Are your basement Walls BULGING, CRACKING, or BOWING?
Want to Weed Out The Gimmicks and Outdated Basement Repair Strategies offered Nationally?
Local Basement Expert and National Basement Author Reveals Insider Tips Secrets and Proprietary Repair Strategies, Custom Designed To Solve Your Basement Problems!!!
Hurry, Act Now!
A Structural Basement Problem Left UNTREATED Can Dramatically Skyrocket The PriceBad Framing.
You see with a concrete block or other stacked masonry unit wall, the wall derives its strength from the EVENLY DISTRIBUTED weight of the house applying pressure and pushing directly down on the top of the walls. This even distribution ensures that the heavier the house, the stronger the lateral load capacity of the wall.
When the house is applying direct pressure on top of the walls, the evenly distributed load makes the walls very strong. This is hugely important. The way that the load transfers onto the wall is via a board called a sill plate. The sill plate's job is to transfer the load of the house directly onto the top of the wall.
When the sill plate is as wide as the top of the top block the distribution is even. When the sill plate is smaller or partial there is an un-even distribution of the load; resulting in a wall that is weakened and that will begin to bow bulge and crack. A partial sill plate only covers a portion of the top block and does not come to the inside edge of the wall!
A partial sill plate will put all of the pressure on the outside edge of the block wall. This creates a very unstable wall. When other forces and complicating additional factors or problems are added to the wall, it can create huge problems!
Other factors include things like: a nearby tree with branches over the roof line (means roots pushing on wall) or roof downspouts that discharge to the base of the wall or a little bit of slight negative grade towards the house, when coupled with a partial sill plate: the result is often in total wall failure. The simple action in a northern climate of the soil freezing and thawing against the wall often results in a long horizontal frost line crack developing. This is extremely aggravated when it is coupled with a partial sill plate issue.
The sad truth is that even though many contractors will claim to know how to do a wall-rebuild or an Underpinning job, almost none of them would ever even consider correcting the underlying issue, the partial sill plate. I have seen countless numbers of walls that homeowners just like you paid tens of thousands of dollars to rebuild just to watch their money go up like a puff of smoke because the contractor rebuilt the wall in the exact same fashion as the one that failed already and was being replaced. In fact they will lay brand new blocks right up to the partial sill plate which caused the problem in the first place! Can you imagine paying good money for the exact same thing that broke already?
There is good news...
The sill plate problem can be inexpensively remedied when the wall repair is being performed. This means you can eliminate the underlying cause rather than just putting a band aid on it like a beam or wall anchor system.
When a wall has become destabilized due to uneven load distribution (or other factors), there is only one way to truly rectify the problem, which is to remove the earth on the other side of it and straighten and repair or rebuild it.
The Truth About Wall Anchors and How To Use Existing Wall Anchors and Make Them Effective
There are some companies who install wall anchors in an effort to stabilize the wall. I have stacks of these wall anchor plates at my shop from walls I have rebuilt that failed after being anchored. The reason these walls fail every time is that the plate on the inside wall is only roughly 12" by 12".
Since the mortar joints are often broken on a bulging wall, the plate will only draw back the blocks it touches. The companies that install them give you a wrench and tell you to make a ¼ turn every 6 weeks. This draws back virtually nothing. It is just a scam based on human nature and knowing that the homeowners won't give up on the wall ever straightening till long after the money is spent.
A way to utilize the wall anchor system is to remove the plate and jackhammer a pocket into the concrete floor slab. Then in place of the 12" by 12" plate you substitute a heavy duty 8" c- channel beam and cement it in place beneath the slab and tie its uppermost portion into the framing creating three anchor points catching all the courses.
Of course the wall anchor system fails to address the underlying cause of the whole issue, as well as failing to do anything to address water or mold issues it is simply a band-aid for a much more serious problem.
