Cracked Wall Repair: What to Do

Spotted a crack in the walls of your foundation? Don’t panic. Your home isn’t going to collapse around your ears. You simply need some cracked wall repair.

This is not a guide to providing you with quick and ineffective fixes for your wall cracks. This guide will help you get rid of the problems in your foundation for the long run. Quick fixes may seem affordable and convenient at the time but will result in long term problems that will be a nightmare to repair.

Step one

The first step is to contact an expert. This is important. It will enable you to get to find out the underlying problem that has caused the crack in the wall. If you already have a contractor in mind, then give him a call to have a look at your foundation. If not, now is a good time to start looking.

Step two

It is important to get your foundation thoroughly inspected. The foundation repair expert should be ready to inspect the structural integrity of the foundation. This is because cracks in the foundation are often a sign of a much more serious problem with the foundation. This is why it is not advisable to take the shortcut and simply fill in the cracks. It is important to determine the underlying cause of the crack.

Step three

The foundation repair expert will provide you with different solutions for the problem. If you’re not sure about the solutions offered by the contractor, you can have a second contractor come in to assess the foundation and give you their opinion. This may sound time consuming, but it will be worth it to ensure that you get the best solution for the problem.

Step four

Ask for a quotation for the repair. This is something that the foundation repair contractor can provide you having assessed the damage and determined what ought to be done to repair the foundation.

It would do you good to have at least three quotations from three different contractors. This will give you something to compare. Be sure to choose a contractor whose services you can afford. You should also ensure that you choose the contractor that offers you the best services.

It is important not to give into the temptation for quick DIY fixes for foundation wall cracks. These cracks are often a sign of a serious problem. They can also result in more serious problems if not properly fixed.

What To Do About Bowing Basement Walls

Bowing concrete block walls in your basement is not a situation to ignore. If your block walls are bowing it means there is pressure pushing against the foundation wall from the outside. If you leave it alone, that pressure will keep pushing and could cause the wall to collapse.

This pressure can be from hydrostatic pressure building up in the soil outside the foundation wall. Tree roots can also push against block walls and cause them to bow. Deterioration, settlement and shrinkage all can cause foundation cracks that could result in a weaken foundation that is more susceptible to bowing.

It is important to determine the cause of the bowing basement walls in order to permanently fix the problem. Remove the cause. If it is hydrostatic pressure, a waterproofing system and proper yard drainage will alleviate the problem. If it is a tree root you may consider removing the tree that is causing the issue.

Removing the issue is just the first step. Most likely even after you remove the cause your wall will still be bowed and in need of repair. There are several foundation repair methods to save your foundation wall.

Steel I-Beams

Steel I-beams are installed from the inside of the basement. You secure steel beams in place to brace the bowing wall. It is important that this system is also tied into the frame work of the house to make sure it is set in place. This system braces the wall and prevents it from moving any more. It doesn’t straighten the wall back in place. Because these braces are straight steel beams they only will support where the wall is bowing at its worst. This system tends to be more expensive and homeowners don’t like how big and bulky they are. The basement can be finished with a steel I-beam system but several inches are taken out of the area of the basement because of the system’s size. The steel I-beam system is also just a bracing system. It doesn’t resolve any of the causes or straighten the wall.

Wall Anchors

Wall anchors are a wall straightening system that pulls the wall back in place from the outside of the wall. An earth anchor is drilled into place from the outside of the wall and a plate is anchors to the wall from the inside of the wall. The exterior earth anchor is tied to the interior wall plate with a connecting steel rod. There are two basic types of wall anchors: helical wall anchors and basic foundation anchors. The helical wall anchor has a corkscrew end that attaches to the wall plate and a basic foundation anchor is tied with a steel rod. The steel rod is tightened between the anchor and the steel plate and the tightening process is repeated to slowly straighten the wall.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is another foundation repair method for bowing basement walls. The carbon fiber sheet is installed over the bowing wall and tied into the wood framing with ties. This system is similar to the steel I-beams without the bulky beams. It is attached with epoxy to brace the wall. Carbon fiber comes in sheets or strips. It is actually stronger than steel but ultra light so there isn’t the same labor costs to install this system.

