Foundation Repair Case Studies: Bowed Walls Repaired with Helical Tiebacks

Saturday, July 9th, 2016


Bowed walls caused significant structural damage, as well as water issues.

Thrasher Foundation Repair repaired the bowed foundation walls and installed an exterior waterproofing system.

Improper drainage and the resulting increased hydrostatic pressure of over-saturated soil damaged the foundation of this Kansas City home, pushing a basement wall in over 3" and causing cracks to appear. The soil around the Kansas City Metro and surrounding areas contain a high level of clay. This clay is exceptionally reactive to moisture and, when saturated with water, expands significantly. After getting multiple bids for the bowed wall repair, the homeowner chose Thrasher Foundation Repair because of our use of International Code Council-rated, pre-engineered helical tiebacks, our ability to test for and calculate load capacities quickly, and, unfortunately, a failed repair by another foundation company.

It’s not uncommon in the Kansas City area to experience water infiltration and basement walls pushing in. Thrasher Foundation Repair has many options to address water issues, such as using French drains in the yard and exterior and/or interior drainage systems around the foundation, and various engineered wall restraint methods and systems.  In this case, our repair consisted of:  wall straightening with helical tiebacks; Carbon Fiber reinforcement to restore lost structural integrity at foundation cracks and to stabilize the wall permanently from future inward movement; and exterior waterproofing to reduce future excess hydrostatic pressure build-up and to address the root cause of the foundation failure in the first place.

In order to straighten the severely bowed wall, Thrasher Foundation Repair recommended that eight helical tiebacks be installed. The installation process involved excavating along the exterior of the affected wall, coring through the wall from inside the basement so that the anchors could be installed, then installing the anchors into load-bearing soil. Expert installation is key to installation, and our crews have experience installing these solutions the right way. They receive ongoing training and quality tools that allow them expertly install our patented systems. The wall was then straightened and permanently held in place by the helical tieback anchors. Finally, an external waterproofing system was installed before putting the soil back along the wall. The systematic solution provided the homeowner with the peace of mind in knowing that their home is permanently protected from wall failure and water intrusion. In addition to this, it is also essential to ensure that the surrounding soil's slope in the yard is tapered away from the home. While yard slope can contribute to water intrusion and wall failure, it is one piece of the puzzle that must be addressed.

Thrasher Foundation Repair also offers waterproofing systems that can be installed on the inside of your home. Our patented indoor waterproofing system is installed in a way that makes it impossible to clog and can even be serviced. This system can also be installed with any of our wall restraint systems.

Thrasher takes pride in designing custom solutions that utilize your home's specific information to provide an exact solution for every foundation issue. Our System Design Specialists go through rigorous training, allowing them to offer permanent solutions to the homeowner. Our solutions are designed with engineered support to determine the exact number of wall restraints and the exact spacing necessary to stabilize the walls permanently. What does this mean for you? This means that you will have the proper amount of restrains to achieve the outcome you are looking for. You won't have more restraints installed than necessary, which ensures you are receiving the right solution at the absolute best value. 

While helical tiebacks and Carbon Fiber wall restraints were used in this particular situation, Thrasher also has two other options to stabilize walls and even straighten them over time permanently. With our patented PowerBrace system, galvanized I-beams provide the strength to stabilize your walls. They connect to your joist system, and our bracket system allows the PowerBraces to be tightened over time. GeoLock wall anchors are the other solution for bowing, cracking and failing walls. These wall plates are also galvanized to prevent rust and are installed flat against the walls. Regardless of the situation, Thrasher has the solution that is right for your wall.

After the tiebacks were installed, an external drainage system was installed to move water away from the foundation.

Tiebacks are an excellent alternative to I-beams. As seen in this photo, they are less intrusive, with just a plate on the wall that doesn't protrude into the basement.