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REPAIRS FOR COMPROMISED FOUNDATIONS

Bowing & Bulging Walls

Basement or foundation walls that are bowing or buckling are a serious problem and should be addressed as soon as possible. More than likely, the bowing has been occurring for some time, well before you’ve actually noticed the problem. Hydrostatic pressure is often the culprit. Hydrostatic pressure becomes an issue when water external to the foundation continually presses against the basement walls, causing the force applied against the wall to exceed its capacity. Expansive clay outside the foundation, compressible or improperly compacted fill, and even frost can result in excessive lateral loads being applied against the foundation, causing the walls to bow inward and crack.
Bulging walls
Bulging wall structure – click to see a larger version

Wall Anchors

One approach to fix bowing walls is to use a wall anchor system. Wall anchors are plates that are bolted to the interior basement wall. A hole is drilled in the foundation wall and the bolt extends out through the wall, where it’s attached to another plate that is dug into the earth about 6–10 feet out in the yard. The operating principle is that since the dirt won’t move, the plate against the wall won’t move – thereby adding support to the wall. There’s also a bolt in the middle of the wall plate, and the bolt is usually tightened over a long period of time, pushing the deflected wall back toward it’s original position.

Wall anchors are not appropriate for every situation involving a failing or collapsing wall. The type of soil in the yard and its consistency are factors in determining the applicability of using wall anchors, as is the amount of bowing that exists in the wall itself.
Bowing & leaning walls
Bowing & leaning walls – click to see a larger version

Steel Beams

In the past, one of the primary methods of repairing bowing basement walls was to use steel I-beams. These were set vertically against the inside of the foundation and anchored at both top & bottom to prevent any further movement of the wall. This method is still used, but it results in large, bulky beams remaining behind and taking up space in the basement. As a result, steel I-beams have largely been replaced by a process called Carbon Fiber Strapping.
Carbon fiber Strapping

Carbon Fiber Strapping

Carbon fibers are high-strength strands that are woven into a type of fabric that is virtually indestructible. More importantly, this fabric does not stretch. Installation of the carbon fiber fabric, or strips, is fast, often being completed in a single day. The wall surface is prepped in the locations where the strips will be placed, and then a high-strength epoxy is applied. The carbon fiber strips are then embedded into these prepped sections under pressure, and the strips are angle-bolted at the top of the wall.

One of the drawbacks of carbon fiber repairs is that the method can only be used on walls that have experienced minimal bowing or deflection – usually no more than two inches at the most. But the carbon fiber method of repairing bowing or deflected walls has several distinct advantages:
  • The carbon fiber is incredibly strong and cannot break
  • The strips are hardly noticeable when in their finished position, and can be painted over or framed around if a finished basement is the end goal
  • There is no maintenance once the repair is finished
  • The cost of carbon fiber strapping repairs are usually about one-half that of steel I-beam methods
StablWall system

StablWall

Real Dry works with and recommends the StablWall system of carbon fiber repair products. StablWall consists of carbon fiber sheets, and the sheets themselves consist of thousands of strands linked together and running in the same direction. When these sheets are bonded to a concrete structure, they add tremendous strength to that structure.

The StablWall System also consists of specially engineered epoxies that bond the carbon fibers to a concrete wall or structure. Once bonded, the wall becomes significantly stronger than it was before – thereby eliminating the worry of additional cracking or bowing. Better yet, the StablWall system does not detract from the look or amount of space you have to work with.

StablWall is designed around the same concepts used in heavy industrial settings – the sheets are wider, and cover more area than other carbon fiber products on the market today. The benefit to you is more coverage and better strength!

At Real Dry we’ve been putting these systems & solutions in place throughout Massachusetts, western Mass., Boston, the South Shore, Cape Cod, northern Connecticut, southern New Hampshire and Rhode Island for more than 30 years. Call us today at 1-855-379-8632 or reach out to us with our Contact Form and one of the two, actual Real Dry owners will be happy to help with your particular problem.

Serving Massachusetts, northern Connecticut, Rhode Island & southern New Hampshire

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