basement wall repair

Basement Wall Repair

Basement Wall Repair

How do you know what the best basement wall repair is for your basement?  There are several types of foundation repair methods available and each is designed to solve a specific issue. There are basement walls that are tipping in at the top and basement walls that are bowing in along a horizontal crack.  Then there are foundations that are crumbling or have severe mortar rot.  Some basements have settling issues which result in vertical cracks in basement walls or stair step cracking in the walls.  And then there are basement walls that have a sheer break in them resulting in the wall sliding inwards along the break.

Danger: Basement foundation problems can be dangerous. Please call 1 (330) 454-8066 to schedule an inspection by a basement professional.

Interviewing foundation repair companies can add to the confusion because you may get differing proposals.  The reason this may happen is due to the numerous foundation repair companies that hire and train salespeople to sell a specific product or method.  Foundation repair contractors that are part of a national chain or franchise will only propose (quote) the solutions they have contractual agreements to sell.  These contractors often present many solutions and go through a sales process to bring you to a conclusion that the one product they install is the one you need.  So look for locally owned and operated foundation repair contractors who can not only offer different solutions but also install any of them when you need basement wall repair.

bowing basement wall needing basement wall repair

Bowing basement walls

basement wall sheering

Basement wall shifting off base / sheering

basement wall collapse

Basement wall collapse

basement wall mortar rot

Basement wall with mortar rotting and block decaying

As a rule of thumb, basement walls that are bowing in can be reinforced to prevent further movement.  Note: up to 2″ of inward bowing or less is required, anything beyond that and your wall is no longer structurally sound and should be replaced. Some basement walls can be straightened, but only if there are open cracks that have never been filled in.  Continuing the thought of straightening bowing basement walls, to do it properly you must excavate the soil away on the outside first to relieve the pressure allowing the wall to go back to its best position.  Walls that have the cracks caulked or filled in will not straighten up.  The filler binds the joint and prevents the crack that opened from closing back up which is what straightening the wall is actually doing.

Back to reinforcing bowing basement walls.  Steel I beams as a basement wall repair method can be used.  Steel I beams are to be buried below the floor and cemented in at the bottom and properly attached to the wood structure above.  In this scenario the floor below and the wood structure above are actually holding the I beam in place.  Steel beams are straight so they only touch the wall where it is bowed out.  The gaps at top and bottom between the wall and beam should be filled in to prevent the wall from shifting behind the beam.  Downsides are steel beams are unsightly, can rust, and still can flex.  Also if the soil conditions outside push on the wall it can cause the beam to put pressure on the wood structure causing it to shift or twist.

The latest basement wall repair method for bowing basement walls is carbon fiber mesh “straps” which are embedded into the face of your foundation walls. And the latest of those are made by Fortress Stabilization who has developed a system made of both carbon fiber and Kevlar meshed together giving them the ultimate in tensile and shear strength. These straps are smooth to the wall and paintable making them barely noticeable.  Carbon fiber / Kevlar mesh straps are embedded into the face of the wall with a two part epoxy becoming part of the structure.  How this method works is that the straps are inflexible / do not stretch so they create tension on the wall preventing movement.  Soil pressure outside is diffused and the wall is permanently stabilized.

If your basement wall has a sheer, meaning a row of block has slid inward off of the row below it a half inch or more, it needs to be replaced.  Some basement walls with a sheer less than a half inch can be stabilized with steel beams to prevent further movement but for the most part this is an indication of severe drainage problems resulting in water build up at the bottom of the basement wall outside.  This build up results in the foundation and or mortar rotting out, becoming weak, and resulting in the shift.  Often times this results in dirt and/or mud coming into the basement through the broken areas.

Tipping basement walls are a result of them not being well attached to the structure above during construction.  This is a wall that is straight from bottom to top but leaning inward at the top.  This is different from bowing as you will not see a horizontal crack that is opened up.  Fixing tipping basement walls involves first removing the soil outside to relieve pressure.  Then a system of steel beams and screws / jacks are used to slowly push the wall back into its best possible position.  The steel beams can be left in place to hold the wall from further movement or other methods can be used to secure the structure above to the foundation to prevent movement.

Obviously if you have a collapsed basement wall, it would need full replacement, enough said.