Rebuild The Block Wall

In extreme cases, a foundation repair contractor may suggest jacking up your house and rebuilding your block wall foundation. This method is an extreme solution and should be looked at as a last resort. However, if the integrity of the block wall is compromised then a compete tear-down and rebuild may be your only answer.

What Effect Does Winter Have on Your Foundation?

Winters can not only be hard on your wallet with increased heating bills but can also be hard on the foundation of your home. Snow, ice and low temperatures all combine to have a negative impact on that all important part of your home’s structure. It is important to understand what damage can be caused in order to know what you can do to prevent or fix it when it does occur.

Cracks in the foundation

This is something that makes everyone cringe when it comes to their home’s foundations. However, the formation of hairline cracks in the foundation is a common occurrence during the winter. Although these cracks can form any time of the year, the process is accelerated in winter.

Cracks that occur during winter are mainly caused by frost heave. This occurs when the moisture in the surrounding soil freezes. This results in the water expanding and adding more pressure on the soil and the foundation. The result is cracks in the foundation.

It is important to have a professional contractor seal up the cracks in the foundation. A contractor will also provide other repair solutions for cracks wider than ¼”.

Moisture damage

Moisture and water seepage are a common occurrence when the snow is beginning to melt. This is because large volumes of water are being drained into the soils surrounding your home’s foundation. The water can enter the home through cracks, joints in the foundation where walls meet or where the wall meets the floor, window frames or through the top of the wall of the foundation.

There are many signs of seepage of water through your foundation. These include actual water puddles in the basement, moist walls, damp odor, peeling paint, rusting, dark stains and the growth of mold.

Ensure that you get a professional to assess your basement if you suspect there is seepage. He will identify the entry points and ensure that they are sealed. He will also help you find solutions to keep the moisture out permanently.

Freezing up of discharge lines

When your basement is flooded, you’ll need your sump pump to help you get rid of the water. However, your sump pump will not work properly if the discharge lines are frozen. The water pumped by the sump pump will be forced back into the basement.

Have a look at the discharge lines and ensure that there is no frozen ice within them. You can pour hot water in the lines to melt the ice and reopen the discharge lines. A contractor can help you do this.

Bowing Walls: What Do I Do?

Bowed basement walls result from too much pressure pushing up against basement walls. The pressure can build up from any number of factors including heavy rain, poor drainage in the soils surrounding the basement walls, buildup of underground water or inadequate grading of the basement walls.

When soil absorbs water, it expands. The same applies to the soil surrounding your basement walls. The expanding soil therefore presses against the foundation walls resulting in the buildup of pressure on the walls.

If the pressure continues unchecked, the walls will begin to cave in. Damage on the walls may begin as a horizontal crack or a leak in the foundation joints. If the problem is left unaddressed, the walls will begin to bow inward. These walls will eventually collapse causing your home to become unstable.

What You Shouldn’t Do

First of all, it is important to remember that fixing bowed walls is not a ’Do-It-Yourself’ job. It is something that you ought to leave to a professional foundation repair contractor. A professional will have the right training, skills, experience and equipment to repair bowing walls.

Trying to fix your own walls is dangerous and may end in a catastrophe for you and your home. Professionals are trained and understand the safety measures to take to ensure that there are no accidents.

It is also important to remember that quick fixes will not address the underlying problem with your foundation. So ensure that you have a long-term solution to save your foundation and your home. Applying quick fixes will only result in a more expensive problem as the damage continues to get worse.

What You Should Do

If you notice that you have bowing walls, contact a professional foundation repair contractor in your area as soon as possible. The contractor will come to your home and inspect the foundation walls. Then he will provide you with an estimate of how much it would cost to repair the wall.

