Basement Waterproofing When Your Foundation is Made of Brick

Basement WaterproofingYou might be surprised by how many homes have brick foundations.   While it’s probably true that most foundations are concrete block, the material that’s most often used to construct foundations can vary from region to region and from town to town.   In addition to concrete block, poured concrete is often used.  Homes can also have foundations constructed of courses of brick.  Brick foundations are especially common in older homes.

Although today they’re mostly used for decorative purposes, bricks are a versatile, time-tested residential construction material.  In fact, bricks have been used to build all sorts of structures – large and small – for thousands of years.  A full brick foundation (brick all the way down to the home’s footings, with no poured concrete or concrete block forming any part of the walls) is more than capable of bearing a home’s weight.  Even so, a brick foundation presents some special challenges when it comes to keeping the home’s basement dry.

Brick is fairly porous.  If enough years go by, water can seep in and cause the brick to deteriorate.  On top of that, there are hundreds of mortar joints between the bricks.  Because most Chicago homes with brick foundations are fairly old, it’s common for the mortar joining the bricks together to be cracked or otherwise weakened.  As a result of both these factors, seepage is fairly common in homes with full brick foundations.

This is why effective basement waterproofing is especially important for homes with brick foundations.  Fortunately, a seepage Chicago contractor can use a couple of repair techniques to prevent water from coming in.

Most of the seepage we see in full brick foundations comes through mortar joints, although sometimes it’s through the brick itself.  It’s also possible for excess pressure from saturated soil to create cracks in the foundation wall.

Some seepage Chicago contractors will recommend installing an interior drain tile system and sump pump as the right basement waterproofing method for a home that has full brick foundation walls.  Applying a thick covering coat of mortar and an exterior waterproofing membrane to the wall is even better, however.  It’s a bit more work because a deep trench must be excavated along the wall before the mortar and membrane can even be applied.  After the membrane has dried, the trench will be backfilled (in severe cases, an exterior drain tile system might also need to be installed while the trench is still open).

Neither repair method is suitable for a do-it-yourself project. You’ll need to hire the services of a local contractor with plenty of experience in waterproofing basements.

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