The Lincoln Park neighborhood on the north side of Chicago has had an interesting history. Originally forest, the area’s first real development was a small army post along the Green Bay Trail, which is now the thoroughfare known as Clark Street.
When residential development began, the size and construction of homes declined as one traveled west, from mansions near the park that gives the neighborhood its name to solid middle class houses in the central area to frame shacks along the western edge. The entire neighborhood hit a low point in the 1950s and ‘60s only to spring back with a surprising rise in property values and housing stock in the last quarter of the 20th Century.
Today, the neighborhood is home to DePaul University and the Lincoln Park Zoo and a wide variety of residential buildings – brownstone mansions, high-rise condos and two- and three-flats. With its long history, it’s not surprising that more than 40% of the homes in Lincoln Park date to before 1940 and homeowners there have begun to experience the maintenance issues common to older homes, including the need to seal basements.
Sealing a Basement in Lincoln Park
Just as in any neighborhood, sealing a Lincoln Park basement requires a plan customized to a specific home but there are three common ways in which the work gets done.
Interior Drain Tile – It is common for basements in Lincoln Park to experience seepage through the cove joint and cracks in basement floors where water is forced through by hydrostatic pressure under the foundation. Interior drain tile, which is perforated plastic pipe installed in a bed of washed stone under the basement floor, eases this pressure and captures the water, carrying it off to a sump pump where it is expelled from the house. Interior drain tile requires no maintenance once installed.
Crack Repair – The most common form of foundation in Lincoln Park, as it is in all of the Chicago area, is poured concrete, although the presence of so many older homes means that there is also a significant number of masonry foundations. The most likely source of seepage in this type of foundation is from non-structural cracks in the foundation walls. The best way to repair these cracks is to inject them with expanding polyurethane from inside the basement where the material expands to fill and seal the crack all the way to the outside soil. Urethane injection is a permanent repair that remains flexible to prevent re-cracking from minor foundation movement.
If the crack cannot be repaired from inside, it can be done on the exterior. A small hole is dug to the foundation footings at the site of the crack and is filled with sodium bentonite clay. The clay sets up to form a pliable yet permanent barrier against further seepage.
Exterior Waterproofing – Water can also enter a Lincoln Park basement through porous concrete or masonry and mortar joints or over the top of the foundation wall. The best way to prevent this type of seepage is to apply an exterior waterproofing membrane, a thick coat of asphalt-modified polyurethane that is troweled onto the outside of the foundation wall to create a permanent barrier against water.
In extreme cases, the membrane can be augmented with exterior drain tile and heavy-duty drainage board that channels the water downward to the drain tile.
One caution for Lincoln Park homeowners: exterior waterproofing work can be difficult in your neighborhood because of the close proximity of homes to one another. A competent basement waterproofing contractor will take this into account.
Of course, each Lincoln Park home requires an individual plan of repair to seal its basement and each homeowner needs the services of a full-service basement waterproofing contractor. At U.S. Waterproofing, we have helped hundreds of Lincoln Park homeowners seal their basements and count them among our more than 300,000 satisfied customers. Why not ask for our free advice?