Avoid using a contractor who gives you a quotation for the job without examining your foundation. A thorough examination of the foundation is the only way to identify the underlying problem and determine the best solution for the basement wall repair.

It is important to begin your search for foundation repair contractors as early as possible. This will ensure that you can shop around and compare prices and services. You will find a reliable contractor when you have enough time to look for one.

What You Should Know About Carbon Fiber Wall Repair

carbon-fiber-wall-repairIf asked to describe carbon fiber in one sentence, it would be that it is a thin, lightweight yet strong material. The material is actually stronger than steel but very light in weight making it the perfect choice for applications that require strong and lightweight materials such as in the repair of residential foundations.

The following are some great facts about carbon fiber wall repair:

It can be used as an alternative to using heavy steel beams

Before the introduction of carbon fiber to the residential construction and repair industry, bowed walls were repaired using steel beams. The beams brace the walls from the inside. However, these beams can be an eye sore. Carbon fiber is suitable suit for the same application. Unlike steel beams, you can apply paint over carbon fiber to make it look like the rest of the wall. Concealing steel beams is much harder.

The most common application for carbon fiber in construction repair is for bowing block walls

You can use carbon fiber on the inside of the bowing wall of a basement. In this way, it acts as a brace to the wall and prevents it from bowing any further. This is as a result of the incredible strength of carbon fiber.

It needs to be linked to the house framing

For the structure of the house to be sound, contractors must fix the carbon fiber into the house framing. This will ensure that the carbon fiber system is stable and the wall will not cause it to move.

It has limits

Like any other material, carbon fiber has its limits. Contractors should therefore not treat it as the magical cure to all foundational problems. They can use it to repair walls that have moved up to two inches. Basement walls that have moved more than two inches may require more specialized repair.

Don’t attempt to DIY

Carbon fiber is a great and simple material to use for repairing your walls. However, its design was not for do-it-yourself projects. It requires the knowledge of an expert trained in foundation repair to understand how best to apply it. The professional can determine the integrity of the house structure and determine if carbon fiber is the best option for the situation.

Carbon fiber straps

These straps are applicable for repairing minor cracks in walls. They however are best for repair of block foundation walls or concrete walls.

Are you having problems with your foundation? Be sure to talk to a professional and discuss your needs. Carbon fiber wall repair could be the answer to your problem.

What is Carbon Fiber and Why Should You Care?

Carbon Fiber is a man-made, super strong, lightweight material. Mass production of it has made it more affordable and more widely used across multiple industries.

In recent years, foundation repair contractors are using it in residential foundation repair applications.

Carbon fiber is super lightweight and comes in a woven fiber sheet. If you don’t know what carbon fiber is, at first glance it seems like a hoax. It doesn’t seem like this material would be able to repair your basement wall. But if you understand it is the same material used in airplanes and bullet proof vests it makes more sense.

Carbon fiber can also be melted down into a liquid and formed into liquid metal. So, instead of a sheet it can be molded into all sorts of items. If you hear about Kevlar helmets, vests or other safety equipment it is actually melted down and formed carbon fiber.

In a foundation repair application, carbon fiber is used in multiple ways. It can be used as staples to repair a structural crack. Carbon fiber staples are used with epoxy to create a rigid hold on a moving crack.

The other application is to use a carbon fiber sheet to fix a bowed concrete block wall. The carbon fiber needs to be tied to the framing of the house to secure the foundation to the newly stabilized foundation. Carbon fiber foundation repair is an alternative method to steel I-beams and wall anchors that are commonly used to fix a bowed block wall.

If you are getting a quote from a foundation repair contractor and they say they are going to use carbon fiber repair or carbon fiber staples to repair a crack, don’t be scared or skeptical. They are using a high-tech material that is stronger than steel.

