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Horizontal crack or bowing walls

These 2 photos are good examples of a bowing foundation wall caused by pressure from the outside of the foundation.  

Horizontal cracks make a bowing wall much more obvious when diagnosing a problem.   When we encounter a bowing wall like this one, we look at several different factors to determine the right solution.  

In some cases, excavating and waterproofing the basement foundation wall from the outside of the house is enough to relieve the pressure and stabilize the foundation from moving.  Other times, the wall may need to be reinforced with concrete or rebar, steel beams or carbon fiber strips. These 3 methods are intended to stabilize the foundation wall so no additional movement occurs.  

Horizontal Cracks caused by excessive pressure

Large horizontal crack

How do we fix it?

If you have horizontal cracking in your basement, please call a foundation specialist or a structural engineer to evaluate the severity, and recommend solutions.  A delay in stabilizing could result in a replacement of part of the foundation, which becomes very expensive.  When looking at this project specifically, we recommended exterior basement waterproofing to stop the moisture, and reinforcement using carbon fiber strips.

When dealing with structural issues like these, it is common to get varying opinions from contractors on what the correct solution is. This can lead to a homeowner becoming frustrated with the process.

When this happens, we like to recommend that the homeowner call a structural engineer to give an unbiased professional opinion on how to resolve the problem.  An experienced and trustworthy engineer can cost a few hundred dollars for an inspection or evaluation, and has no financial gain based on his recommendations.    

Once this is done, the homeowner can present the recommendations to the contractors for an apples to apples quote comparison. Some contractors may determine that the engineers recommendations don’t fit their “system”, and will not do the repair.  

We believe that every home has its own unique problems, with unique solutions, and we don’t have one solution to any problem.

 

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