Facts to Keep in Mind Concerning Bowed Basement Walls,

Facts to Keep in Mind Concerning Bowed Basement Walls

Basement wall bowing is a phenomenon that occurs when the walls of your basement start to bend or curve inwards. Bowed basement walls can be a serious threat to your basement and the entire house since they affect the foundation’s structure. 

What causes basement wall bowing?

In most cases, wall bowing occurs as a result of hydrostatic pressure. If the earth that surrounds the walls of your basement becomes saturated with water, it expands and exerts more pressure against your basement’s walls due to its increased weight.

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Increased hydrostatic pressure can be due to flooding, poor drainage around your basement, and plumbing leaks that are not fixed in good time.

Other factors that can lead to bowed basement walls include:

  • Frost heaving – The soil near the basement walls swells towards the foundation due to an increased presence of ice during very cold seasons.
  • Expansive clay soils – The expansive soils around the basement wall can put a lot of lateral pressure on basement walls, especially when the level of moisture in the soil increases.
  • Presence of large roots near your house – Large and expanding roots near your house can cause your basement’s walls to bow due to the pressure they exert on the walls over time.

Signs that you have bowed basement walls

Sometimes, it may not be easy to spot bowed basement walls. However, you need to look for any sign that may suggest that your basement’s walls are bowing. Here are some of the signs.

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  • Horizontal cracks: Horizontal cracks often occur due to wall bowing. When the soil around the basement exerts a lot of lateral pressure against the basement’s walls, the walls can bow and form horizontal cracks along the affected area.
  • Stair step or diagonal cracks: These cracks are also likely to form as the wall bows inwards. Stairstep cracks and diagonal cracks indicate that sections of the basement’s walls are pulling apart due to the increased pressure from outside.
  • Walls that are bulging or curving inwards: You may also notice that the walls of the basement are bulging or bowing inwards. This is a clear sign that the walls are being pushed inwards by the soil that surrounds them.

What you need to do

If you see any signs of bowed basement walls, you should have a professional contractor do an inspection and repair the walls as soon as possible. If left unrepaired, basement wall bowing can continue and lead to notable structural damage.

Contact the Professionals at StablWall Today! (866) 782-5955

Why Carbon Fiber Straps Outperform Other Foundation-Reinforcing Solutions

Why Carbon Fiber Straps Outperform Other Foundation-Reinforcing Solutions

Does your home have a basement? Are the basement walls showing signs of movement? Foundation wall movement is a common challenge faced by homeowners. The foundation walls are not only under vertical pressure as a result of supporting the building above them but also horizontal pressure from the soils surrounding them.

Homes with poor drainage systems or high water tables often suffer foundation damage as a result of increased hydrostatic pressure acting against the basement wall. Horizontal cracks on the basement walls are one of the first signs of damage.carbon-fiber-straps-stablwall-1

Aside from resolving the drainage problem, the damaged walls will need to be reinforced. There are various traditional methods used for this. These include:

  • Installing earth anchors in a tie-back system – This resists the earth pressure and holds the wall in place.
  • Installing steel I-beams – These beams transfer the horizontal pressure on the wall to the floor or the joists above and thus resist movement.
  • Replacing the damaged portion of the foundation wall

Why carbon fiber straps outperform traditional reinforcement methods

The traditional methods used to reinforce bowing foundation walls are not only costly to install but also messy and labor-intensive. They are also not very effective at restraining the walls and preventing further movement. This is because these methods do not address a key engineering factor that causes the bowing and cracking of the foundation walls: the lack of tensile strength in the wall.carbon-fiber-straps-stablwall-2

Foundation walls can effectively resist compression forces that act vertically, e.g. the weight of the building on the foundation. They are, however, ineffective at resisting the horizontal force of the soil as they lack tensile strength.

Carbon fiber straps provide foundation walls with the tensile strength they need to resist further movement. Carbon fiber straps consist of interwoven strands of a polymer that has undergone several heating cycles to achieve extra strong bonds between the molecules. A steel I-beam can only resist up to 40,000 pounds of tension. A carbon fiber strap that is less than 1/8th inch thick can resist up to 10 times that much pressure.

