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Basement Waterproofing Solutions in Chicago

The elements of basement waterproofing in Chicago

Chicago Basement Waterproofing problem areas, and solutions.

Foundation Crack Repair

Interior Drain Tile Systems

Exterior Drain Tile Systems

Underground Downspout Installation

Yard Water and Yard Drainage Solutions

Window Well Drainage Solutions

Crawlspace Waterproofing Solutions

Sump Pump Installation

Battery Backup Sump Pump Solutions

quality-logoHomeowners seeking a Chicago basement waterproofing solution rely on Reliable Basement Services for complete and accurate information about basement waterproofing and drainage. We serve as a resource of information to remedy water problems in Chicagoland basements and crawl spaces, no matter the cause. We only employ qualified waterproofing consultants that provide free in home estimates for the Chicagoland area. Our Chicagoland waterproofing consultants have been trained to answer questions and provide you with the very best workmanship using the highest quality products in the industry, and always supply you with the moost cost effective waterproofing solution. For more information on basement waterproofing, foundation crack repair, crawl spacewaterproofing and drainage, please contact Reliable Basement Services today.


A drain tile system, also called a French Drain, is designed to collect and redirect water seepage away from the house.

Drain tiles can be installed either on the interior perimeter of the foundation or along the exterior as a house is being built.

Drain tiles basically consist of a perforated pipe (typically a PVC pipe with weep holes along one side) set in a trench and covered with gravel. Some contractors cover the pipe with a nylon filter sock to prevent the pipe from filling with debris. Usually the water that enters the pipe is then redirected to the sump pump or away from the foundation by gravity flow.

Most drain tile systems are designed from the same concept. The differences come in the materials, shape of the pipe, and placement.

Differences in Materials and Shape

Before the 1950s, drain tiles were made of a red or orange clay material. The original drain tiles had no holes in the pipe, but instead the sections were laid with a quarter-inch space between them to let in water. Now, drain tiles are made with plastic or PVC perforated pipes.

Manufacturers have designed drain tile pipes in various shapes from round, rectangle, and square to oblong variations or pipes vents with multiple openings for increased flow.

Differences in Placement:

While the main difference in placement is outside versus inside the basement, there are mainly three different placement options for interior drain tile systems.


Interior Drain Tiles:

Interior drain tile systems can be placed either above the concrete slab, within the slab edge or under the concrete slab.

The most common placement for drain tile systems in existing homes is below the concrete slab. To install this option, a portion of the basement floor is removed (approximately 12 inches from the concrete wall). Then, a trench is dug and the pipe is set in place and covered with washed gravel. We hydro channel to direct water that enters through the foundation wall to the drain tile. The concrete is then replaced.

exterior-drain-system Exterior Drain Tiles:

Exterior drain tiles, more commonly know as footing drains, are usually installed during construction. The drain tile around the outside of a foundation acts as a piping system to collect and redirect subsurface water that moves down into and through the soil.

Installing an exterior drainage system at an existing building is the most costly, but also the most effective water control approach. This requires digging up the area around the foundation and rebuilding it similar to a new house installation. It also requires digging up shrubs and other obstacles around the house.

Exterior drain tiles can be placed beside or on top of the footing. All exterior drainage systems must drain to a sump that can be pumped out.

large-house Basements typically flood due to one of two reasons:

Foundation back fill. Much of the earth around the basement walls are removed during construction and then refilled around the basement walls after completion. Although the soil is tightly packed, it’s nowhere near as compact as it was prior to excavation, causing water to find the path of least resistance after rain or snow.


2. Hydrostatic pressure. This is simply how the force of gravity pulls down on water. In other words, if you’re in a high water table and your basement is lower than it, water will find its way through cracks and crevices to balance the pressure. It is very difficult, without a professional waterproofing company, to seal the cracks completely with any type of caulk or sealant because of the hydrostatic pressure that can push water though the smallest of hairline cracks.

As the previous article stated, be sure to check the grade around your home and ensure it is sloping away from the home at a minimum of one inch per foot. Then verify the downspouts are directing the water away from the basement walls.

Having water seep through the wall and floor intersection can be caused by a number of issues and takes some time and investigation. A couple questions would need to be answered to determine the course of action. Do you have a sump pump and drain tile? How much area is water leaking into your basement? Do you have a high water table?

examining-cracks 3. Cracks in the foundation wall. Even if an existing crack has not yet leaked, over time, the likelihood that water will permeate the crack increases greatly, thanks to the combined effects of thermal movement, drying shrinkage, and other environmental stresses. Although a crack might seem minor or small, it can grow much larger and cause water to leak inside or even result in the loss of structural integrity of the foundation.

4. Check your drainage system (also known as drain tile andsump pump). The drainage system’s main purpose is to divert water away from the home. The drain tile is typically a three- or four-inch plastic perforated pipe which has a thin protective sleeve around it allowing water in and keeping the rocks and dirt out. They are designed to catch water draining down the exterior walls or underneath the floor, and then to drain into the sump pump to be pumped out and away from your home.

