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Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 by Braden Cook
Congratulations! If you're reading this, you've made it all the way through the foundation blogs! It is no surprise to you how this blog will be set up, so we will hop right into solutions for wall failure, or rather solutions that (don't) work, and move our way to reasonable options!
This first option is something that we've talked about in another blog, so we won't go into too much detail; total foundation replacement. Total foundation replacement is essentially where a house is completely raised off of the ground (foundation) and then has a new foundation poured. While this seems like a good option, it is actually one of the worse ones. Total foundation replacement is extremely expensive and does not tackle the issue at hand -- the soil. If you're having issues with wall failure, this is one of the last "solutions" you want to do!
This is going to get confusing but bear with me on this. This section is going to be talking about carbon fiber straps. Now, carbon fiber straps can be a somewhat reliable option, especially if you have the correct type, but others are very stiff and are not great for helping to fight against wall failure. We'll talk about the types that don't work first. There are two types of carbon fiber straps that don't work very well, the first type being laminates. These are very strong products but are also extremely rigid. So while the may have the strength to support the wall, they may not have the flexibility to attach to the wall correctly. The other type of carbon fiber strap that don't work well are called grid systems. These grid systems don't have nearly as much or tightly woven carbon fiber strips as the laminate systems and therefore aren't nearly as strong, even though they are flexible.
So why can't you just combine the best of both worlds? Well lucky for you, Foundation Supportworks has done this with their CarbonArmor and ArmorLock System. This carbon fiber strap is both flexible and extremely strong, 10 times stronger than steel. Everything about this system is great for basement walls. Not only are the straps themselves strong, but the epoxy and the ArmorLock anchorage system are extremely tough and well-designed.
On to the next, steel I-Beams. These I-Beams can sometimes be an option for a homeowner, especially when there is limited space between property lines or other obstacles. However, since these I-Beams take up a lot of room and run floor-to-ceiling, they aren't recommended if you want to eventually finish your basement or if it is already finished.
An even better option than I-Beams is the PowerBrace system. These PowerBraces are even better than I-Beams because of their ability to be tightened over time. This means that not only can the wall be stopped from getting any worse, but it can actually improve the condition of the wall over time.
One of the most popular ways that we use to handle wall failure is wall anchors. Simply put, wall anchors consist of three separate parts, 2 plates, and a rod. A hole is dug several feet away from the home, where one anchor plate will be installed. A hole is then drilled through the basement wall, all the way to the Geo-Lock anchor that is installed outside. The actual wall anchor plate is installed on the basement wall and the entire system is tightened. These really are one of the best and most effective solutions that we offer. These walls have the best opportunity to straighten the wall over time and the only downfall is that you must have a few feet outside of your home to install the outside plates.
As always, I'm including a table from FSI's "Foundation Repair Science" book!