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Foundation Waterproofing is a general term that describes the range of services performed to fix a wet basement. We often get inquiries as to “How much does it cost to waterproof a basement?” That is the equivalent of taking your car into a dealer and asking, “How much will it cost to fix my car?” The answer is generally, “It depends on what is needed”.
The first step in foundation waterproofing is to identify the source of the leak in your wet basement. This can usually be accomplished by consulting with the homeowner to determine how, when, and where the problem occurs. If the basement is unfinished, diagnosis is much easier because water leaves a trail. Rest assure, however, as our Basement Advisors are also well trained to help you find the source of the problem in a finished basement.
Common Problems and Wet Basement Solutions
A good portion of our wet basement solutions involve sealing foundation wall cracks in poured concrete foundations (poured concrete is the most common type of foundation in the Chicago metro area). Cracks are readily visible in an unfinished basement; leaking cracks leave water stains on the foundation wall. In a finished basement, the diagnosis starts by identifying the area where water first enters the basement, then searching the exterior for a crack. Most cracks extend to the top of the foundation wall, which is normally exposed above the soil line. Cracks can be sealed from the interior using our Epoxy / Urethane injection process or from the exterior using our Wall-Clay process. Both methods are very reliable in preventing further seepage through the crack and into the basement.
Another common basement waterproofing problem is when the source of seepage is at the cove joint, where the floor and wall meet. Often this is caused by hydrostatic pressure, which occurs when the water table rises after prolonged rain or snow melt. The accumulated weight of water in the ground (8 pounds per gallon) forces water underneath the footing and up into the basement. The best solution to this type of problem is the installation of a Drain Tile System, with a sump pump used to discharge the water. The drain tile (called a French drain in some parts of the country) relieves the hydrostatic pressure by providing an easy path for the water to escape, thus eliminating the water pressure so that the seepage problem goes away. The problem can be addressed from either the interior or exterior.
Foundation Waterproofing & Grading Problems
Sometimes the diagnosis will show water coming over the top of the foundation, through the mortar joint between the brick that sits atop the foundation wall. This situation occurs because the exterior grade is built up above the top of the foundation wall, either by earth or by the previous construction of driveways, walks or patios. This can easily be confirmed by running a garden hose on the ground alongside the area in question. Water will usually enter the basement quickly, so we recommend that you stand-by ready to turn off the water at a moments notice.
Often, lowering the grade is not a viable option in these cases. We usually recommend that an Exterior Subsoil Membrane be applied to the below grade portion of the wall in situations like this. It only needs to cover the wall from the soil line down and overlap the foundation by about 6 inches. Foundation waterproofing membranes are also very effective for waterproofing brick and stone foundations.