Expert Basement Repair now has over 16 YEARS of carbon fiber installation experience as a certified installer. We introduced carbon fiber to the Cleveland market first! Over the years we’ve installed every brand of carbon fiber on the market. Here’s some helpful information regarding this relatively new, fantastic product:
Carbon fiber is strands of fiber made originally from Nylon fiber, then baked to 3000 degrees to change its chemical form to become a much stronger compound…carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is exceptionally strong for its size and weight. When the strands of carbon are woven or placed parallel with each other, they become exponentially stronger than many other materials. Fortress carbon fiber, with a cross weave of Kevlar, has been tested to be 10 times stronger than steel in a tension application, meaning being pushed, not compressed. The picture on the right shows Fortress carbon fiber being installed. The installation is ALWAYS non-invasive, 99.9% dust free and the structural epoxy adhesive contains no VOCs. You don’t need to leave the house !
Carbon fiber will not stretch and when it is bonded to a bare or properly prepared concrete surface and it will not delaminate or stretch once bonded to the wall or surface. When tested to failure Fortress carbon fiber endured a force ten times normally generated on a basement wall. See this video of the actual testing. http://expertbasementrepair.com/carbon-fiber-structural-integrity-video
Carbon fiber composites are as high-tech as you can get today. The new 757 Dreamliner aircraft, space shuttles, boat masts, racing bicycles, racing cars, bullet-proof vests are all made from this modern day miracle composite. Carbon fiber is frequently used for repairs to concrete bridges and commercial and industrial concrete structures. Carbon fiber has been used for more than 20 years by industry and recently has moved into residential repair and stabilization as the production costs have come down.
Fortress carbon fiber products now routinely replace Steel I beams, wall anchors, and grip-tite anchors for most cement block basement wall repairs. The advantages of carbon fiber over these older technologies is well documented, tested and proven…just ask any structural engineer.
A cracked and bowing basement wall is a real, potential future problem most of the time, depending on the severity of the damage. This damage is often an indication of a poor water drainage issue with expansive soil conditions outside the wall. If the condition is not corrected the wall will usually continue to crack, bow and move inward over time. The amount of time will vary greatly depending upon a variety of site and moisture conditions in the surrounding soils.
The following is additional information on most of the methods available to stabilize your wall and the average costs associated with them. Fortress carbon fiber stabilization does not require outside excavation to releive wall pressure:
To be clear, we are talking about CEMENT BLOCK WALLS. You must be sure the wall is being pushed inward and not settling. This inward movement generally results in a horizontal crack along the entire wall with stairstep cracking at the corners, and sometimes stair steeping on the adjacent walls. Vertical cracking from floor to ceiling, especially on two adjacent walls is usually settlement…where the foundation is allowing the wall to sink and settle. Carbon fiber is not designed to stabilize wall and foundation settlement. Proper failure analysis is critical for any successful long term repair. We also rebuild walls when damage and deterioration make repairs unlikely to be permenant. We have found masonry contractors unfamiliar with alternative repair methods will ALWAYS tell you the cracked or bowing wall must be replaced. With modern materials and technology this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Note: Spacing requirements of the methods described below will vary according to block thickness, wall height, backfill height and amount and type of wall damage.
Traditional wall stabilization almost always involved the installation of STEEL BEAMS. These beams were often bolted to the floor or set into the floor and cemented in place. They were then attached at the the top of the wall and then attached to the floor joists with framing. Be aware that not all size steel beams are strong enough to withstand hydrostatic soil pressure loads and sometimes undersized beams are installed to save the contractor money. With steel beams installed in your home you can expect to have a much harder time selling your home later. We do, however, install beams in some situations. Expect to pay $450-700.00 per beam.
ROD & GROUT stabilization was the next method to come along. STEEL REBAR is inserted into the wall and then cemented into place along the length of the rods.
