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Xypex applications
Xypex applications
October 6, 2014 12:15 PM CDT

Waterproofing at Citywide Printing

Case study


Citywide Printing is a full-service print shop in Des Plaines, Ill., that specializes in commercial printing projects. The print shop and equipment are located in a business district not far from the Des Plaines River, in a designated flood zone.

With almost $1 million of equipment inside the concrete building, Citywide owner Jim Hess looked to a local contractor for a waterproofing solution.

“I bought the building three years ago,” says Hess. “I knew it was in the floodplain, but not all that close to the river, and would need to carry FEMA flood insurance. I had heard about Xypex waterproofing from an architect who had specified it for tunnels. It sounded like a perfect solution for my print shop. I contacted Safeguard Basement Waterproofing to get more details.”

Tim Denman from Safeguard brought the local Xypex representative, Sandy Bradford-Dice, to the building site to evaluate the waterproofing options. The Citywide Printing building is a 4,600-square-foot brick building.

Denman and Bradford-Dice recommended treating the bottom four feet of exterior walls with one-half inch of Xypex Megamix II on the outside. Xypex Megamix II is a thick repair mortar ideal for patching and resurfacing concrete. It can be sprayed on or trowel applied.

Denman’s Team mixed the Xypex Mega Mix II – which was purchased at RKD Construction Supplies – on site and added a dioxide color to match the existing brick. Then they sprayed it on and troweled it to create a light sand finish. The owner also had flood doors installed throughout.

Citywide Printing flooded buildings
Citywide Printing flooded buildings
Just one year later, the value of Hess’s decision to waterproof was validated. On April 18, 2013, more than five inches of rain fell in just 24 hours on already-saturated areas in the region. Several days later, the Des Plaines River crested at 10.92 inches, six feet above flood stage. The overflow spread throughout the area, including into the commercial business district where Citywide Printing is located. The waters in the Citywide Printing area rose to 27 inches high on one side, completely surrounding the buildings.

Citywide Printing buildings withstood the flooding
Citywide Printing buildings withstood the flooding
“I would have lost everything if not for the waterproofing,” says Hess. “As bad as the flooding was outside, no water came through my building in the Xypex treated areas.”

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Originally published in Masonry magazine.

About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at


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