Crumbling and rotting foundations occur due to the original waterproofing seal failing, allowing water into the basement wall.  In many cases, if this is caught early enough the wall can be excavated, repaired, reinforced, waterproofed, and ultimately saved.  The cost of going through all of that may be getting very close to replacing the basement wall and some walls with rot and decay should simply be replaced.

Settling foundations are those that are sinking into poor soil conditions.  Signs of a sinking foundation include stair-step cracks, vertical cracks, and issues in the living space above such as cracked walls, ceilings, and doors that do not close properly.  To stop a settling foundation it requires installing reinforcement below the foundation installed into a solid substrate.  This method is often called underpinning or piering.  We favor the Stabil-Loc Foundation Piering System. Its patent-pending load-bearing design installs directly under the wall being lifted. Its unique interlocking high strength steel construction can support up to 300,000 lbs. There are no bolts, no brackets, no breaking the footing, and no off-set loads. This pier carries an Engineer Certified safety factor of more than 10 to 1.

Contact Pioneer today to schedule a no-pressure visit to evaluate your foundation and the basement wall repair methods available.

 

 

Cracked wall window

Foundation Repair Contractors – How to Choose Wisely

Foundation Repair Contractors – How to Choose Wisely

When it comes to foundation issues, there are usually telltale signs when there is a problem.  For example, you may notice cracks in the basements walls or floor, settling or sinking, or a bowed wall.  When you begin researching foundation repair contractors, the choices may seem overwhelming.  There is certainly no shortage of options when it comes to available contractors.  Just a quick online search may reveal a dozen or more companies who advertise foundation repair services.  At the same time, when it comes to something as important as the foundation of your home, it is imperative to choose carefully.  This article is designed to help you know what to look for with regard to foundation repair contractors.

Foundation repair contractors

What to Look For

How long has the company been in business?  Just because a company claims to have many years of “experience” does not mean they have actually been in business that long.

What is the company’s reputation?  There are many online resources such as Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, and even social media outlets to search for reviews on the company.

Is the company insured?  Any reputable company should be able to easily and quickly provide proof of this information.

Do they offer multiple repair options?  Be leery of contractors that offer the same “one size fits all” solution to every customer, regardless of what the problem is.  For more information on various repair options, click here.

Is a permit required?  An honest company will make the effort to comply with local building codes and standards.

Does the company have references?  References should be readily supplied with contact information for each customer.

Do they offer a warranty?  Any foundation repair work should be backed by a warranty.  Furthermore, the terms of the warranty should be clear and easy to understand.

Who will be on the job site?  Will there be a foreman or supervisor on site?  Are the workers employees of the company or temporary labor and/or subcontractors?

Basement wall cracking

Why it is Important

Although it may be tempting to go with the cheapest proposal, or even try a DIY option, this is not the best course of action.  In fact, this could end up costing you more in the long run.  If you make it your goal to find a contractor that will get the job done right the first time, you can have peace of mind in knowing that your foundation will be strong and structurally sound for years to come.

Pioneer Basement Solutions has been in business since 1979.  We offer various options for foundation repair, stabilization, and replacement, as well as basement waterproofing.  Visit our About to learn more.

foundation repair methods review

Foundation Repair Methods Review

Foundation Repair Methods Review

If you have noticed a wall in your basement bowing in, basement wall cracks, or a shifting foundation, you are probably starting your foundation repair methods review. There are various reasons why a foundation may begin to settle or crack.  Poor soil conditions, improper maintenance, and/or poor footing may all be factors.   Consider the following information.

Foundation Reinforcement

If you have a basement wall that is bowing in with open horizontal cracks, you may be able to stabilize it from further movement or even straighten it back into its original position.  Carbon fiber mesh straps can be utilized for this purpose.  Fortress Stabilization has developed a system made of both carbon fiber and kevlar meshed together giving them the ultimate in tensile and shear strength. These straps are smooth to the wall and paintable making them barely noticeable. Once installed, your wall becomes stronger than it was originally and will have a lifetime structural guarantee.

Furthermore, excavation may also be required to remove the weight from the wall before the straps are applied.  This removes the pressure from the soil on the outside of the house so that the wall can be straightened back into position.

