As a homeowner, discovering an issue with your basement wall can be quite alarming. Your basement is an essential component of maintaining your home’s structure, and a failure in your basement wall could lead to a failure in the foundation’s ability to hold up the entire home. Whether you are seeing bowing basement walls, cracks in your basement wall or water seeping in, issues with your basement can be a direct result of an unstable foundation and repair methods can vary depending on the type and extent of the damage.
To Repair Bowed Basement Walls:
Bowed basement walls aren’t just unsightly—they can become very unsafe for your home. Luckily, there are ways to help, and even potentially correct the issue without replacing the foundation.
CHANCE Wall Anchors – Cracked and bowed basement walls are a common home foundation problem that is easily repaired using the CHANCE® Wall Anchor System. This engineered system anchors the wall deep within the soil. Certified CHANCE Installers utilize the strength of the helical anchor to repair and prevent future wall movement by holding the wall in place as soil swells and builds pressure on the basement wall.
Steel Columns – Steel columns are a common repair method when it comes to fixing up bowed walls. The beams sit vertically against the wall at predetermined intervals, and rely on your home’s structure for support. During installation, the floor is broken open to anchor the beam to the floor slab at the base of the wall. The beam then attaches at the top to the floor framing of the floor above. Steel beams transfer the load of the wall to the concrete base where it is anchored, and to the floor framing where it connects at the top..
Carbon fiber fabric – Carbon fiber is another way to reinforce bowed basement walls, and is often preferred over installing steel beams because the process is minimally invasive and does not protrude from the wall, allowing it to be painted over. Even better, the installation is simple: the carbon fiber fabric is epoxied vertically to the wall at predetermined intervals. No drilling or fastening required.
To Repair Cracked Basement Walls:
Some clay soils will expand in wet conditions, which will put pressure on your basement walls causing them to crack. Conversely if there is a drought, surrounding trees may pull moisture from the soil, causing the soil to shrink and the basement walls to shift outward and possibly crack. While some cracks are natural and repaired easily, cracks in your basement wall are usually a tell-tale sign of structural damage to your home. Here are some ways a basement wall crack can be repaired that won’t address the larger foundation issue.
Filling: Cracks can be filled with several substances, and each has their benefits and drawbacks. Caulking a basement wall crack is easy and usually inexpensive, but moisture can still seep through the crack and cause problems. An epoxy can be used as well, but won’t last very long. Some homeowners resort to hydraulic cement to patch cracks, which provides a waterproof solution to crack repair, but even hydraulic cement will give way over time.
Installing a Water Barrier: Sometimes if a crack is on the outside of a basement wall, a water barrier will be added to the outside of the crack to ensure the crack doesn’t grow and that water doesn’t get in. While this solution is better than simply filling the crack, it still doesn’t address the fact that the walls are surrounded by unstable soil, and future cracks can appear.
To Repair Leaking Basement Walls:
While basement cracks are concerning, they’re even more threatening when they allow water inside your basement. Cracks aside, if your basement wall is bowing or buckling water can seep in from the floor and cause flooding. Water getting into your basement is definitely a sign of a big problem you want an expert to check out, but there are some temporary fixes homeowners try.
Polyurethane Foam: Polyurethane foam is a waterproof sealant that can be injected into a crack and prevent water entry. While this solution does fix your water problem, since water was able to enter your home in the first place you probably have a foundation issue that will impact the remaining walls in your basement.
Waterproofing: Some homeowners will apply a waterproofing compound to their entire basement wall to prevent leakage. These compounds come in the form of a spray, and can be sprayed directly on to the basement wall to create a waterproofing barrier that keeps water out. Just like polyurethane foam, this will fix the water issue, but doesn’t fix the underlying foundation problem that allowed the water to get into your basement in the first place.
Foundation damage can be wearing, but thankfully, there are several common foundation repair methods that will get your house stable and safe in no time. If you have further questions about foundation repair, see our CHANCE Solutions and contact a CHANCE Certified Specialist today.