Abandoned Below Grade Window

abandonded below grade window interior

 

Midwest Waterproofing usually has several ways to solve a  waterproofing problem. There are different needs for each homeowner and we try to tailor our solution to their unique situation.  One that we ran into recently is called Abandon Below Grade Window.

 

 

 

The homeowner had a window well, below grade, that was in an area of the basement where it was no longer needed. Previously she  had the window and window  well removed and bricked over.  As the picture at the top shows, it was leaking at the repair and a crack had formed. 

 

 

However, the contractor wasn’t an expert in waterproofing. This lasted for a few years until it began to leak again. Exasperated, she called Midwest Waterproofing. Our 30+ years of construction experience gives us the insight to solve any seepage solution. We attacked the problem by removing all the previous work. It might seem like overkill but when we do a job and warranty work, we want to ensure all aspects are done correctly. We do not accept another party’s work in our solution unless they work with us. We the re-bricked the opening allowing for the mortar to dry. Then we applied an Elastomeric Coating and allowed that to dry for 24 hours.

 

The last day the guys replaced the soil and placed the decorative rocks that they removed earlier. They also injected the crack using our Epoxy/Urethane repair. The result it a waterproof warrantied seal for a fraction of the cost of window well replacement.

Click here Book Online  or call 815-245-6890 to schedule your free in-home, no-obligation consultation with one of our Waterproofing Experts.

What is an Egress Window?

egress window

Dear Chris,

“I read recently about firemen using an Egress Window to enter a home that was on fire. I have never head of this term. Could you explain this to me? “

Sarah, Glen Ellyn, Il.   

 

 

A vital portion of your safety program is what’s known as Egress. Although municipalities requirements vary, an Egress Window is generally required by code in a below-grade bedroom and in a finished basement. This allows a means of escape in a fire or other emergency. Imagine a kitchen fire that blocks the basement exit from the stairs. Occupants could be trapped with no escape. An egress window not only allows for escape for residents, but it’s sized to allow a fireman to enter wearing turn-out gear and an air tank. This is usually a 36” opening required by code.  

Egress windows are not all created equal. 

 

Midwest Waterproofing Egress Windows contain:

  • Full-Depth window well. Many companies piece the well together using a couple window wells to get to the appropriate depth. This creates and inherent weakness and gaps that leak.
  • All metal window well liners. Corrugated and galvanized, Midwest Waterproofing Window well liners are the strongest available and will look new for several years. Plastic liners are susceptible to cracking when frozen in the tough Chicagoland winters. Cracked window well liners will allow a cascade of water in the well and could overwhelm the drain.
  • A fully functioning drain is vital. A clogged or missing drain can create a fishbowl in a window well during a heavy downpour. If the interior window breaks under pressure, an uncontrollable cascade of water will inundate your basement.
  • Picking the correct window is vital. It needs to be easy to open, it needs to be large enough to allow entrance and exit and since the window is so large, it needs to be energy efficient.
  • Another important point is when your poured concrete wall is cut to accommodate the new, larger egress window avoiding over-cuts are vital. Over-cuts can create cracks in the future leading to seepage. Midwest Waterproofing uses a technique to avoid this problem.
  • Also, the flanges of the widow well are covered with our membrane to eliminate water seeping behind the window well. 
  • The final piece of the puzzle is a very strong cover. Our covers are custom cut, hold up to 500 lbs., and make it very difficult for the bad guys to get into but easy for the residents to exit in emergency.

 

Midwest Waterproofing provides a complete package to cover every element of Egress Windows and take the guess work out.

To set an appointment for a free consultation with a Midwest Waterproofing Expert click here Book Online or call 815-245-6890

Over-The-Top

over the top membrane

One of the more interesting waterproofing issues and one of the simplest to repair is what is called “over the top”. There is an inherent weakness on a house where the foundation and first course of brick at the bottom meet. A poured concrete foundation can be as much as 12” thick where the first course of brick sits on a bed of mortar that is barely 3” thick. The problem occurs when landscaping is stacked up against the house covering this joint. Water is allowed to sit here and freeze/thaw cycles slowly crack and break out the mortar. The result is a stream of water cascading down the foundation wall. This can be verified by one of our Waterproofing Experts running a hose and duplicating the issue.

Its Not the Landscapers Fault

 

The landscaper’s job it to make things look pretty, our job is to make things dry. The solution is what we call Exterior Waterproofing Membrane. The area to be sealed is determined. The installers dig just slightly below the surface and strike a line just below the top of the first course of bricks. They first clean the area the membrane is to be applied. Then the membrane is trowel applied to control the thickness. After a 24-hour curing period, the landscaping is returned to normal. The only thing visible is a perfectly straight line of membrane hardly detectable by someone not looking for it.

