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Basement Foundation Cracks: Trouble for Homes in Palatine IL 60067, 60074

Jul 6, 2014 • By Matthew Stock.

These days, making the trip from Palatine IL to the nearby towns of Lake Zurich and Wauconda Is easily done in the family car and the distance can be covered in a matter of minutes.

In the early 20th Century, however, when transportation in the then undeveloped northwest suburbs of Chicago was most often by foot or horseback, the trip between towns was a major undertaking.  An urge for modernization and growth to be fueled by faster transport was met, for a time, by the Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda Railroad.

The railroad, a short line of only 11 miles, was all that was ever built of a grand plan to link various Lake and McHenry county communities with a 75-mile railroad.  The venture struggled from the beginning and financial mismanagement and the growth of the automobile killed the line for good in 1924.

Today, major auto routes run through Palatine and the community experienced several growth spurts since its suburbanization began after World War II and accelerated in the 1970s.  Today, Palatine has a population of more than 68,000 living in more than 26,000 homes, more than half of which are 35 years old or older.

Just like homeowners in nearby Barrington and Arlington Heights, owners of these aging homes in Palatine are experiencing maintenance and repair issues and many are discovering basement foundation cracks.

Why Basement Foundation Cracks are a Problem for Palatine Homeowners

Basement foundation cracks are either structural or non-structural and homeowners will be able to tell the difference between them in most instances.

Structural cracks are usually wider than one-eighth inch and follow a pattern.  In a poured concrete foundation wall, there will most often be a vertical crack in the center of the wall and two angled cracks across the upper corners.  Invisible from inside are two more vertical cracks at the outside corners where the damaged wall has begun to break away from the adjacent walls.

A non-structural crack usually allows water to seep into the basement but does not threaten the integrity of the foundation.  These cracks are typically narrow, less than one-eighth inch, and do not fall into any noticeable pattern. 

In a masonry wall, such as concrete block or brick, the cracks will follow a stairstep pattern that usually leads to a bowed or bulging area in the center of the wall.

The repair of a structural crack is not focused on the crack itself but is designed to stabilize the wall in which it occurs.  A foundation wall that has been pushed inward by lateral pressure from over-saturated soil can be stabilized by applying carbon fiber strips to the wall with epoxy if the wall has moved less than 2 inches. 

Movement greater than 2 inches requires the use of low-profile channel steel to stabilize the wall.

If the foundation has sunken or dropped, it is repaired with hydraulic push piers, which are installed at intervals to raise the foundation back to level and stabilize it there.

Repairing seepage from a non-structural crack is done by injecting the crack with expanding polyurethane from inside the basement to fill and seal the crack all the way to the outside soil.  The polyurethane stays flexible when cured to prevent re-cracking from minor foundation movement.

If the crack cannot be reached on the interior it can be repaired on the outside with sodium bentonite clay to form a waterproof barrier along the crack.

A Palatine homeowner that spots a basement foundation crack will require the assistance of a basement waterproofing contractor and/or a foundation repair professional.  At U.S. Waterproofing, our foundation repair experts make use of engineering data and the latest technology to stabilize damaged foundations and our basement waterproofing experts make use of our 57 years of experience to keep basements dry all over the Chicago area, including Palatine. Why not ask for our free advice?

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