Foundation Wall Replacement – What to Expect

Foundation Wall Replacement

Addressing concerns with your foundation can be stressful and overwhelming.  The thought of totally replacing the foundation of your home may seem completely overwhelming and downright scary.  However, we would like to reassure you that such a repair may not be as daunting as it seems.  In this blog, we will discuss foundation wall replacement and go over some factors to take into consideration.

Foundation wall replacement

Is Your Wall Severely Cracked/Bowed?

Many types of foundation cracks or a bowed basement wall can be fixed with methods such as carbon fiber/kevlar mesh straps or structural piering.  But if the wall is too severely damaged, it may make more sense to replace it.  What are some signs that a wall replacement is necessary?

  • The second row of block from the bottom is sliding off the bottom row.
  • The mortar is rotting and/or crumbling.
  • The foundation blocks are separating one from another or pulling away from each other

Do these things mean always mean that the wall needs replaced?  Not necessarily.  There are many things to take into consideration.  Your best bet is to have the foundation inspected by a qualified basement specialist.

What About Cost?

The internet would have you believe that you will be further ahead taking a wrecking ball to your house and starting all over somewhere new.  There are various articles online that state that replacing a foundation is not a cost effective option.  But foundation wall replacement may be more affordable than you think.  In fact, depending on the problem and work needed, sometimes the cost of repairing a basement wall is comparable with the cost of simply replacing it.  Sometimes only a section needs replaced, not the entire thing.  It is beneficial to explore your options as to foundation wall replacement and/or foundation repair.

How Does it Work?

First, we completely stabilize your house.  Second, we dig around the foundation from the outside and remove all dirt from the side of the basement.  This relieves all the pressure from the foundation.  This keeps your house from moving and acts as a “temporary foundation.”  Once everything is totally stable, we begin removing the bad sections of the foundation.  Next, we lay the block for your new foundation.  We examine every detail to ensure that your new foundation is complete and ready to hold the weight of your home.  A foundation replacement comes with a 20 year limited warranty.  Additionally, you normally do not need to vacate your home while the work is being done.  We try to make the inconvenience as minimal as possible.

foundation replacement

Don’t Procrastinate!

If your foundation is cracked or bowed, putting off getting it fixed will only make the problem worse.  Foundations that need replaced could have been salvaged if the problem was caught early enough.  Make sure you address your foundation problem as soon as possible.  Doing so may save you from a future foundation wall replacement.  Whether your foundation is in need of some minor repair or a full foundation wall replacement, contact us for a free* inspection. We have been in business since 1979 with the good reputation to back it up!

Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with all our latest blogs!

*Free for homeowners

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.

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.

Interviewing foundation repair companies can add to the confusion because you may get differing proposals.  The reason this may happen is due 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 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 get-arrow to schedule a no pressure visit to evaluate your foundation and the basement wall repair methods available.

 

 

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!

bowing basement wall

Basement foundation repair

Basement foundation repair

We have seen an increase in customers searching for basement foundation repair recently due to foundation settling, basement walls bowing and shifting and other foundation problems.

There are different problems that would dictate different solutions so first we’ll review the three solutions and then take a look at what each solutions is designed to fix. First you have foundation stabilization, second foundation piering and lastly foundation replacement.

Foundation stabilization is basement foundation repair that stops bowing basement walls from bowing further and can even involve straightening bowing basement walls.  If you see horizontal cracks in your basement wall or walls and these cracks are open then you have bowing basement walls, foundation movement that is causing the wall to push into the basement along the crack. bowed basement wallThe cause of this problem could be one of many different possibilities.  The builder may have back filled the soil too quickly causing a minor crack that worsened over many years.  A sloping patio or driveway could allow water to get to the wall causing the soil to expand and thus causing the crack, roof water overflowing at the foundation can cause soil to expand creating pressure enough to crack the basement wall.  A heavy freeze can cause soil to expand and develop a crack in the foundation that worsens over time…and so on.

To straighten the bowing basement wall it needs to be excavated, removing the soil from along the foundation.  This in itself may cause the wall to relax back into place, or a system of jacks can push the  wall back into place.  The variable is if the crack was filled in.  If so, it can only close as much as the crack is open so a filled in crack will not allow the basement wall to be straightened.