It is an elegant solution to a waterproofing problem very few people know exists. But with our 30+ years of construction experience, we are able to diagnose and solve almost every waterproofing problem. If you have a vexing water problem, click here Book Online or call 815-245-6890

What We Can’t Do for You

drain pipes

When we have rainfall like we have experienced recently, a homeowner my see some seepage or walk on a wet carpeting in their basement and immediately call Midwest Waterproofing. We love the fact that when you see a water problem, you immediately think of us. However, sometimes there are issues involving water that we do not handle. We firmly believe that we are the best in waterproofing and we want to stay in our lane, so to speak. That’s why we won’t delve into plumbing issues like leaky pipes or backed-up sewers. When we get a call, we ask a series of questions that are designed to dig into the problem and ensure it’s something we are experts in and can offer solutions. Occasionally we do get calls about things we do not repair. In those cases, we are happy to offer a referral to one of our partner providers or explain what the issue could be.  Here are some problems you might experience that we are not experts in.

Plumbing Problems

We do not handle plumbing problems. How do you know whether or not the water is from seepage or plumbing? Here are some tips:

If you are in the city and the water is coming up from the floor drain, it is a plumbing issue. (I know, it seems odd, but the floor drain in the city is connected in most areas to the sewer system. That would require a flood control system. We would be happy to give you a referral to a plumbing partner provider)

Is the water dripping from above? That is either a leaky supply pipe or a leaky drain line. Both would have to be repaired by a plumber.

Is the water coming in from behind a washing machine? It could be the supply or drain lines are leaking. If so, it’s a  plumbing repair.

Condensation

Is the water coming in from the chimney? This one is tricky. Chimney’s are hollow cavities. If the water is dripping from the cleanout, it’s most likely condensation. If you had a new furnace or high-efficiency water heater installed recently, call the installer and have them check it out.

In the summer, is the water leaking from around the furnace? Again, a tricky one, but check the condensation lines from the furnace. It could be a loose or broken condensation line.

Another problem we see on occasion is what we call “above grade issues”. That is when a window, calking, roof problem or condensation is allowing water in and it cascades down a wall and pools on the floor in the basement. Running a hose on a dry day and soaking the suspected area usually reveals the problem.

We are Here to Help

When you call Midwest Waterproofing, expect an expert to guide you in the right direction. If that is making an appointment, walking you through the process of inspecting your condensate lines or giving you a plumber referral, we are here to help. Call 815-245-6890 or Book Online today!

Epoxy vs. Urethane: Sealing Cracks in Poured Concrete Foundation

Crack Repair

The evolution of sealing cracks technology over the last decade has been astounding. Years ago, the common practice was to chunk out  both sides of the crack, essentially making it larger, then using  hydraulic cement to fill the void. This practice over time made things worse. The crack was larger, thereby reducing the structural integrity of the foundation. One practice was to make the crack  large enough to insert a pipe to drain the water into the ground.

This not only didn’t work, it made the foundation very weak. I had a client who bought a house where this practice was used and the wall had collapsed inward from where two cracks had been repaired using this technique. It was a very expensive mistake. Remember, Epoxy/Urethane can only be used on poured concrete foundations on cracks that aren’t a structural issue. Vertical cracks, not in corners, qualify for repair using this technique

A New Era of Sealing Cracks

Thankfully today we can utilize the advancement in technology to seal a crack permanently without disruption to the foundation or the homes inhabitants.  We use a combination of Urethane and Epoxy. You are probably aware of the technology if you use Gorilla Glue or Great Stuff expanding foam. Urethane is a two-part mixture that when combined expand up to 25 times its size when it meets water. Epoxy as well is a two-part mixture that cures rock hard and has the ability to hold on to concrete.

sealing cracks

Imagine a 1/8” crack that runs straight up and down on your poured concrete basement wall that is leaking in heavy rains. Midwest Waterproofing installers first apply “ports” that are strategically placed along the crack. Then an Epoxy is applied that seals the crack from the interior. This holds the ports in place and forces the urethane into the crack and does not allow it to expand back into the basement. The installer then uses a simple calk gun to inject the Urethane into the crack very carefully. The Urethane expands into the entire crack and actually expands to the outside helping to seal the crack and remain flexible for the duration of the Lifetime Warranty. No chiseling out of concrete, no odors, no noise, no disruption.

Professional Installation

It may seem like an easy process but it has to be done by professionals with years of experience.  An inexperienced installer can create huge problems if Epoxy/Urethane is misused. If an installer uses urethane around a pipe, such as a sewer line, and there is a crack or small opening in the pipe, the urethane will enter the pipe, find water and expand up to 25 times its size! This will clog the pipe and create an expensive disaster. All the drains in the house are immediately taken out of service. A plumbing company has to dig down several feet to repair the pipe. Thousands of dollars plus untold inconvenience for the home owners.  Midwest Waterproofing has 30+ years of construction experience and has repaired miles of foundation cracks.  

If you have a crack in your poured concrete foundation, leaking or not, call 815-245-6890 now or Book Online for a free in-home consultation.