Longtime Downers Grove business reflects on flood damage, reopening

April floods, ailing stormwater system made Perma-Seal a victim

DOWNERS GROVE – Few will ever forget the flood that rocked many Downers Grove homes and businesses the morning of April 18, mainly because so many are still recovering.

One of those businesses is Perma-Seal, a company that specializes in basement waterproofing and foundation repair and has been in town for about 20 years.

The Perma-Seal building, 513 Rogers St., needed "a complete overhaul," including replacing dry wall and inventory, computers and phone lines, and buying new furniture and computers, according to Marketing Manager Kerry Morgan.

But perhaps the largest blow came when the company was told insurance would not cover the damage, forcing Perma-Seal to pay $2 million out of pocket, according to Morgan.

Still, three-and-a-half months later, Perma-Seal is back up and fully running.

Despite the millions in damages and being forced to compensate with what equipment and tools were available, Perma-Seal was able to help more than 25,000 homeowners since the flood, the business said.

With limited crews and damages to inventory, Perma-Seal offered emergency sump pump services and set up a "cash or check-only storefront" as debit or credit transactions couldn't be completed.

"We opened up our doors and started handing out sump pumps with instructions for people whose pump was dead and they had water," Morgan said.

Owner Roy Spencer said he has seen floods that were devastating in his time, but not in this particular area.

"We've been in Downers Grove now for 23 years in this location and have never seen anything like that," Spencer said, referring to the April 18 storms.

Spencer said the flooding at the Downers Grove office was likely caused by sewers along Rogers Street that were clogged with debris.

"If that viaduct [on Rogers Street] had stayed open we probably wouldn't have had as bad of flooding," Spencer said.

Being a victim of flooding was an unusual spot for the flood-proofing business, but a valuable experience nonetheless, Morgan said.

"If anything, it's just made us more empathetic for what people go through because we've lived through it ourselves," she said.