Evanston, IL is a unique place. It’s both a city and a suburb; it’s a college town, a business center and the home of such institutions as Rotary International and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. It’s urban, it’s lakefront, it’s neighborhoods and it’s the home of nearly 75,000 people who mostly never want to live anywhere else.
One of the many nicknames Evanston has enjoyed since its founding in 1863 is “City of Homes” and, along with the boost it has provided local real estate agents, that term remains descriptive today. Evanston residents live in a wide variety of houses: frame Cape Cods, brick Chicago cottages, Georgians, rambling Prairie Style homes and some interesting examples of modern architecture. No matter what the size, style or age of the home they have one thing in common – a wet basement in Evanston that needs repair.
What Causes Wet Basements in Evanston?
Wet basements can happen just about anywhere but Evanston homes, like those in neighboring Wilmette and Skokie, have several unique characteristics that increase the susceptibility:
Age – Evanston is a city that has long been fully developed so most of the homes there are older. Even with the most conscientious maintenance, older foundations will suffer the effects of time and pressure from surrounding soil and are more likely to have problems with seepage.
High Water Table – Water is in the ground everywhere and the highest level to which this ground water rises is called the water table. One of the factors that cause the water table to rise is proximity to large bodies of water and, being on the lakefront, Evanston’s water table is high and increases the occurrence of wet basements.
Clay Soil – Evanston is no different from the rest of the Chicago area — the soil is composed heavily of clay, which drains poorly and expands when it becomes saturated. This not only holds water next to the foundation, it increases both hydrostatic and lateral pressures that cause wet basements and foundation damage.
How Do I Repair my Wet Basement in Evanston?
The ultimate choice of a repair method depends on the specific situation but there are three approaches that will permanently repair most wet basements in Evanston:
Crack Repair – The most common source of a wet basement is a seeping crack in a poured concrete foundation wall; the best way to repair it is by injecting expanding polyurethane from inside the basement. The urethane expands to fill and seal the crack all the way to outside soil and remains flexible when cured to prevent the crack from re-opening due to minor foundation movement. If the interior wall is inaccessible, the crack can be repaired from the outside by filling a small excavation against the foundation with sodium bentonite clay that will harden and form an impenetrable barrier against further seepage.
Drain Tile – Drain tile is a sub-surface drain around the foundation that carries away ground water before it can enter the basement. Interior drain tile, installed next to the footings on the inside perimeter, alleviates hydrostatic pressure and prevents seepage through floor cracks and the cove joint. Exterior drain tile, on the outside perimeter of the footings, relieves lateral pressure from ground water and stops seepage from wall cracks, mortar joints and wall openings.
Exterior Waterproofing Membrane – Exterior waterproofing membrane is asphalt-modified polyurethane that is applied to the outside of a foundation wall by toweling it on in a thick coat. This seals the wall against seepage and is particularly effective on concrete block and other masonry walls. It works best when covered by drainage board that channels water down to exterior drain tile. Damp-proofing, a watery spray coating, is no substitute.
Whether your home is new or old, Prairie Style or bungalow, when you have a wet basement in Evanston, you need the advice and services of a basement waterproofing contractor that knows your city and its homes. At U.S. Waterproofing, we have helped hundreds of Evanston homeowners repair their wet basements and keep them dry permanently since our founding in 1957. Why not ask for our free advice?