5 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know Could Be Made Of Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is super lightweight and strong. It is actually the strongest manmade material in the world and can be woven into fabric sheets or melted down into a mold to make all sorts of products. It has become more common with the mass production at large manufacturing plants making it more affordable to use.


carbon-fiberThe aerospace industry has been using carbon fiber for years in airplane manufacturing, including on wings. It is perfect for airplanes considering its strength, durability and light weight. For people who don’t know anything about carbon fiber, imagining a material that is used to make airplane wings helps them understand just how strong and light it is.

Sports and Safety Equipment

carbon-fiberBecause of its indestructible qualities and lightweight it is used to make helmets and other sports equipment. There are even carbon fiber running shoes and hardhats now. Kevlar is molded carbon fiber. It is the same components just melted down added to a resin and molded into different products. Bullet proof vests, face masks, and other serious safety equipment is often made of Kevlar carbon fiber.

Novelty Items

Manufacturers are coming out with an array of novelty products using carbon fiber. Carbon fiber novelty items include everything from iPhone covers to toilet seats. The novelty items are frivolous because most of the items like jewelry, goggles and mouse pads don’t need to be ultra-lightweight and indestructible. Just the fact that they are made of carbon fiber makes them more expensive and a new kind of luxurious.

New Cars

carbon-fiberCar manufacturers are designing new cars with carbon fiber composites to make the cars and trucks lighter and more crash resistant. The lightweight will actually increase fuel efficiency on cars and trucks with carbon fiber parts.

Foundation Repair Products

The basement waterproofing and foundation repair industry actually uses carbon fiber to repair foundation walls, bowing or bulging block walls and foundation cracks. Carbon fiber in the basement actually is an alternative to steel I-beams systems and other heavy repair techniques. It reduces labor costs because carbon fiber is so lightweight and reduces the maintenance because it is so strong. Once they repair the foundation with carbon fiber it is done.

Bowing Walls are Serious Business

The foundation of a building is the most important part of the structure. When foundations fail it is serious business. In concrete block foundations the most common failure is when pressure builds up on the outside wall pushing against the wall making it bow. Bowing walls are dangerous. If left alone, a bowing wall can collapse. 

Because of its dangerous nature, a professional foundation repair contractor should fix the work. It is not recommended for the average homeowner to do a foundation repair on a bowing concrete block wall himself. Unless you are professionally trained and skilled, do NOT try a DIY foundation repair.

Bowed concrete block walls need to be braced. Contractors have different techniques to accomplish this. Steel I-beams have been around for decades and are still used today. They basically build a steel frame to brace the bowing wall so it doesn’t move any more.

Carbon Fiber uses this same idea to hold the bowing wall. The difference is in the application, labor and final look. Carbon Fiber is quicker to install. Because it is lightweight it doesn’t take as much labor. Carbon Fiber is flush with the wall so it can be covered with wall board or painted to blend in with the basement wall. Steel I-beams don’t hide as easily.

Wall anchors are another option to fix bowing concrete walls. Helical wall anchors come from the outside of the foundation wall and essentially realign the bowed wall. They stay in place to prevent future movement. This technique is for severe damage. It is an invasive system that excavates part of the yard. There are different types of wall anchors. Some are installed on the interior side of the basement and go through the wall and anchored in the soil. Some are installed only on the exterior side of the wall. That depends on the manufacturer and the individual wall anchor systems.

The other course of action is completely replacing the foundation wall. This is the most expensive and most invasive option. This is where a contractor will support the house with piers, take down the damaged block wall foundation and rebuild that portion of the foundation wall. This option is only considered when there is so much damage and deterioration that the other wall support options will not work. If there is extensive damage that has been ignored this may be the only option left.

5 Things You Should Know About Carbon Fiber Wall Repair

carbon-fiber-wall-repairCarbon fiber is a man-made material that is ultra-light weight, thin, and stronger than steel . For years it has been used in many different industries and for various applications. In the past decade, it has made its way into residential foundation repair and become a popular choice. Here are the top five things you need to know about Carbon Fiber Wall Repair. 

