The village of Oak Forest today is a peaceful southern suburb of Chicago with a population of approximately 28,000.
It wasn't always so peaceful there, however, particularly back in the early days of the town’s history. From the time of its first European settlements in the early 19th century, Oak Forest was primarily a rural farming community and the town formed around the train station, which served as a milk stop for local dairy farmers. Things changed drastically toward the end of the century, however, when the DuPont family built what was called the world’s largest gunpowder storage and manufacturing facility around what is now 155th Street.
Workers began to pour into Oak Forest, primarily from Blue Island, and facilities cropped up in town to service them. This economic boom was ended rather cataclysmically in November, 1906 by a different kind of “boom” – that made by an explosion that destroyed the entire complex. DuPont did not rebuild in Oak Forest.
These days, residents of Oak Forest have nothing so volatile in their village or on their minds. Among the 10,000 homeowners, maintaining their homes and making repairs is certainly a big priority. Even though most Oak Forest homes are on the newer side, with approximately 85% of the village’s homes having been built after 1960, homeowners still need repair services like wet basement waterproofing.
Just as in nearby Orland Park and Flossmoor, homes in Oak Forest are individually evaluated for wet basement waterproofing, but there are several problems and corresponding solutions that most often occur.
Seepage between Wall and Floor – Hydrostatic pressure created by water under the foundation can force water into the basement through the cove joint or through cracks in the basement floor. The pressure can be relieved and the seepage stopped by installing interior drain tile, a system of perforated pipe buried in washed gravel under the basement floor. Properly installed, interior drain tile never requires maintenance.
Seeping Wall Cracks – The most common type of foundation in the Chicago area, including Oak Forest, is one of poured concrete and the most common source of water in a poured concrete basement is a non-structural crack in the wall. The best way to repair these cracks is to inject them with expanding polyurethane, which seals the crack all the way to the outside soil and remains flexible when cured to stop the crack from re-opening due to minor foundation movement.
If the crack cannot be reached from the interior it can be repaired on the outside with sodium bentonite clay. A small hole is dug down to the footings at the site of the crack and filled with the granular clay, which sets up to form a permanent, flexible water barrier on the exterior.
Seepage through Foundation Walls – Poured concrete foundation walls can leak through patches of porous concrete or over the top of the wall; masonry walls through bad mortar joints or porous masonry materials like concrete block or brick. The best permanent solution in either case is to apply an exterior waterproofing membrane, a thick coating of asphalt-modified polyurethane that is applied to the outside walls with a trowel to form an impervious water barrier.
When ground water is especially high, the membrane can be supplemented with exterior drain tile and heavy-duty drainage board that will protect the membrane and channel water downward.
Regardless of the type of seepage problem and recommended repair, an Oak Forest homeowner in need of wet basement waterproofing will require the advice and services of a professional basement waterproofing contractor that knows Oak Forest and its homes. At U.S. Waterproofing, our expertise and 57 years of experience have made us the largest basement waterproofing company in Chicagoland and we have already come to the aid of many of your Oak Forest neighbors. Why not ask for our free advice?
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