Carbon fiber, therefore, provides the reinforcement that foundation walls require to stop the movement and prevent further cracking. They are therefore the most effective solution for repairing bowing basement walls. Be sure to talk to a foundation repair contractor to learn more about this solution and whether it would be a good option for your foundation. 

Contact the Professionals at StablWall Today! (866) 782-5955

4 Types of Wall Cracks and What They Mean.

4 Types of Wall Cracks and What They Mean

The appearance of cracks on your walls, foundation, or basement can be unnerving. In addition to making structures look unsightly, cracks may also mean that there is some problem in the structure of the walls or the foundation.

While some types of cracks simply indicate the shrinking of concrete and are therefore nothing much to worry about, the appearance of large cracks of any type should worry you. Here are details about four types of wall cracks and what they mean.

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1. Vertical cracks

Vertical cracks run up and down in an upright position on walls and foundations. These types of cracks may also appear in a slightly slanting position (about 30 degrees relative to the perpendicular position). Vertical wall cracks often occur as a result of concrete shrinkage and are therefore also referred to as shrinkage cracks.

Narrow vertical cracks are nothing to worry about because they are just a sign that the concrete is shrinking. However, you should be concerned if you see wide vertical cracks (wider than 3 mm or 1/8 inch). You should consult a wall repair expert if you see wider vertical cracks since such cracks may be an indicator of a significant foundation movement.

2. Diagonal cracks

Diagonal cracks run in a slanting manner (30-75 degrees relative to the perpendicular position) from one point to another on a wall. The cracks may be narrow (referred to as hairline cracks) or wider. Unlike vertical cracks, diagonal cracks are usually a sign of more serious structural issues. Such issues include an uneven shifting or settling of the foundation.

Uneven foundation movement or settling can occur as a result of a house having been built on a slope. It can also be due to excessive moisture in some sections of the soil around the foundation, which will cause the foundation to sink more on one side, leading to diagonal cracking.

Because diagonal wall cracks require more skills and resources to repair compared to vertical cracks, you need to call a professional wall repair company the moment you spot these cracks.

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3. Stair step cracks

Stair step cracks are similar to diagonal cracks, save for the fact that they take the form of a staircase running along the joints between bricks. The causes and implications of stair step cracks are quite similar to those of diagonal cracks, meaning that you should consult an expert if you see stair step cracks.

4. Horizontal cracks

Horizontal wall cracks are a sign of severe damage to your building’s walls or foundation. These types of cracks occur due to foundation bowing, which is caused by any of the following factors:

  • Excessive hydrostatic pressure
  • Large roots near the foundation
  • Thermal movement of the soil around the foundation

Horizontal cracks are much more complicated and thus need to be urgently checked and repaired by a skilled technician.

Why Your Carbon Fiber Foundation Repair Is Failing.

Why Your Carbon Fiber Foundation Repair Is Failing

Carbon fiber foundation repair has revolutionized the way we approach foundation repair. Carbon fiber straps, staples, and sheets have made it possible to reinforce bowing walls in a matter of minutes or hours. A team of two professional contractors can complete the repair of a cracked foundation wall in hours.

Carbon fiber foundation repair is also an attractive option for homeowners who want to maximize their basement spaces. Unlike steel beams, carbon fiber does not take up floor space. It can also be finished in any way you prefer, e.g. painting, wallpapering, or drywall. It is therefore the perfect solution for repairing cracks in finished basements as well as spaces that you plan on finishing in the future.

One of the biggest benefits of using carbon fiber for foundation repair is that it is extremely strong (more than 10 times stronger than steel). It is, therefore, the best way to reinforce your foundation wall and prevent further movement. This material gives you long-term results too. Once the straps, staples, or sheets have been installed, you don’t have to worry about maintenance.

So why is my foundation still showing signs of damage?

Some homeowners report still having problems with the foundation even after the installation of carbon fiber and wonder if it is truly effective. Foundation failure after the installation of carbon fiber may be the result of any of the following reasons.

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1. Using a DIY kit

There are various carbon fiber foundation repair kits in the market. Many homeowners opt for these DIY kits to save money. However, these kits don’t always provide great results. This is because there are various factors that should be considered in the installation of carbon fiber that you may not consider as a DIYer. The kits also aren’t the same quality as the professional-grade materials used by professional contractors.