There are many skill and knowledge factors required for this work that many installers are unaware of. The rods must be tied into the sill plate and extend below the floor. The grout has to be a specific mix. Rod positioning along the entire wall length is crucial. Simply sticking rebar in the wall and pumping in concrete does little for structural integrity if guidelines are not followed or understood. Generally, we see that those vendors who are not up to date and not familiar with all these products will generally not like any of the other repair methods listed here and suggest they can’t possibly work. We install Rod & Grout repair when absolutely necessary…most often for the shearing at very bottom of the wall.
Wall shearing stabilization requirements: $ 50.00-$100.00 per location along shear plain. This process adds thousands of pounds of extra weight onto your footing ! If the soils under the footing are wet, the footing could break and cause foundation settlement.
STEEL WALL ANCHORS are a steel rod which passes through your block wall and is anchored into the soil outside in the yard. The hole in your wall is then patched, a 20″ steel plate is bolted to the rod inside on your basement wall , and tightened with a torque wrench. NOTE: These anchors required monthly manual tightening to maintain warranty . These are suggested repair / stabilization for solid poured concrete walls, but not block walls. We carry them. $450-$650.00 each. NOTE : you cannot drywall or cover these wall plates if they are to be maintained.
FULL WALL ANCHORS do the same thing as the anchors above but have a 6′ wall length wall plate mounted on the wall with a nut which requires monthly tightening. You can’t finish the walls when you have to tighten the anchor bolts monthly! The appearance of these anchors is almost as daunting as steel beams. We decided not to carry these. $550- $700.00 each.
CARBON / KEVLAR carbon fiber is the latest entry into the wall stabilization race, ( as of 15 years ago ). Carbon fiber has been tried, tested and proven to be 10 times stronger than steel beams. ( in tension, or “being pushed” ) NOTE: to see a carbon fiber test video, CLICK HERE.
Carbon fiber comes in three versions for basement walls. One version is a FABRIC CARBON FIBER MESH which is put on the walls as a large patch. Usually the patch is 2′-4′ long and covers the center of the wall. note : Often these units DO NOT address the higher hydrostatic pressures developed at the bottom two blocks of the wall because they are not long enough. Spacing seems to vary on these patches depending on the vendor. Long term adhesion to the wall has seen to be a problem in the Cleveland Ohio area with some companies. These patches also usually do not cover the top several horizontal rows of block, which are subject to frost breakage and movement. We carry this. Installed properly it is not cost competitive but may be required in certain repair scenarios.
CARBON FIBER SOLID PLATE is manufactured to withstand standard hydrostatic pressure but not differential movement / pressure as it is manufactured with the carbon strands aligned in one direction only. This product requires cleaning with Methyl Ethyl Keytone ( M.E.K.) before installation. This extra heavy design often doesn’t conform well to the bow and displacement of a bowed wall because it is so thick. It is also difficult to confirm 100% wall adheasion because you can’t see if all the air voids have been removed after it is installed. We carry this. $ 450-$700.00 each. Generally used for heavy duty commercial projects.
FORTRESS CARBON FIBER strength far exceeds any soil / hydrostatic pressure that could ever be developed. It is the most versatile of all the carbon products as it is woven with carbon fiber AND kevlar and is designed to address differential pressure movement as well as standard hydrostatic pressure. High strength structural adhesive epoxy bonds it to the wall and passes through its woven grid pattern to surround and encapsulate the entire strap. Any trapped air or voids can easily be visually identified and removed. There are no VOCs to worry about with this product installation.
Because your concrete walls must be fully prepared by grinding before any carbon fiber installtion EBR has chosen to utilize a Bosch HEPA VACUUM FILTRATION wall grinding system. This system will contain paint grinding dust much better than an inexpensive shop vacuum. This is important if you have asthma, are concrened with dust being spread all over or need to keep your furnace running during the basement work. Our wall grinding system / dust vacuum is the choice of MOLD and MILDEW remediation companies. It prevents 99.9% of any grinding dust from escaping into your homes air. We ONLY utilize the best possible equipment in your home.
* From an engineering design, performance and warranty point of view you must stabilize the entire wall length of a wall being repaired / stabilized. Contact us for more information. By the way…the owner is always on site for your installation!