As a homeowner braving yet another Illinois winter, you may be tempted to put off your basement waterproofing to the spring. After all, it snows a ton in Illinois during the winter and the ground will be frozen for much of it – you can probably wait, right?
Think Again... Putting off waterproofing can be a big mistake that can permanently damage the foundation of your home. Unfortunately, Illinois has the ideal conditions for water leaks: wet weather, aging home foundations, and even during the winter, we experience sudden bouts of snow melts and above-freezing temperatures that can come without a warning. Without a protected basement, all that water could end up leaking through your home's foundation and cause bigger problems when discovered in the spring.
Illinois winters tend to have a freeze/thaw cycle, causing your house and the ground around your foundation to expand and contract at different magnitudes and rates, potentially making existing cracks larger and opening up joints where water flows through. Also, with the freezing weather comes ice jams in your pipes, downspouts, and on your roof. When your water drainage systems are clogged up, the water will have to find a different path. Typically, it flows to the ground directly beside your foundation, which is the most common place for foundation leaks.
When spring comes, temperatures will warm up and thaw the ground around your home, contracting and leaving a gap between the ground and your home, allowing water to freely flow through. Groundwater will leak into a weak home foundation if not properly sealed. And even though the weather will be warmer, there will still be rain, which can take you by surprise by flooding your basement.
Almost any repairs that can be done year-round can also be completed during the winter: non-structural cracks can be filled drain tiles can be installed, pump systems can be mounted or replaced, backup pumps can be installed and crawl spaces can be encapsulated. These are just some samples of the types on interior waterproofing you can have done over the course of the winter. Some external maintenance can also be performed if needed and weather permitting, but digging is easier during the spring and summer months.
If you wait until the weather heats up, you may be stuck with a wet or flooded basement and have to do damage control yourself for days or weeks until a waterproofing company will be able to get to your home, as they are in very high demand in the spring. Now is a great time to have your basement waterproofing done so that you can beat the crowds and not have to worry about a soaked basement come spring.
Don't let spring surprise you with a leaky basement and home foundation damages. Give yourself a peace of mind by taking advantage of the winter season and sealing your basement now.