Foundation Repair methods review for Bowing Wall

Bowing Basement Wall

Structural Piering

If the foundation is sinking and settling due to poor soil conditions, structural piers may be the best option.  The Stabil-Loc Foundation Pier System is installed directly under the concrete or mason wall that needs to be lifted or stabilized. Piers are driven deep within the earth into bedrock or stable, load-bearing strata which is verifiable with load-testing. As the home is lifted, a mechanism allows the part of the piering system under the footer to be rotated.  This prevents the footer from breaking, which is a feature not found anywhere else. Installation can be done quickly, with minimal excavation required. This system is designed to restabilize the sinking structure by shifting the weight of the home off of the foundation and onto the piers.  This redirects the load to more reliable earth layers underground.

Foundation repair options piers

Structural Piers

Foundation Replacement

If severe mortar rot is occurring or if the blocks are shifting, completely replacing the foundation may be the best solution.  A single foundation wall can be replaced if it is the only area that is affected, or the entire foundation can be removed and rebuilt.  There are many factors to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to replace a foundation wall.

How to Choose the Best Foundation Repair Option

So after this basic foundation repair methods review, are you starting to get an idea which of these methods would be best for your foundation issues?  Just as important as the method is the foundation repair contractor. How do you know which contractor to choose?  Keep in mind that there are various kinds of foundation issues, therefore, a company must be able to offer various solutions.  A single solution will not work for every foundation problem.  Make sure your foundation repair contractor can offer a specific solution to fit your unique problem.

We perform each of the above mentioned foundation repair options all over northeast Ohio, including the following areas:

Stark County, including Canton, Massillon, North Canton, Alliance, and Louisville.

Summit County, including Akron, Stow, Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, and Barberton.

Portage County, including Kent, Ravenna, Rootstown, Streetsboro, and Atwater.

Wayne County, including Wooster, Orrville, and Dalton.

Carroll County, including Carrollton, Minerva, Delroy, and Malvern.

Tuscarawas County, including New Philadelphia, Dover, and Sugar Creek.

For a complete list of our service area click here.

Pioneer Basement Solutions has Certified Structural Evaluators on staff.  We also work closely with various local structural engineers.  Contact us for an evaluation of your basement and a professional foundation repair methods review.

foundation settlement repair

Foundation Settlement Repair

Foundation Settlement Repair

Foundation settlement repair consists of installing support below the foundation to stop it from sinking into poor soil conditions.  The Stabil-Loc Foundation Pier System is installed directly under the concrete or mason wall that needs to be lifted or stabilized. The pier is driven deep within the earth into bedrock or stable, load-bearing strata which is verifiable with load-testing. As the home is lifted, a mechanism allows part of the piering system that makes contact with the bottom of the footer to be rotated to prevent breaking the footer- a feature not found anywhere else. Installation can be done quickly, and with minimal excavation required. This system is designed to re-stabilize the sinking structure by shifting the weight of the home off of the foundation and onto themselves, redirecting the load to more reliable earth layers underground.

Stabil-Loc Foundation Piering Systems are patented piers for virtually any foundation settlement repair. What separates them from any other pier systems is the unique method of installation and how the system was designed. Engineers created a new method and started from scratch using a piering system that places the bracket directly underneath your home and the pile (the pole of the pier) attached to the center of the bracket. This gives a much stronger and durable system that no other pier can provide- withstanding any shifts of soil conditions or pressure. These piers are also designed to drill deeper than any other system, resting the structure’s weight on bedrock or load-bearing strata (the most stable of earth’s crust layers).

foundation settlement repair

The Difference of Stabil-Loc Piers for Foundation Settlement Repair

Using traditional brackets along the side of your structure (often called offset piers) proved to be an inadequate technique for foundation repair. Lifting the structure with piers and brackets at an angle (helical piers) or offset to the side of your home would eventually bend, break, or improperly raise the foundation. In the diagram to the left you can see the instability of other systems that lead to foundation failure. Your investment in a Stabil-Loc Foundation Pier system is reliable using linear lifting instead of angular, offset, or using concrete materials. This provides a more stable and natural method of leveling your foundation.

So how do you know if you have a foundation settlement problem?  A settling foundation is very different from other foundation problems so for reference we’ll briefly look at the common foundation problems.  Horizontal cracks in basement walls lead to basement walls bowing in.  Poor attachment of the structure above can lead to basement walls tipping in at top / in effect sliding out from underneath the house above.  Bad foundation drainage can lead to water soaking into the block weakening the mortar joints and causing the basement wall to sheer off or slide off of itself.  Water damage to a basement wall can also lead to decay or rotting basement walls.  None of these issues qualify for foundation settlement repair, each issue having its own solution.