Internal Piers or Pilasters and Why They Don't Work
Some masons will tell you that they can straighten the wall and will use internal pilasters of re-bar and cement every so many feet down the wall. First of all, it is just about impossible to actually fish and thread a piece of re-bar all the way down to the first course of block. This is especially true if the blocks are three cores which are absolutely impossible to get more than two foot sections. The city of Medina, Ohio has a code in new construction that all masonry walls be double rodded with wire ties and grouted every 24" on center. I have re-built many walls in the city that were both bowed and shifted off their foundation. In all cases, BAD FRAMING was to blame! If you hope to stabilize a straightened wall, you need to correct the framing and / or re-enforce with beams.
The rebar you see sticking out of the pier was put in at point of construction, yet this wall in medina still failed
Why Rebuilding A Bowed Wall The Mason's Way Can make It Much Weaker than Before!
When an average, ordinary mason or contractor re-builds a wall they inevitably actually end up making a new but weaker wall. That is because when an ordinary wall re-build or under pinning is done, the new wall has a gap left at the top. That gap is typically shimmed and then tuck pointed. This changes the load on the wall from direct pressure to a point load system.
Since the wall derives its strength from even load distribution... it results in a much weaker wall! That means you're just throwing away your money. It also leads to long term plaster cracking and wall failure. Some years ago we discovered mortar-less wall rebuilding which is uniquely suited to wall rebuilds. In fact, we can even remove our jacks as soon as the last block is set in place and you can too!
Did You Know That the Pyramids Were Actually Built Without ANY Mortar At ALL and have been speculated to be over 10,000 Years old!
Over 12 years ago I stumbled onto one of the greatest basement wall rebuilding secrets, literally by accident. I discovered how to "glue" concrete blocks together without using any mortar between the blocks. The technique was developed in ancient Roman architecture some of which stands to this day. In fact there are 2000 year old Roman roads being driven on in Europe even still today!
Owens Corning Fiberglass spent millions of dollars testing and proving this ancient Roman technique and getting it put into nearly every major building code authority in the late 1960's. They did tests proving that a mortared block wall is up to five times weaker than a surface bonded wall. Or, to put it another way, our walls are five times stronger than ordinary mortared walls, which means you and your family can sleep safe through the night knowing that they're as strong as a fortress!
I began working with the process twelve years ago and have perfected structural repair strategies that employ the amazing benefits of the use of this revolutionary process
The biggest single difference is the immediate ability to apply pressure to the wall prior to completing the process. This comes from the fact that there is no mortar to squish out from between the blocks. Ordinary masons must build the new wall and leave a gap between the sill plate and the top of the block. They then beat shims in every couple of feet and lastly tuck point the gap. This is a horribly ineffective mess and does several things which guarantee the new wall will fail like the old one.
Why Dry Stacked and Surface Bonded Walls Are 5 X Stronger
The concept is very simple. Ordinary mortared walls are weak and have mortar trowelled in between them to level the courses. Many mistakenly believe mortar to be glue. This however is simply not true. A mortar joint is called a cold joint. A cold joint is a very weak porosity only, bond. Everyone knows that when new concrete is applied over old it doesn't bond, it doesn't adhere, and it doesn't stick.
Actually, anyone who has ever seen a bowing basement wall will note the walls can be cracked all over but still don't give in. That is because the downward pressure of the house exceeds the pressure exerted from the soil. The concept behind a surface bonded super-wall is simple.
Just imagine a wall made up of 8 a,b,c wooden kids blocks. Stack them up in your minds eye. Now just imagine that you apply pressure evenly from the top. The more pressure you add the stronger the blocks get. Next, imagine putting your hand on the top but only covering half of it.
See the blocks go shooting across the room. You See Even load distribution is EVERYTHING!!!
Now Imagine those same abc wooden kids blocks were stacked up, but with duct tape going up both sides of the blocks.Now, add imaginary pressure- that's right; incredibly strong! By applying a surface bond you are in effect turning the whole stack into a bond beam. Amazing!