You do not have to straighten a bowing basement wall if it is less than two inches out of plumb in order to permanently stabilize the foundation.  Fortress Stabilization products which are a mesh of carbon fiber and Kevlar can be applied to the basement wall to lock it into place.  This product causes tension on the face of the wall which diffuses soil pressure and the wall will not move further.  This is a permanent solution to bowing basement walls. Learn more here.

 

Foundation piering is basement foundation repair that stops a foundation that is settling or sinking in the soil underneath.  If you see vertical cracks that are open at the top and get tighter at the bottom of the foundation wall, or cracks that are in a stair step pattern you may have a settling foundation that needs piering to corr ct the problem.

Foundation settling

A sinking home is actually a very common structural problem which is seen on homes in nearly all areas of the country. The problem can be attributed to poor soil conditions around the home, or from improper building techniques being used during the time when the structure was being built. Regardless of the cause of the issue, it is something that must be taken care of immediately before additional damage is done to the structural integrity of the home.

To correct the problem of a settling foundation we install foundation piering which is pushed deep within the earth into bedrock or stable, load-bearing strata. The pier will be able to stabilize the foundation and in many cases, level, and lift the home back up to where it needs to be. The Stabil-Loc piering system is installed directly underneath of the footings for direct load transfer unlike other piering systems which are helical or offset next to the footings. Learn more here.

basement wall sheering

Bottom of wall has broken off and is sliding out of place due to decay

Foundation replacement is required when basement walls are deteriorated to the point that they are no longer structural, or when the basement wall has bowed in more than two inches and not a candidate for straightening, or when the foundation has broken off along a mortar joint and is sliding out of place, also known as sheering.

Foundation replacement involves a full excavation of the area, removing the foundation wall, ensuring the original footings are solid or replacing them if needed and rebuilding the basement wall with new cement block.  New waterproofing and drainage are installed to ensure the new structure will last.  To learn more about foundation replacement click here.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a basic overview of the three types of basement foundation repair available.  If you are experiencing basement foundation problems consult with a reputable professional basement foundation contractor who is full service offering all types of solutions.  Many contractors offer one solution and train sales people to sell their “system”. Not all problems can be solved with a one size fits all approach.

get-arrowContact Pioneer Basement Solutions today for a free, no pressure consultation.  A thorough inspection of your specific issue(s) will be conducted and a straight forward review of your options given.  We do not practice pricing games or sales tactics.  Just  one fair price will be given for the solution you feel most comfortable with and no pressure for a decision on the first visit.  At Pioneer we treat our potential customers the way we want to be treated and we don’t like pushy salespeople which is why we do not use them.

 

Contact us today to learn more about basement foundation repair for your home by clicking the “get in touch” icon above.

 

 

How do you know when you need foundation replacement?

I looked at two foundations today where the homeowners had concern that it was time to replace a basement wall or two. The question is how do I know if it can be stabilized or if it is time to replace the foundation / basement wall… what dictates foundation replacement?

There are several types of foundation cracks and different concerns with each. You can have bowing basement walls as a result of a horizontal crack…walls that belly in towards the middle.  These bowing basement walls are more prone to open up and come in as a result of the hinge type of nature of the basement wall crack.  The expanding and contracting soil outside develops pressure against the basement wall that pushes in towards the basement or relaxes it back through dry conditions.

There are cracks that are what we call a vertical tear, cracks that go in a stair stem pattern, or simply straight down towards the floor through the basement wall.  These are settling cracks that occur due the footer below having a crack in it and actually sinking down.  This activity causes the wall crack or separation at the mortar joints in a stair step fashion.

And there can be cracks where a row of block has slid off of the row below it (shear movement). This is typical if the second row up since the floor holds the bottom row in place.

You typically need a rebuild of foundation / foundation replacement when the bottom two rows have separated from each other, or when the bottom row seems to kick or tilt inwards towards the floor.

bottom row of block buckled

bottom row of block buckled

If the bottom row appears to be kicked in or bowing, it can be an indication that there is no footer.  This is more common with clay based basement wall foundations.  In this scenario dirt has washed away from below, mortar has rotted from between the blocks and the basement wall has bowed in as a result.

Again, there are several scenarios and factors so please give us a call for a free consultation with a foundation expert to help inform and guide you towards the best possible solution for your basement foundation problems.