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2. Not resolving the underlying cause of the movement

Although carbon fiber is strong, it is not a magic fix. Carbon fiber only serves to reinforce your walls. It is important to solve the underlying cause of the movement in order to ensure the safety of your foundation. For example, you may need to repair your gutters and downspouts to prevent runoff from being deposited near the foundation and seeping into the soil.

If you are experiencing failure after the installation of carbon fiber, get in touch with a professional to ensure the safety of your foundation and home.

Contact the Professionals at StablWall Today! (866) 782-5955

Reasons Why Wall Cracks Appear

6 Reasons Why Wall Cracks Appear

Walls are more than just mere aesthetic features of a building, they provide invaluable support and protection for the structure and its occupants. Nonetheless, wall cracks can emerge over time which not only disrupts the look but may also be indicative of greater underlying issues. In this blog post, we will investigate the numerous causes of wall cracks.wall-cracks-stablwall-1

  1. Settlement

Wall cracks are typically the result of the settlement, especially common in just-built properties. Settlement transpires when the soil beneath the foundation compacts or shifts, thus causing it to settle or shift too. As this base moves, so do the walls above and can therefore crack them as well.

  1. Moisture

Moisture can be a primary factor in wall cracking. When it permeates the walls, it weakens their structure and eventually leads to cracks forming. This is especially true if you live in an area with high humidity or your bathroom/kitchen are prone to moisture exposure due to lack of proper ventilation or insulation.

  1. Temperature Changes

Temperature fluctuations can be particularly detrimental to walls, especially in areas with extreme weather. When the heat or cold alters, so do the materials making up your walls; this phenomenon causes cracks and fractures within them.wall-cracks-stablwall-2

  1. Poor Quality Materials

The caliber of materials used in the walls plays a key role in wall cracking. If inferior materials are chosen or not installed properly, cracks will surface at some point down the line.

  1. Structural Damage

Cracks in walls can be the result of structural damage to a building, particularly problems with its foundation. When this occurs, the structure may settle or move, which will cause breaks and fractures in the wall’s surface. By inspecting for foundational issues first, you can prevent these cracks from occurring down the line and ensure your buildings are secure.

  1. Poor Design

Ultimately, structural design flaws can also be responsible for wall cracking. If the walls are not appropriately equipped to support the weight of a building or if there is an architectural defect, these walls may indeed fracture over time.

There are numerous possible causes for wall cracks, such as moisture infiltration, structural fatigue, poor-quality materials, and more. If you notice any splits or crevices in your walls, it is imperative to look into the cause without delay to prevent further destruction. Talking with a specialist can help you understand what’s at play and determine the best course of action.

Contact the Professionals at StablWall Today! (866) 782-5955

Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repair?

Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repair?

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If you’re a homeowner, there is a good chance that you will face foundation problems in your lifetime. While foundations are built to be strong and durable, they are subjected to many changes in the environment including shifting soils and flooding. Damage is bound to occur to the foundation over time. The good news is that with foundation repair, you can restore your foundation and enjoy many more years free of issues. The only problem is determining how you will pay for these services.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?

Homeowner’s insurance is designed to provide homeowners with financial compensation if a peril occurs and they experience damage to their homes as a result. The specific things covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy will differ depending on the specific policy and the insurance provider. Some examples of things often covered by homeowners insurance include:

  •         Damage by lightning strikes
  •         Wind damage
  •         Fire damage
  •         Vandalism    
  •         Objects falling from trees
  •         The collapse of a part of your home due to the weight of ice or snow
  •         Water damage resulting from HVAC or plumbing issues

Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover Foundation Damage?

This is a question that many people ask. This depends on the cause of the foundation damage. For homeowner’s insurance to cover foundation repair, the damage to the foundation must have been caused by a peril covered by the insurance policy. For example, if the foundation issue is a result of a plumbing leak, you may be able to recover compensation that will cover the repair of your foundation.

