Today masonry and poured concrete foundations make up the majority when it comes to modern residential foundations. Both types of foundations are strong and have their many benefits. However, like everything man-made, they need to be maintained in order to ensure they last longer.
Pressure on Basement Walls
When a lot of pressure is exerted on basement walls, the walls begin to crack. For poured concrete walls, the result of the pressure is only seen as cracks that can be repaired with polyurethane injections or stabilization.
For masonry walls, the pressure pushes the concrete blocks inward. This results in cracking and bowing basement walls. These can be repaired either by straightening the walls or using stabilization. A combination of the two may also be applied where possible.
Methods for Straightening and Stabilizing Bowing Basement Walls
There are various methods that professional contractors use to straighten bowed foundation walls including:
- Installing wall anchors
This is considered one the traditional methods of straightening basement walls. It involves the use of large steel plates that are buried vertically in the ground. The steel plates are placed on the outside surface of the foundation. A long steel rod with threads is then passed through a hole that is drilled through the foundation wall. The rod is tightened from the interior of the basement wall. The resistance of the rod is used to pull the wall back until it is plumb.
Although effective, this approach requires maintenance as the rod must be tightened regularly after installation. The success of this method also depends on the soil stability.
- Using carbon fiber
Carbon fiber is taking the foundation repair industry by storm. The material is light, durable and strong. Once installed, there is no need for regular maintenance, making it a great choice for homeowners who don’t have the time for regular tightening.
Carbon fiber strips are applied to the wall. The number of strips to be applied as well as their placement is determined based on engineering data collected by basement contractors. The strips are applied to the wall to stabilize the wall and prevent further bowing.
- Steel channels
These are used when the bowing is extensive. The steel pieces are used to anchor the footings of the foundation.
It is important to talk to an experienced foundation repair contractor to determine which method or combination of methods will work best for your foundation. This ensures long term success.