Bowed Basement Walls and Your Foundation
Fortress Stabilization Systems Engineer and Contractor Resources
ENGINEER / CONTRACTOR
A foundation’s primary purpose, whether it is block, poured, or stone, is to support the compressive load of the building. However, these building components are generally weak in tensile strength and lateral forces. Thus, concrete and other building materials incorporate reinforcing materials, such as rebar, to increase the lateral load capacity of the foundation wall. Sometimes, these reinforcing methods are not enough and lateral forces can overcome the strength of the wall.
A Bowed Basement or Foundation Walls can occur as a result of soil loads pushing against the wall. Compounded with depth and other factors and the lateral forces surpass the foundation’s original resistance to these loads. Over time, these factors can produce lateral bending and the foundation or basement wall becomes bowed. This condition also produces significant cracking. If left unattended this condition will worsen with time jeopardizing both the structural integrity and resale value of the property.
Fixing Bowed Basement and Foundation Walls
A Bowed basement or foundation wall can be straightened but require excavation of foundation, lifting the weight of the structure off of the wall and pushing the wall back to as close to plumb as possible. Even after this is accomplished, the wall itself has lost the structural integrity and requires reinforcement.
You can also reinforce a concrete wall that is still within tolerance at it’s current condition without straightening. Historically, I-beams were used to correct a bowed wall by erecting the beams in a fashion that provides lateral concrete reinforcement. While remaining an effective method, installation can be expensive and the end result are obtrusive beams sticking out from the wall. In addition, the cracks which have undoubtedly occurred as a result are not addressed.
Bowed basement walls can be resolved using the latest carbon-fiber technology developed by Fortress Stabilization Systems. Using carbon-fiber kevlar sheet straps in combination with specifically designed epoxies, foundations can now be repaired and arrested with little to no obtrusiveness. The repaired bowed basement wall can then be painted thereby creating an almost invisible repair, thereby increasing the resale value of your home.
Locate a certified installer in your area to learn more about carbon-fiber kevlar repair of foundations with the Fortress System. Look through our various case studies to see how we have solved bowed basement walls for other homeowners and commercial applications.