In real life, when dry satcking the first course is laid traditionally in a bed of mortar to level the it and the rest of the blocks are stacked on top in staggered courses just like traditional masonry, called a "running bond." Once the walls have been completed up to the last course, this superior process comes into play. At the top course cut the top blocks a 1/16 of an inch over the gap between the sill plate and the next course. Then take a bottle jack and lift just enough pressure to get the block in, in this fashion. This is something that could not be done with mortar. Move, cut, lift, set. We: move, cut, lift, set.
Finish the last course, and by the time you are done... voila! Now the house is again resting its weight and transferring it directly from the sill to the footer. Of course we always recommend that you correct any sill plate or FRAMING issues before beginning the repair. Now once the entire wall has been rebuilt, then trowel a skim coat like stucco all over the outside and the inside of the wall. This slurry has tens of thousands of "cat hair" fibers, which used to be made of fiber glass but today are made of nylon.
This process of mixing a fiber matrix into a cement mixture goes all the way back to Egypt where they mixed straw with mud before making bricks of them. In more recent times, cement plasterers of the twentieth century used horse hair in plaster to strengthen it. Today's nylon fibers are the modern space age equivalent. And when they are mixed into to a high strength waterproofed surface bonding cement, which has chemical bonding adhesive mixed in that make it chemically "glue" to the wall - the end result is a super-bonded high- strength bond-beam. This makes it incredibly tuff and gives you a real guarantee of piece of mind knowing your new wall is now 5X stronger against lateral or sideways loads.
Bowed Walls Can Be Straightened and Saved TOO!
It is not always necessary to Re-build the wall. If the blocks are mostly intact they can be saved in many cases. The process involves first excavating the exterior wall all the way to the footer base. Then we grind out any joints in the interior that are broken. Then, a series of planks are set up against the bulging walls. Using baords and evenly applied skill and pressure, slowly force the walls back into place.
It is possible to successfully repair the most incredibly bowed walls you've ever imagined. And make them stronger than new!
The way to do this is by repairing the FRAMING issues that contributed to the failure and then by reinforcing the walls either using beams or carbon fiber strips.Traditional beams are cemented in place below the floor slab and tied into the wooden framing at the top thereby securing all the courses and keeping the wall in place. More recent technological advances have brought the carbon fiber wall reinforcing systems into being these eliminate the loss of space created by beams and are more for cosmetic effect. The wall is ground with diamonds and strips of high strength carbon fibers are "glued" to the wall with resin. This technology is being used in modern aviation and stealth technologies.
Both do the exact same thing... strengthen the wall in place.
Buy now if you have a structural problem, I am sure you can see why you need to turn to the experts. Over the years we have tested, innovated, and improved every type of foundation system available , with this knowledge you can't be ripped off by one of the "our-system-fits- all -problems" contractors out there.
How Do I Know If My Basement Is Actually Waterproofed?
Chances are if we didn't do it... It probably isn't. ...You See, Tar Has Never Been Rated as Waterproof!! Did you know that in the building codes, there are actually two separate definitions for damp-proofing (tar) and waterproofing?
Damp-proofing, by definition, means "something that helps to slow the penetration of water into the substrate". HHMMM "helps to slow" sounds quite different than the definition of waterproofing: "something thatpreventsthe penetration of water", and not only prevents water, it further must pass a bending test where the membrane must be able to be bent around a cylinder. This requirement eliminates all crystalline and cement based sealants.
Water proof sealants are almost all exclusively used and installed COMMERCIALLY...(that's because they are more expensive). The extra costs are what stop the average contractor from offering you, the homeowner, a product that is effective and will last and "stand the test of time".
I recommend using a MULTI-STEP EXTERIOR WATERPROOFING SYSTEM which uses a cement-based fiber re-enforced wall resurfacing system and NO LESS than TWO waterproof rated sealants. This is by no means the cheapest of methods, however, and it may or may not be the BEST system to put into place. Which system you should use depends entirely on the specific nature of YOUR problem. There are NO miracle systems than can solve ALL basement problems. The thing I can guarantee is if you use a multistep outside waterproof system , it will actively drain water away from the foundation, and the water leak will be a thing of the past, not only that, but waterproof sealants will outlast the wood on your house GUARANTEED!