations can seep water through patches of porous concrete or over the top of the wall; masonry foundations often leak through deteriorated or cracked mortar joints or through porous masonry like brick or concrete block. This type of seepage can be stopped (or prevented) by installing an exterior waterproofing membrane, a thick coating of asphalt-modified polyurethane that is applied to the foundation walls with a trowel to form an impermeable barrier against water.
When ground water is high around the foundation, the membrane can be complemented by installing exterior drain tile and heavy-duty drainage board that protects the membrane and channels water down to the drain tile.
No matter what the source of seepage or the recommended repair, a Westchester homeowner that needs wet basement waterproofing will require the services of a professional basement waterproofing contractor that knows the community and its homes. At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve been working on behalf of Chicagoland homeowners since our founding in 1957 and we have already helped hundreds of Westchester homeowners with wet basement waterproofing. Why not ask for our free advice?
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