A bowed wall is a critical concern, it threatens the structural integrity of your home. Your entire house is relying on the strength of your foundation. If a wall gives way, it poses a threat to the safety of you and your family. Even more, it will cause extensive damage throughout your home, which is expensive to repair.
If you have a bowing wall, chances are it’s due to hydrostatic pressure. This pressure is caused when the ground around your home is saturated with water. When too much water accumulates, it starts to “push” or exert pressure against your foundation walls.
The three types of repair are carbon fiber straps, wall anchors, and helical tiebacks. We’ll walk you through the details of each one. Based on how far your wall is bowing, one of these solutions will be the best option for your home.
If a return to plumb (it’s original upright position) is what you want, this may require wall straightening. Wall straightening requires excavation outside the basement, A contractor then uses hydraulic jacks inside the basement to push the wall back into position. Once in its optimal place, the wall is then secured, usually with carbon fiber straps.
Typically, if your wall is bowing 2 inches or less, Foundation Authority can install carbon fiber straps. The carbon straps are made of a kevlar material that, once properly secured, should restore your home’s structural stability.
The straps are secured to the wall with epoxy. This epoxy seals the wall and fuses the strap to it. Straps should be placed approximately every 4 feet along the wall. This kind of installation can be done entirely from the inside of the basement, so no excavation is required.
The straps have a special anchor at the top and bottom of the wall, to prevent shearing or sliding. Once the installation is complete, the straps and wall can be painted to minimize the repair’s appearance.
If your wall is bowing more than 2 inches, you need to consider steel wall anchors. Installation requires work both inside and outside of your basement. Anchors, when properly installed, should also restore your home’s stability.
To install a wall anchor, Foundation Authority needs at least 10 feet of usable and accessible ground outside the basement. This requires a certain amount of excavation, and how much impact this has will depend on what is outside the damaged wall. This can mean removing or relocating items like decking, porches, sidewalks, garages, etc.
A steel plate or channel is attached to your basement wall, then another plate is buried in the yard, and the two are connected by a steel shaft. As the steel rod is tightened, it exerts pull on the wall and the anchor in the yard holds it fast. Anchors should be placed about every 5 feet along the bowing wall.
If your property is arranged in such a way that anchors are not an option, you’ll need to use tiebacks. A few examples of this would be:
- The excavation would require removing a home addition.
- There is an inground pool in that space.
- Installing the anchor would cross your property line into the neighbor’s yard or onto public land.
- Tiebacks are the most expensive option, but they are sometimes necessary. If your wall is bowing more than 2”, but your property arrangement doesn’t allow for anchors, helical tiebacks are the best option. Like the other two options, properly installed tiebacks should restore your home’s structural stability.
- A steel shaft with helical (screw-like) plates on the end is drilled at an angle through the earth outside of your foundation. This shaft is secured to the inside of the basement wall. This is done with a large steel channel that is anchored into the floor and extends up to (or near) the top of the wall.
At this point, the contractor twists the tieback to a specific torque that holds it firmly. Usually, tiebacks are 14-21 feet long, but in certain cases, longer lengths are required to get the proper “grip” or resistance on the soil.