If you have drain tiles, the most common cause of seepage is due to them being clogged from dirt or sand over the years, or they might be damaged.

over-the-top-of-wall 5. Over the top of the wall
Water entering at the top of the wall, between the concrete and wooden sill-plate, is due to one of 2 things: The soil grade has been built up outside the home, higher than the concrete. Homeowners, in their efforts to keep water away from the foundation, build the dirt level higher than the concrete wall, ironically creating a seepage problem through the below grade brick or siding.

Sometimes there is an above grade penetration of water, due to a caulking or tuck pointing issue. Any water that penetrates the veneer of the house will run down the back side of the siding and appear at the sill-plate juncture in the basement. The surest way to verify which of these two "spillover" problems you have is to water test by running a hose on the ground on a dry day. If water comes in, it is a below-grade problem. If water does not come in, then it is an above grade problem that will require caulking, tuck pointing or possibly roofing repairs.

6. Yard Water and Yard Drainage

home-diagramDuring a one-inch rainfall, 1,3000 gallons of water fall on the roof of a 2,000 square foot home. Without proper grading, extended gutters, and downspouts, a lot of this water flows toward your basement. To properly waterproof your home you must first manage the source of the water. Rain runoff is often the source of wet basements and foundation repairs.

7. Window Well Repair

window-wellProblems with window wells filling with water after heavy rains are a common complaint of homeowners. Too often, the blame is mistakenly put on the fact that these essential landscaping components are present. The window wells, themselves, should not be the focus of concern, but lack of proper cleaning and maintenance is often to blame for waterlogged wells.

8. Sump Pump Installation

Your primary sump pump is your first line of defense against basement flooding. The sump pumps job is to remove any water that collects in the sump pit, and is designed to maintain a lower water table. Sump pumps have a float, or switch that tells it when to turn on and off. There are many types of floats or switches… mechanical, tethered, pressure and electronic. Since the switch mechanism is the most common reason for sump pump failure your focus needs to be on picking a high quality sump pump first.

9. Crawl Space Repair

crawl-space-repairMany homes built over crawl space foundations in the Chicagoland area suffer from poor moisture management. The current trend of striving for a healthy home is damaged by crawl space moisture.

Basic Steps to Basement Waterproofing

1. On the exterior, make sure that the soil is properly graded around perimeter of home to ensure positive drainage of surface water. This may mean re-grading and/or installing a custom drainage solution.

2. Check to see that all roof run-off, gutters and downspouts, are draining away from home with positive slope. It’s best to get downspouts to discharge 10’-15’ from home. Connecting downspouts to underground 4” PVC drain pipes is a great way to direct the water away from your home

3. Also, look at all exterior concrete… driveways, sidewalks and verify that it has ¼” of fall per foot away from home. If your concrete is falling toward the home, the concrete will need to be raised, or removed and replaced, or the water will need to be re-routed by installing channel drains in proper locations

4. It is recommended that basements and crawl spaces have interior or exterior drain tile system next to footing. This system is a 4” perforated pipe backfilled with clean gravel and in most cases wrapped in filter fabric. Drainage pipe should be run to daylight if possible, when not possible, pipe should be run to a sump pit that can be installed on the interior of your home and water pumped away.

5. Determine size of sump pump to be installed. The correct sizing of your sump pump is critical, if a pump is too small it may not keep up with the amount of water coming in, also the sump discharge plays a critical role. The drain tile system is only as good as the pump or pumps discharging the water.

6. If an exterior drainage system is not an option, an interior, under-slab drain tile system can be installed and drained to the same sump pit/sump pump.

7. Once a drainage system is in place, and foundation stability is verified, foundation cracks in walls need to be sealed, this process is done by epoxy or polyurethane injection

8. Battery Backup sump pump system is highly recommended, all sump pumps fail at some point, a battery backup will ensure pumping ability if or when that happens.

Basement Waterproofing Cost

How much does it cost to waterproof a basement in Naperville and Chicagoland? The price can range from as little as $300 to as much as $10,000, depending on the repairs the basement needs. The basement waterproofing cost will depend on the extent of foundation repairs needed, can be anywhere from a simple basement crack repair, sump pump installation, interior drain tile system, or even exterior drain tile systems.

There are many waterproofing contractors that figure out the problem, and do the work for you. Be certain the company gives you a written assessment of the problem and how it will be fixed. There should be a written estimate of the total cost, a start date, how long the project will take to complete, and the length of the warranty. Estimates can run from $300 to $10,000 depending on the work to be done, so get more than one. The cost of waterproofing a basement or crawl space really depends on the problem.

The numbers are staggering, did you know that 85% of newly constructed homes with basements will experience a water problem within the first 3 years? The good news is that basement waterproofing has come a long way in the past years, and Reliable Basement Services prides itself on keeping up with the newest technology, best products and procedures. There are many existing options to fit your needs as well as your budget, to help correct that water problem. French drains , drain tile , sump pumps , foundation crack injections and that is just to name a few of the effective solutions that are out there available to help keep your basement dry. Our Chicago Basement Waterproofing consultants will be happy to visit your home and supply you with a free written estimate for your Chicago and Chicagoland Basement Waterproofing project. We provide commercial and residential basement waterproofing solutions. No need for DYI basement waterproofing solutions, Reliable Basement Services will be sure to give the most cost effective Basement Waterproofing Solution. See our different Chicago Basement Waterproofing Solutions below.

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