The northwestern part of the Hoosier state is known for many things – steel mills, popcorn, the Indiana Dunes – but in our business it’s known for its concrete block foundations.
That’s not going to make the tourism brochures but, if you’re a northwest Indiana homeowner, it’s a pretty important fact when considering how to keep your basement dry.
Problems with Concrete Block Foundations in Northwest Indiana
Seepage – Soil and water pressure against a block foundation will eventually cause the mortar in the joints between blocks to wear away and allow water to seep into the joints. This water will leak into the hollow portions of the block and from there will seep into your basement. Also, concrete block is porous by nature and will absorb water that will also contribute to seepage problems.
Structural Damage – The same pressures that cause seepage of ground water can also damage your foundation walls themselves. Because they are not monolithic like poured concrete walls, cement block walls can yield to external pressure and crack or bow inward. If it continues uncorrected, a bowed wall can cause serious problems with the structure of your home.
Most of these problems can be avoided by properly waterproofing your foundation. Structural repairs are a different story, one we’ll take up in another article.
Waterproofing a Concrete Block Foundation in Northwest Indiana
As with all basements, waterproofing can be done from the interior or exterior.
Exterior Solutions – If mortar has begun to deteriorate, applying an exterior waterproofing membrane to the outside of a foundation wall is often the best solution. This membrane is sprayed or troweled on in a thick coat that seals the wall on the “positive side” against further water infiltration. This membrane is covered by a heavy plastic drainage board that channels ground water down to an exterior drain tile system. This process is labor-intensive because of the excavation required.
Interior Solutions – Another solution to basement seepage problems is interior drain tile, a perforated drainage pipe installed under the basement floor around the inside perimeter of the basement and draining into a sump pump basin. With a block foundation, weep holes are drilled in the lowest course of blocks to allow accumulated water to drain into the system. This solution has the added advantage of alleviating hydrostatic pressure under the basement floor, another source of seepage.
Regardless of the source of the problem, it’s important for the northwest Indiana homeowner to turn to a basement waterproofing contractor that will offer the best solution, not just the one they know. At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve been solving basement water problems for decades for homeowners in places like Crown Point, Hammond and Valparaiso and we have the expertise and resources to recommend the right solution every time. Why not ask for our free advice?