If the damage to your foundation was caused by a peril covered by your insurance policy, you will still need to provide your insurer with evidence that the peril was responsible for the foundation damage. You can increase your chances of having your claim accepted by: 

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  •         Taking photos or recording a video of the damage to the foundation. If possible, show how the peril caused the damage. For example, if the damage was caused by a plumbing leak, show the point where the leak occurred.
  •         Have your foundation inspected by a foundation repair professional. They will identify the cause of the damage and determine the extent of the damage. This report will be invaluable in making your claim.
  •         Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to begin the claims process.

Check your insurance policy to see if you are eligible to recover compensation for damage to your foundation and make your claim.

Trees That Can Cause Foundation Wall Cracks

Trees That Can Cause Foundation Wall Cracks 

Are you planning your landscape? Trees provide great value to a landscape. However, they can also cause damage to your foundation. Planting trees close to your foundation can result in foundation wall cracks. However, does this mean that you should not have trees if you have a small lot? 

While most trees can damage a foundation when allowed to grow near the foundation, some trees are more prone to causing damage than others. These are the trees that you should avoid completely especially when you have a small lot. These trees have roots that grow fast and spread out. They, therefore, are more likely to cause foundation wall cracks. These trees include: 

1. Oak trees 

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The wide canopy of the oak tree makes it an attractive choice for a landscape. These trees are considered slow-growers. However, they can be massive when they reach maturity. These enormous trees require a large root system to support them. While they have a deep taproot, they also have lateral roots that grow horizontally in all directions. These lateral roots can be damaging to foundations. 

2. Ash trees 

Like oak trees, these trees also have a deep taproot as well as lateral roots that grow from the tap root. Their lateral roots spread far across the surface soil as well as the subsoil. These roots are large and can be especially damaging to foundation walls. 

3. Poplar trees 

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These trees have a rooting system that consists of both deep and shallow roots. The rooting system doesn’t grow well in compacted soils. The roots typically look for loose soils to grow. Foundations are therefore especially susceptible to damage from the roots of these trees. When the roots find any gaps or imperfections in your foundation, they will take advantage and move in. As the tree roots grow, they will widen the gaps resulting in wall cracks. 

4. Spruce trees 

Spruce trees have roots that prefer soils that are rich in humus. The rooting system is therefore often shallow. The roots of the Norway spruce for example cling to the surface of the soil and spread out wide. These trees also have a deep root that penetrates the deeper parts of the soil to provide support for the tree. These deeper roots don’t only grow down into the ground but also spread wide. Spruce trees can therefore cause damage from ground level and deep below the ground. 

If you have a small lot, avoid planting any of the trees listed above to protect your foundation. 

6 Reasons Why Wall Cracks Appear

6 Reasons Why Wall Cracks Appear

Walls are more than just mere aesthetic features of a building, they provide invaluable support and protection for the structure and its occupants. Nonetheless, wall cracks can emerge over time which not only disrupts the look but may also be indicative of greater underlying issues. In this blog post, we will investigate the numerous causes of wall cracks.

  1. Settlement

Wall cracks are typically the result of the settlement, especially common in just-built properties. Settlement transpires when the soil beneath the foundation compacts or shifts, thus causing it to settle or shift too. As this base moves, so do the walls above and can therefore crack them as well.wall-cracks-stablwall-1

  1. Moisture

Moisture can be a primary factor in wall cracking. When it permeates the walls, it weakens their structure and eventually leads to cracks forming. This is especially true if you live in an area with high humidity or your bathroom/kitchen are prone to moisture exposure due to lack of proper ventilation or insulation.

  1. Temperature Changes

Temperature fluctuations can be particularly detrimental to walls, especially in areas with extreme weather. When the heat or cold alters, so do the materials making up your walls; this phenomenon causes cracks and fractures within them.

  1. Poor Quality Materials

The caliber of materials used in the walls plays a key role in wall cracking. If inferior materials are chosen or not installed properly, cracks will surface at some point down the line.wall-cracks-stablwall-2

  1. Structural Damage

Cracks in walls can be the result of structural damage to a building, particularly problems with its foundation. When this occurs, the structure may settle or move which will cause breaks and fractures in the wall’s surface. By inspecting for foundational issues first, you can prevent these cracks from occurring down the line and ensure your buildings are secure.

  1. Poor Design

Ultimately, structural design flaws can also be responsible for wall cracking. If the walls are not appropriately equipped to support the weight of a building or if there is an architectural defect, these walls may indeed fracture over time.

