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How to Seal a Basement in Evanston, IL 60202

Aug 15, 2013 • By Matthew Stock.


Like many college towns, the city of Evanston has had an interesting relationship with its hometown school, Northwestern University.  Typical of such “town-gown” situations, Evanston leaders and residents have raised issues of taxes and services with the university, which is the city’s largest employer and landowner.

What many in the city don’t know is that had there been no Northwestern, there might have been no Evanston.  The university was founded in 1851 by a group of Methodists who also established the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.  Six years later, a municipality was carved out of Ridgeville Township at the behest of this same group and the town was named after John Evans, one of the original Northwestern trustees who later became governor of Colorado.

Evanston was first incorporated as a town in 1863 and as a city in 1892.  It is the home of nearly 75,000 residents today, living in nearly 31,000 homes, more than half of which were built before 1940.  Like many owners of older homes, lots of Evanston homeowners are dealing with the maintenance problems that go hand-in-hand with age, including the need to seal their basements.

3 Possible Ways to Seal a Basement in Evanston

Just as in neighboring Wilmette and Skokie, a home in Evanston requires a specific recommendation to seal its basement but there 3 commonly used ways to accomplish it.

Interior Drain Tile – One common way that an Evanston basement experiences seepage is when hydrostatic pressure under the foundation forces water through the cove joint or cracks in the basement floor.  This pressure can be alleviated by installing interior drain tile, perforated pipe buried in a bed of washed stone under the basement floor that carries the water to a sump pump where it can be ejected from the basement.  Installed properly, interior drain tile will be maintenance-free for the life of the home.

Exterior Waterproofing – Water can also enter a basement through patches of porous concrete or masonry, cracked or deteriorated mortar joints or over the top of the foundation.  This seepage can be stopped or prevented by applying an exterior waterproofing membrane to the foundation.  The membrane, a thick coat of asphalt-modified polyurethane applied with a trowel, seals the basement wall from the exterior and prevents seepage.

If a lot of groundwater is present outside the foundation, the membrane can be supplemented with exterior drain tile and covered with drainage board to channel water downward.

Crack Repair – The most common type of residential foundation in the Chicago area is poured concrete and the most common source of seepage in this foundation is a non-structural crack in the wall.  The best way to repair such a crack when it is allowing water into the basement is to inject it with expanding polyurethane from the interior.  The polyurethane material fills and seals the crack permanently and remains flexible when it cures to prevent the crack from re-opening when minor foundation movement occurs.

If the crack is inaccessible on the interior, it can be repaired on the outside.  A small hole is dug along the foundation at the site of the crack and then filled with sodium bentonite clay.  The clay forms a flexible, permanent water barrier on the exterior of the foundation.

No matter what type of repair is indicated, an Evanston homeowner needs the help of a full-service basement waterproofing contractor to seal his or her basement.  At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve helped hundreds of Evanston homeowners keep their basements dry since our founding in 1957 and count them among our more than 300,000 satisfied customers.  Why not ask for our free advice?


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