Chicago’s been around a long time, approaching 200 years. Somebody’s cow burned the place down once but that just gave Chicagoans a chance to start over and build the world class city on the shores of Lake Michigan that it is today. Chicago’s oldest homes, dating from the 1830’s, were survivors of the fire but most of the city’s homes were built afterward as the city’s boundaries expanded and population grew.
Regardless of when a Chicago home was built, the chances are good that it has a basement and equally good that, when heavy rains or melting snow soaked the soil around it, that the basement leaked. So, generations of homeowners have asked the question “How do I fix my leaky basement in Chicago?”
3 Ways to Fix a Leaky Basement in Chicago
Any basement waterproofing company worthy of being in business will offer a variety of solutions and approaches to a leaky basement in Chicago. This is important because leaky basements are caused by a number of different factors and conditions.
Fix Seeping Wall Cracks – The most common cause of a leaky basement in Chicago is a crack in a poured concrete foundation wall that allows seepage into the basement. It’s important that the homeowner know the difference between a structural and nonstructural crack but most cracks don’t affect the stability of the foundation. They do make for leaky basements and need to be repaired. The best method of permanently fixing a seeping wall crack is to inject it from the interior with expanding urethane. The urethane expands to fill the crack all the way to the outside soil and remains flexible when cured to prevent the crack from re-opening from minor foundation movement.
An alternative method when the inside of the foundation wall isn’t accessible is to dig a small hole on the outside of the cracked wall and fill it with sodium bentonite clay, which will create a permanent “positive side” repair.
Install Drain Tile — Whether it is interior drain tile under the basement floor or exterior drain tile outside the foundation the function is the same – collect ground water that would otherwise end up in the basement and carry it off to a sump pump. Exterior drain tile, perforated PVC pipe buried next to the foundation footings in a bed of washed stone, collects water from outside the foundation and relieves lateral pressure that causes seepage and wall cracks. Interior drain tile collects ground water from under the basement floor and relieves hydrostatic pressure that causes seepage from floor cracks and through the cove joint. Both are effective, permanent safeguards against leaky basements in Chicago and will perform for the foreseeable future without maintenance.
Apply Exterior Waterproofing Membrane – Most newer Chicago homes sit on poured concrete foundations but many older houses have masonry foundations – concrete block, brick, stone, even telephone tile. One particularly effective solution for leaky masonry basements (suitable for poured concrete, too) is an exterior waterproofing membrane – asphalt-modified polyurethane sealant troweled onto the outside of a foundation in a thick coat to provide an impermeable “positive side“ barrier to seepage. Masonry walls often experience seepage through aging mortar joints and, in the case of concrete block, through the porous block itself.
Of course, there are methods to prevent leaky basements from ever occurring – that’s a topic for another day.
Regardless of the cause of the leaky basement, the Chicago homeowner needs a professional basement waterproofing contractor that can quickly and accurately diagnose the problem and offers exactly the right solution, permanent and cost-effective. At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve been fixing leaky basements in Chicago since 1957 and count tens of thousands of Chicago homeowners among our more than 300,000 satisfied customers. Why not ask for our free advice?