Basement settling cracks are typically vertical or they follow the mortar joints in a stair step pattern.  The soft soil underneath the footing of the wall causes the footing to settle.  The result being the wall that sits on the footing to drop causing the cracking.  So if you have the following: vertical cracks in your basement walls, stair step cracks in your basement walls, large cracks in the basement floor which is becoming uneven chances are you need foundation settlement repair.  Other tell tale signs are walls cracking in living space above, uneven floors and doors and windows that do not operate normally.

A professionally trained structural evaluator will be able to confirm weather you have a settling basement.  Measurement should be taken to identify where the foundation breaks are and how much movement there has been.  At Pioneer Basement Solutions our straight forward no sales nonsense approach can help you determine what if any needs you may have.  We never attempt to sell anything to any customer that they do not need unlike many national or franchised companies which are large marketing and sales organizations that train sales people how to sell thier products to every prospective customer they get in front of.

Contact Pioneer Basement Solutions today get-arrowto schedule your foundation evaluation and get the information you need for your foundation settlement repair.

basement wall mortar rot

Foundation repair methods

Foundation repair methods

There are different foundation repair methods used depending on your foundation problem.  Once you determine if you have bowing basement walls, a settling foundation, a shifting foundation or your basement walls are deteriorating (or some combination of the aforementioned) you can then explore the method that fits your problem.

settling foundation requiring foundation repair methods

settling foundation can cause step cracks

Settling foundations occur due to poor soil conditions underneath the foundation footing.  The weight of the structure causes the footing to crack allowing the foundation to settle / sink down into the poor / soft soil.  this can cause a ripple effect of cracking in walls above in living areas, doors that rub or won’t close and floors that slope.  Installing piers underneath the footing and driving down into solid substrate will stop settling and can even lift the structure back into original position.  Our method of installing concentrically loaded foundation piers comes with an engineer’s certification and lifetime guarantee.

Concentrically loaded foundation piers are installed directly under the wall being lifted and use the foundation as resistance to push the pier into the ground.  Other methods such as helical piers or offset piers are more limited and are nut installed directly underneath the structure.

Settling cracks in basement walls can be in a stair step pattern or almost straight vertical cracks that are open wider at top and narrow towards the floor.

 

mortar rotting to point of wall shifting & near collapse requiring foundation repair methods

mortar rotting to point of wall shifting & near collapse

If your basement wall has rotted mortar joints and blocks are shifting then most likely it is a matter of time before a major problem or collapse occurs.  Walls with mortar rot are weak from the inside so applying foundation repair methods to the wall will not ensure a stable foundation.  In that case foundation replacement may be warranted.

 

 

 

 

bowing basement wall requiring foundation repair methods

bowing basement walls with horizontal cracks that are open due to soil pressure

If you have bowing basement walls with open horizontal cracks you may be able to stabilize it from further movement or even straighten it back into original position.  Today’s latest foundation repair method for bowing basement walls is carbon fiber mesh “straps” which are embedded into the face of your foundation walls. Fortress Stabilization has developed a system made of both carbon fiber and kevlar meshed together giving them the ultimate in tensile and shear strength. These straps are smooth to the wall and paintable making them barely noticeable. Once installed your wall becomes stronger than it was originally and will have a lifetime structural guarantee.

To properly straighten bowing basement walls you must first excavate the soil away from the outside.  Once the soil is removed and the soil pressure is relieved the wall can be pushed back into position.  If the cracks have been filled in with mortar or caulking then the wall will only go back as far as the crack will close.  So be weary of foundation repair contractors who want to install clamps through your wall to the dirt outside (wall anchor) without digging it and tell you they can crank it back into position… especially if there are no open cracks!

After the walls are restored to their best position, then the stabilization straps must be applied to the face of the basement wall inside to prevent them from opening right back up.  The wall is then waterproofed and back filled with gravel to protect it from further pressure or damage.

Some foundations require a combination of foundation repair methods or replacement to solve all the issues.  To learn even more contact Pioneer Basement Solutions and have one of our foundation experts evaluate your specific foundation needs with you.  We offer a straight forward evaluation with straight forward pricing and no games or gimmicks.  Established in 1979, Pioneer is the only foundation repair contractor in business with a perfect spotless record since day one because we always treat our customer the way we want to be treated.

get-arrow  Contact Pioneer today for an ion person review of the foundation repair methods available for your basement!