Oak Lawn IL was originally founded in the mid-19th century by Irish, German and Polish immigrants. Together, these groups have continued to form the majority of Oak Lawn’s population and, in the recent census, residents claiming these origins accounted for nearly 70% of today’s population of approximately 57,000.
Oak Lawn grew slowly from the original small farming community and had fewer than 1,000 homes at the start of World War II. As was the case in growing suburbs around the U.S., Oak Lawn’s population soared over the next three decades due to returning service members and the famous “baby boom” that followed the war; 15,000 of the current 22,000 homes in Oak Lawn were built during that period. The population followed suit, jumping from 8400 residents in 1950 to more than 60,000 by 1980.
Today, Oak Lawn is a quiet bedroom suburb of single family homes. The owners of these homes, especially those built early in the housing boom, are beginning to experience the repair and maintenance issues that are expected in older homes and many of them find themselves in need of basement waterproofing to protect their houses and foundations.
Basement Waterproofing in Oak Lawn
Just as in nearby Palos Heights and Orland Park, decisions about basement waterproofing for homes in Oak Lawn are made on a case-by-case basis but there are several methods that work well in most situations.
Exterior Waterproofing – Foundation materials admit water in different ways. Poured concrete can seep over the top of the foundation wall or through porous areas; masonry seeps through deteriorated mortar joints or porous masonry units like concrete block or brick. This type of seepage can be stopped by installing an exterior waterproofing membrane, a thick coat of asphalt-modified polyurethane applied with a trowel, on the foundation wall to form a permanent water barrier.
When a lot of ground water is present, the membrane can be supplemented by installing exterior drain tile and adding drainage board, which protects the membrane and directs water down to the drain tile.
Interior Drain Tile – Hydrostatic pressure under the foundation causes a lot of seepage problems by forcing water into the basement through cracks in the floor or through the cove joint. Alleviate hydrostatic pressure by installing interior drain tile, perforated pipe that is buried under the floor in a bed of washed stone around the perimeter of the basement; it will also carry ground water to a sump pump for disposal. Interior drain tile never requires maintenance.
Crack Repair – The most common cause of seepage in a poured concrete basement is a non-structural crack in the wall. Repair these cracks by injecting them with expanding polyurethane from inside the basement to fill and seal them all the way to the soil outside. The polyurethane remains flexible when it cures to prevent minor foundation movement from re-opening the crack.
If the basement is finished or the crack is otherwise inaccessible, repair the crack on the exterior with sodium bentonite clay. A small hole is dug down to the footings at the site of the crack and filled with the clay, which forms a pliable yet permanent barrier against water on the “positive” side of the wall.
No matter which method is best for a given home, an Oak Lawn homeowner with water in his or her basement needs the help of an experienced basement waterproofing contractor that knows the area and its homes. At U.S. Waterproofing we’ve been keeping basements dry around Chicagoland for 56 years and have already helped hundreds of Oak Lawn homeowners with their homes. Why not ask for our free advice?