Cracked and bowing wall problems are a major cause for concern as houses begin to age. More of a concern is the amount and degree of varying opinions from basement foundation repair companies. It seems the more companies you talk to, the more the confusing the problem becomes. Everyone you talk with says their method is the best. Many foundation repair companies have not updated their industry knowledge or repair methods and are still doing things the way they were done half a century ago. There are many different wall-repair methods available today; the key is to choose the right one for your particular problem. Any company having only one method of repair available to solve your problem may not be the right company to do your work. Many of these companies are locked into a franchise and can only sell one product and that is all they know.
Some companies with no knowledge of modern repair techniques will tell you if the wall is cracked and bowed it has to be replaced. Working with these folks will end up costing you a lot more money than you probably needed to spend. Ninety percent of the walls that these folks condemn are easily repairable and can be fully stabilized and warranted. As a general rule, only a cement block wall which has bowed more than 4″, or has sheared at the bottom more than 3″, or has rotten concrete blocks needs to be replaced and rebuilt. Once you realize your wall doesn’t have to be replaced you then need to understand the various repair methods. See our article on the advantages and disadvantages of various repair methods.
Carbon fiber straps will usually be the method of choice to stabilize a cracked and bowing cement block basement wall. If the wall has already sheared at the bottom, then a rod & grout repair will also be necessary. Shearing means the 2nd to bottom block has moved inward. The carbon fiber must span the entire height of the wall from ceiling to floor. If the strap does not extend to the floor the wall may shear in the future. Companies who do not stabilize the entire height will not warrant movement above or below their straps or patches!
With a knowledgeable and experienced contractor, you will spend less money, the job will be done much quicker and more efficiently, the work area will be kept cleaner and more organized, and costly surprises will not be in your future!