Bowed Wall Repair
A bowed, bowing, or buckling basement wall is a serious problem that, if left unchecked, can result in a complete foundation failure resulting in the need for foundation replacement or reconstruction. Basement walls are under a tremendous amount of force from the soil pushing against it from the outside. As the water levels fluctuate, the soil around your home puts what is known as hydrostatic pressure on the outside of the walls. Over time, this pressure can cause your basement walls to bow inward and it is a relatively common problem problem in the Michigan area.
Bowing Basement Wall Warning Signs
The biggest, and most obvious, warning signs for a bowing basement wall is when the wall is pushing inward into the basement space. This will be accompanied by long, horizontal cracks that will span the length of the bowing area. If you have a finished basement, you may not notice it until the drywall starts to crack or you have a leak in the area. There may also be water leaking through the bowing wall but you may not be in need of a basement waterproofing system just yet because regularly when we repair the bowing wall, we prevent the leak from happening.
How Do We Repair Bowed Walls?
The method we use to repair your bowing basement walls will depend on how severe the problem is as well as the material used for your walls. There was a time when a total foundation rebuild or replacement was the only option for this type of issue but now there are a number of far more reasonable and cost effective solutions. We use a range of products which include Grip-Tite® wall anchors and carbon fiber straps as well as steel I-beams.
The repair of bowed basement walls is a very specialized type of foundation repair that we have a lot of experience with. While the wall may seem like it could collapse at any time, in general most of the walls we repair are still structurally sound and only require a moderate repair. Regardless of how serious, or not, you think the problem is, you should get in touch with someone to evaluate the wall and get a repair in place.
Using wall anchors that have been expertly engineered and manufactured by Grip-Tite® to stabilize and repair a failing basement wall. The wall anchor system consists of 3 main parts: a wall plate, an anchor that goes in the soil, and a steel rod that connects the two. We begin by installing an anchor plate into the soil outside the home away from the wall. Next we locate where the wall plate will need to go inside the basement along the bowing wall and install the plate. Finally, we connect the two plates with a long steel rod. The rod is tightened until the wall is pulled back into position. As long as the exterior plate has been installed far enough away from the wall, this will prevent the hydrostatic pressure from pushing the wall inward again.
The wall anchors are only used in the worst of scenarios and are not the process we use on a regular basis. It is, however, the strongest and most permanent repair we can provide.
Carbon Fiber Strips
For the average bowing wall, the problem is noticed fairly early and the wall has not had a chance to start really invading the space. When this is the case, we make use of Grip-Tite® carbon fiber strips to repair the bowing wall. Carbon fiber is incredibly strong and is designed to provide additional structural integrity for the basement wall. The installation process is very straight forward. We begin by cleaning the wall down to bare material. We then install the strips vertically across the cracks using a high strength epoxy. Once the epoxy has cured, the carbon fiber strips are permanently bonded to the wall and will prevent it from bowing inward any more.
The carbon fiber strips and epoxy are warranted for 25 years and will add structural rigidity to the wall which, in most cases, is enough to prevent the bow in the walls from getting any worse.
The final way we can repair a bowing wall is through the use of steel I-beams. These are very strong and are most often used when the bowing wall is just starting to have a problem. We install these when carbon fiber is not an option or the material of the basement wall will respond better to it. These are constructed of high strength steel and are very unlikely to bend or warp when compared to past alternatives such as wood. To install the I-beams we will attach a plate to the footing of the wall and to the header or joists of the floor above and attach the beam to the two plates.
The I-beams come in a variety of lengths and widths to accommodate many different situations and have been used in the past to repair even the most severely bowed basement wall problems.
If you have a bowing basement wall problem at your home or business, do not hesitate to contact us and have one of our experts provide you with a basement wall inspection. Please take a moment to fill out our contact form below or give us a call today. We look forward to speaking with you and helping you with your bowed wall problem.