Carbon fiber is best used for bowing block walls

Because of the nature of carbon fiber one of the most common applications in foundation repair is repairing a bulged or bowing block wall due to lateral pressure on the outside of a foundation wall. Carbon Fiber is installed on the inside wall of the basement to brace the wall and prevent it from moving anymore.

Carbon fiber is an alternative to steel I-beams

The old way to fix a bowing wall is with steel I-beams. Carbon fiber wall repair ultimately does the same thing as the Steel I-Beam system bracing the wall from the inside. The main difference is the final visual appeal. Carbon fiber can be painted over and made to look just like a regular wall. Although it can be done, the steel I-beams are a little harder to conceal.

Carbon fiber must be tied into the house framing

The Carbon Fiber system should be tied to the house framing to make the system complete. The bracing needs to stabilize the foundation and link it to the house framing to the structure is sound.

Carbon fiber does have its limits

Carbon fiber is not a cure-all system and doesn’t work with every foundation problem. Carbon fiber is best used for bowing walls. However, carbon fiber wall repair systems can only be used on walls that have moved two-inches or less. In the world of foundation repair, two inches is a lot and most homeowners notice the foundation damage well before that.

Not intended for the DIY

Even though carbon fiber wall repair is a fairly simple process it is not intended for the do-it-yourself homeowner. It requires the expertise and knowledge of a trained professional. Foundation repair specialists are licensed and insured to work with foundations. Working with the structural integrity of a house or building there isn’t much room for error. It is better left to the professionals.

Why We Love Carbon Fiber Wall Repair (And You Should, Too!)

carbon fiberCarbon fiber is awesome. Foundation waterproofing contractors really do love carbon fiber because it gives us another option to fix moving cracks and bowed walls.

Carbon fiber is stronger than steel and ultra lightweight. To help you get an idea, carbon fiber is the same material used to build space shuttles and airplane wings (super strong and super lightweight.) It can’t break and the fibers don’t stretch. 

Before carbon fiber, foundation repair contractors used anchors or steel beams to repair bowing walls. That process was hard and intrusive and the end product wasn’t very pretty. Homeowner’s like carbon fiber because when it is done it doesn’t look like a 1980s middle school kid with headgear. You can actually just paint over the carbon fiber sheets and it looks like your basement again. It is a good option of foundation repair for people looking to convert the basement into living space. It is a lot easier to hide than steel I-beams and actually costs less (commonly half the cost of steel beams).

Carbon fiber is a man-made material. It is heated carbon resins to extreme temperatures and woven into a fabric sheet. The process used to be extremely expensive; however, in recent years manufacturers have developed more reasonable production costs and opened the door for many different everyday applications to bring carbon fiber to the masses.

Installing carbon fiber for a foundation wall repair is fairly simple. Applications depend on the specific problem; however, basically, contractors prep the area first making it completely flat and add a bed of high-strength epoxy. Then the carbon fiber is embedded into the epoxy under pressure and then bolted to the top. The carbon fiber needs to be bolted into the framing of the house to ensure that is tied to the structure.

It can also be used with Kevlar staples to secure concrete cracks. Kevlar is like carbon fiber but instead of a sheet it is turned into a liquid and formed into different shapes creating a rigid, extremely strong product. (Think Kevlar motorcycle helmets and bullet-proof vests.) The crack is filled with epoxy. The Kevlar staples are installed to further secure the crack and prevent it from moving. Then the carbon fiber strip is attached on top of that. This makes the structural cracks stop moving.

The weight, ease and simplicity of carbon fiber make it a breeze to work with and a breath of fresh air for homeowners. Once the carbon fiber is installed there is virtually no maintenance. With the nature of carbon fiber and its strength and durability, when the repairs are completed they are permanent. When it is done, it is done. Now, that is why we love carbon fiber and you should, too.