How to Correct Tilting Foundation Wall Problems Quickly to Allow for Basement Finishing

Monday, October 26th, 2015 by Thrasher

If you're looking for a contractor who can repair your tilting or bowing foundation walls, Thrasher is here to help. Our in-house, authorized foundation experts have warrantied solutions to make all types of foundation repairs - including straightening foundation walls. This article discusses what causes tilting basement and foundation walls and how to repair them.

What Causes Tilting Basement and Foundation Walls?

However, most homeowners will want to finish their basement and enjoy the space right away, and wall anchors may take some time before your wall has returned to its original position.

Your foundation repair expert can talk with you about options to quickly and effectively restore your foundation wall to its original, straight alignment.

The soil surrounding your home's foundation can place a great deal of pressure on your basement walls. That pressure varies depending on the types of soils that are present, how much moisture is in those soils, and how far underground your foundation was placed.

Other factors, such as hydrostatic pressure, expansive clay soils, frost, incorrectly placed downspouts, and poorly graded soils can also contribute to foundation issues.

While there's constant pressure pushing in on the foundation, there's no equalizing pressure pushing out! If the outside pressure is greater than the strength of your walls, they will begin to fail.

Cracks in the masonry are usually the first sign of wall failure. Sections of the wall can start to buckle, bow, and tilt inwards. Left unchecked, this damage will worsen and can result in complete wall failure and collapse.

The good news is that the foundation damage mentioned above can be repaired using proven, long-lasting techniques that are much more affordable than replacing the foundation. Most often, we use a wall anchor system to stabilize bowing and buckling walls. Once the wall anchors have been installed, the system is gradually tightened to their original straight, plumb orientation a little bit at a time.

In some cases, bowing and tilting walls can be straightened right away as opposed to over time. This can be particularly helpful if you plan to finish the basement in short order, or put your home up for sale.

Regardless of the reason, basement walls can be excavated and straightened immediately rather than waiting to tighten the walls periodically.

How to Repair and Straighten Tilting Foundation Walls

At Thrasher, we correct failing foundation walls with the GeoLock(R) Wall Anchor System.

Designed by Supportworks, Inc., this foundation wall system is currently used by foundation contractors throughout the United States and Canada as a warrantied solution that permanently repairs failing foundation walls. We follow these six steps to repair foundation walls:

1) Excavate the Foundation Perimeter

On the right is an example of a foundation with a severe soil issue along the foundation wall. Notice the severe inward bowing of the wall due to soil pressures.

To relieve pressure placed on your foundation walls from outside moisture and soils, we begin the wall straightening process by excavating the soils out from around the foundation.

Exterior excavation is only necessary when the foundation walls need to be straightened right away, such as when the walls are dangerously damaged, or you have scheduled the basement to be finished. In normal scenarios, this step is not a necessary part of all Geo-Lock(TM) wall anchor system installations.

2) Position the Earth Anchor

Each earth anchor is made with high-quality galvanized steel to resist corrosion, and includes a 25-year warranty against manufacturing defects, as well as our own in-house quality and performance warranty.

Each earth anchor has a center hole for attaching the anchor rod that will be installed in the next step.

3) Prepare the Foundation Wall

Next, we drill a small hole in your foundation wall for the steel anchor rod that will extend from the wall to each earth anchor. We drive the anchor rod through the soil until it can be attached to its earth anchor.

One way our wall anchor system is superior to other methods is that the hole created in the foundation wall is very small - just 1" in diameter. Other methods require a large hole or section of concrete block to be removed during installation.

4) Mount Wall Plates

Once the earth anchor has been attached to the anchor rod, a steel wall plate is mounted to the anchor rod on the inside of the foundation.

Once this step of the installation is complete, the inward movement of your foundation walls will be halted permanently. Each wall anchor can now be further tightened, continuing to straighten and support the foundation wall.

5) Straighten the Basement Walls

At this point, your foundation repair experts will attempt to straighten the foundation walls back to their original position. Wall anchors will be tightened and adjusted accordingly, and will provide long-term support for the walls.

Once the wall is straightened, any excavation is filled using the soil removed in Step 1.

To avoid excessive soil pressure in the future, gravel and drainage tile may be installed to help avoid soil pressure due to excessive moisture. After backfilling, landscape details will be carefully restored.

6) Clean Up and Prepare for Basement Finishing

All holes created for the soil anchor installation will be carefully filled in with excavated soil and mechanically compressed. Your sod will carefully be replaced and raked for a seamless blend with surrounding landscaping.

Inside your home, all wall plates can be covered with our attractive Hide-A-Way(R) Wall Anchor Covers to help them blend in with your basement finishing installation.

Contact the Foundation Repair Experts

At Thrasher, we take pride in providing a clean, warrantied solution for homeowners in need of foundation wall repair. To help you decide if we're the contractors for you, we offer free written basement wall repair quotes for property owners throughout our NE, IA, and MO service area.

We serve the Omaha, Lincoln, Sioux City, area, as well as Grand Island, Bellevue, Council Bluffs, Norfolk, Fremont, North Platte, Kearney, and many outlying areas. To schedule an appointment, call or email us today!