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5 Reasons Why Basement Waterproofing in Chicago is a Challenge

Feb 18, 2013 • By Matthew Stock.

5 Reasons Why Basement Waterproofing in Chicago is a Challenge


Life in a big city like Chicago is great.  There are interesting neighborhoods, excellent restaurants, extensive public transportation and lots of things to do – shopping, museums, forest preserves and sports for both participants and spectators.

Of course, being in a large city brings some inconveniences – traffic, high taxes, population density and the general hassle of dealing with it all.  Of course, that stuff is like the weather to Chicagoans – we take pride in overcoming it as we go about our daily lives.

Basement waterproofing in Chicago is no different from anything else.  Many of the things that make the city what it is can present challenges to keeping your basement dry and your foundation sound.

Chicago Basement Waterproofing can be a Challenge:  5 Reasons Why

Here are some of the things you may run into:

  1. Variety of Foundations – Most foundations in Chicago, especially in newer construction, are made of poured concrete.  However, with the wide variety of homes in the city, it’s no surprise that there is a lot of different foundations.  Concrete block, stone, brick and even telephone tile can be found under Chicago houses and each presents a different challenge to keeping your basement dry.  For example, installing drain tile properly along the footing of any type of foundation is more than just dropping pipe in a hole; you need a basement waterproofing contractor that has done it before.
  2. Paved Alleys and Gangways — There’s lots of concrete in our city, including alleys and the famous Chicago gangways between homes.  Contrary to popular belief, all this impermeable surface does not create basement water problems – basement seepage comes from water in the ground, not on top of it.  However, all that pavement can make access to the sources of seepage problems more difficult and more costly than in a house surrounded by lawn.
  3. PVC Pipe Required for Interior Drain TileInterior drain tile is one of the most useful tools for keeping a basement dry.  Typically, an experienced basement waterproofing contractor will use a flexible, perforated corrugated pipe for interior drain tile because it works better than PVCCorrugated pipe can be installed in longer lengths and forms bends and corners with gentle curves instead of 45- and 90-degree fittings that are more susceptible to clogs.  City of Chicago ordinances, however, require the use of PVC in all drain tile installations.
  4. Required Sewer Connections – In most homes, the sump pump discharges water that is carried outside the home and dispersed on the ground a safe distance from the foundation.  In Chicago, the city does not permit this type of discharge but requires that the sump discharge line be connected to the municipal sewer.  One problem is that this type of connection costs more and requires a city permit.  Because Chicago has a combined sewer system that carries both storm water and sanitary sewage, there is also the chance that an improper lateral connection can lead to backflow of sewage into the basement so choose your contractor well.
  5. Proximity of Neighbors – Chicago homeowners don’t exactly live cheek-to-jowl but, considering that the standard Chicago city lot is only 25 feet wide, houses in our town are fairly close together.  Again, the idea that a neighbor’s home or driveway or alley is causing your basement water problem generally does not, if you’ll pardon the expression, hold water.  However, being close to a neighbor can complicate exterior basement waterproofing, especially on those rare occasions when heavy equipment is needed to excavate, but it is also a factor in grading property for proper yard drainage, as nobody wants to be the guy that creates a swamp in his neighbor’s back yard.

So, basement waterproofing in Chicago may run into a few roadblocks but it’s certainly not impossible and CAN be done cost-effectively with a minimum of disruption IF you hire the right basement waterproofing contractor.  At U.S. Waterproofing, we started in business on the North side of Chicago in 1957 and have ensured dry basements for thousands of Chicago homeowners no matter what obstacles stood in our way.  Doesn’t it make sense to ask for our free advice?

Tags: basement waterproofing chicago, chicago basement waterproofing, basement water problems

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