Summer thunderstorm season is just beginning in the Milwaukee area, so it's time for more thoughts on wet basement repair in Brew City.
In a previous article we discussed how to waterproof a concrete block foundation, the kind most commonly found in the Milwaukee area. To solve seepage problems in block foundations, two methods are usually the most effective:
Exterior Waterproofing Membrane – A waterproofing membrane is best used for repairs involving only a portion of the leaking foundation wall or when a homeowner doesn’t want to disturb a finished basement. Exterior drain tile may be added to the repair to prevent further seepage.
Interior Drain Tile – This is the more common method because it is more economical and doesn’t require exterior excavation. Interior drain tile also prevents seepage caused by hydrostatic pressure under the basement floor.
Even though the concrete block foundation is prevalent among older homes in Greater Milwaukee, newer homes in the area are trending toward poured concrete foundations.
If the home is newer and has a poured concrete foundation, interior drain tile can also be an effective means of ensuring a dry basement. Interior drain tile will prevent the seepage of ground water down foundation walls, through the floor or the “cove” joint where the wall meets the floor.
Crack Repair – Wall cracks are the most common source of water seepage in a poured concrete foundation and they are also the simplest to repair by injecting expanding urethane into the cracks from inside the basement. In this process, a waterproofing technician first installs plastic injection ports spaced along the length of the crack. A sealer coat of epoxy is applied over the crack and, once it has set up and enclosed the crack, the technician will inject urethane into the ports. The urethane expands to fill the crack all the way to the outside soil, preventing any further water infiltration.
Yard Drainage -- Of course, basement water seepage problems in any Milwaukee home can be greatly reduced by correcting exterior problems affecting yard drainage. Clogged gutters, poor grading and downspouts that discharge close to the foundation all can cause or worsen a seepage problem. One popular solution to the downspout problem is to install underground downspout extensions that carry water far from the foundation. They also look and work better than the unattractive above-ground plastic “snakes” from the hardware store.
The Milwaukee area has some unique weather and water table issues and Milwaukee basements have their unique characteristics. When selecting a basement waterproofing company to do any of the things we’ve talked about here, make sure you choose one that understands the differences.
No matter what kind of foundation, U.S. Waterproofing has the proven expertise to recommend the longest-lasting, least disruptive and most economical way to stop water seepage. We’ve been in business for more than 55 years and have been serving homeowners in southeastern Wisconsin for more than 30 years. We know our way around block and poured concrete foundations, understand the effect of Lake Michigan on area water tables and even know where to find the Palmer valve. And, our advice is free.
If you’re in Milwaukee, or wish you were in Milwaukee, and have questions about the area’s unique basement waterproofing problems, please ask them in the Comments box below.