There are numerous possible causes for wall cracks such as moisture infiltration, structural fatigue, poor-quality materials, and more. If you notice any splits or crevices in your walls, it is imperative to look into the cause without delay to prevent further destruction. Talking with a specialist can help you understand what’s at play and determine the best course of action.

Contact the Professionals at StablWall Today! (866) 782-5955

Questions Homeowners Should Ask for Successful Foundation Repair 

Questions Homeowners Should Ask for Successful Foundation Repair 

Do you have cracks in your foundation? It is easy to jump right to using a quick-fix method such as a crack injection for foundation repair when faced with an issue such as cracks in your foundation wall. Other homeowners will take it a step further and invest in carbon fiber repairs. While both of these are useful methods for dealing with cracks in foundations, they may not be effective for your particular solution when used on their own. In many cases, a combination of several foundation repair methods is required to address the issue effectively. 

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So how can you ensure effective foundation repair? The following are questions every homeowner should ask in order to identify the best repair solutions for their foundation. 

  1. How long has the crack been present? 

How long have you noticed the crack in the wall? When did you first notice it? Start by considering how long the crack has been in your foundation wall and if you have experienced any problems such as water seepage as a result of the crack.

2. Have you noticed any changes in the length or size of the crack? 

Take note of any changes you may notice with the crack. These changes will help to pinpoint the root cause of the cracking and help you find a comprehensive foundation repair solution. For example, does the crack close during the dry season and open during the rainy season? This could be a sign of the foundation walls bowing as a result of increased hydrostatic pressure from the surrounding soil during the rainy season. Keep an eye out for changes in the length and size of the crack. 

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3. Have there been any changes around your foundation?

Changes that have occurred on your landscape can cause disruption to the foundation. For example, have you had the soil near your foundation excavated for any reason? Have you had soil added around your foundation? Did you have plants or shrubs planted near your foundation? 

4. Have you had changes made to your foundation or house? 

Consider any changes that you have made to your foundation or house. Some changes can result in changes in the stress load on the foundation. For example, have you had an egress window installed in your basement? 

The answers to these questions will help the foundation repair contractor identify solutions to address cracking effectively and preserve your foundation. 

Bowed Basement Walls and Spring Thaw

Bowed Basement Walls and Spring Thaw – 4 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Spring Thaw

It is a great relief for many when the weather begins to warm up after a brutally cold winter. Spring is a time of rebirth and is certainly one of the most beautiful times of the year. However, it is also one of the most dangerous times of the year for your foundation. 

Spring thaw can result in bowed basement walls and flooded basements.  As the snow melts, the water is absorbed into the soil. This increases the hydrostatic pressure acting against the basement walls. You may soon begin to notice that you have bowed basement walls or you may even experience a flooded basement The following are some tips to help you prepare your home for spring thaw in order to avoid flooding or bowed basement walls.

  1. Move the snow away from your foundation 

Has snow accumulated around your home? It’s never a good idea to allow snow to accumulate near your home. Grab a shovel or a snow blower and move the snow away from your home. Move it at least 6 feet away from the foundation to prevent water from being absorbed into the soil around the foundation when the snow melts.

2. Clear the snow on your roof 

Snow on the roof may give your home a festive look but it can be dangerous for your foundation. Not only is the added weight on your roof bad for the structure of your home, but the runoff from the molten snow can cause bowed basement walls when it is deposited near the foundation. Clear the roof of the snow and any debris such as leaves that could clog your gutters and downspouts. 

3. Install backflow valves if you haven’t already 

This is an emergency measure to protect your property from flooding in the event of the backup of the main sewer. Having backflow valves installed in your sewer lines will help to prevent sewage and wastewater from flowing back into your home and flooding your house.  Ensure that backflow valves are installed in sewer connections such as toilets and drains in the basement. 

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4. Check your sump pump 

Your sump pump is your last line of defense when snow begins to melt in spring. Your sump pump will help to ease hydrostatic pressure and prevent flooding by getting rid of excess water. The water from the soil will drain into the French drain and into the well where the sump pump will remove it. 

Use the tips above to prepare and protect your home from the spring thaw.