A small bucket of soil might not be very heavy, but imagine the pressure all the soil around your foundation can produce — especially if it has been saturated with water. Basement walls are designed to support in an up-and-down direction; however, the soil around the foundation presses in from the sides. This is called lateral pressure.
Bowed or buckling walls don’t happen overnight. You want to repair the damage, but you also should assess what caused the problem in the first place and take proper measures to correct the issue. In the past, the only way to fix a buckling or bowed wall was to replace the wall. Fortunately, there now are methods that don’t require an entire foundation or wall replacement, with some methods being minimally invasive and rather quick to do.
Helical Piers and Tie-backs
After determining what needs to be done, the company you hired will bring in large equipment with the strength to push the helical piers into the ground, reaching stable soil. The piers are long shafts attached to the footers that prop up the foundation. After digging around the foundation, the crew drives the piers into the ground and uses brackets and plates to attach the piers. Helical tie-backs are similar to helical piers.
In slabjacking, as the name might suggest, all or part of a concrete slab is raised back to its original height. Rather than using a mechanical jack, as you might with a vehicle, stabilizing foam material is used. With slabjacking, small holes are drilled into the sunken concrete slab. These holes are the entry points for a this stabilizing foam. The foam is injected underneath the slab, expanding and filling in any areas of erosion that were the causes of the sinking. Holes get patched and smoothed so they don’t stick out like sore thumbs.
Carbon Fiber Straps
After straightening the foundation, or if the bowing is minor, an experienced company can apply carbon fiber straps to the basement wall where necessary. No excavation is required. The repair area is ground down to remove any dirt, oil, paint, etc. An extremely tough epoxy bonds the strap to the wall, reinforcing the wall in that location. The fibers won’t rust, and you can paint over the straps if you want.
Wall anchors provide additional support to bowed areas, going down to stable soil. Metal plates are installed in previously drilled holes in the wall. Steel beams are attached via the plates to create additional support to any wall section that is bowing. The plates are bolted down so they don’t wiggle loose in the future. Some wall anchors can be tightened.
To prevent cracks and bowing in walls in the future, after the repair is complete, check to make sure you are doing everything possible to keep water from saturating the soil around your foundation. Install gutters on the front and back of your house, including downspouts with long extensions pointed away from the foundation. If you can, install an underground drainage system that takes gutter water several feet away from the foundation.
If you notice small cracks in your basement walls, do not wait for them to get bigger. Fix them now, while it’s relatively easy to do and before it affects the structural integrity of the foundation. Install a sump pump or some sort of internal drainage system so water doesn’t pool in your basement.
Acculevel Has Your Walls Standing at Attention
At Acculevel, we know how important your home’s foundation is because we are foundation repair experts. We’ve been helping people with wet basements, cracked foundations, and buckling walls since 1996. We are always upfront about estimates and honest about what work needs to be done. We never do unnecessary repairs. Let our family help your family. To schedule an appointment for an estimate, contact us at (866) 669-3349 or email us at [email protected].