Bowed or Leaning Walls
If your basement walls are leaning in or cracked and bowed you could have serious structural damage if not corrected. Water and other forces like the pressure from the soil as it expands create problems for basement and crawl space walls by exerting too much pressure causing them to fail. The basement wall cracks you see in your St. Louis, Columbia, St. Charles, or Jefferson City home are evidence that the structure is moving.
Hydrostatic pressure (water) can cause issues with structures if the water isn't diverted away from the structure which may include the drain lines and grade. A leaking water line or drain line can also be the cause of this.
Basement Wall Cracks
Block foundation basement or crawl space walls will have symptoms that can include cracks in mortar joints, stair-step cracks at outside corners, horizontal shearing at the bottom of the wall and tipping at the top of the wall. You may observe basement walls that are bulging and have cracks all throughout the wall. If this is the case, the wall may be on the verge of a collapse.
Poured foundation walls show symptoms like the tipping of the wall, diagonal cracks at outside corners, and vertical or horizontal cracks in the wall.
Bowed or Leaning Wall Repair Solutions
Helical Wall Anchors
One solution to bowed or leaning walls in Missouri are engineered helical wall anchor systems. These machined anchors are machine drilled past the active zone of moving earth at a downward angle to specified torque to ensure they can provide the support needed. It is possible to stabilize or straighten a leaning wall. If caught early enough stabilize the structure may be the best choice. It is cheaper and less disruptive to your yard and landscape.
If you desire to straighten the wall back to its original position then to be sucessfaul the installers will need to dig a trench along your foundation wall down to the footing, install their anchors, gently raise the house, and then pull the wall back. It is also possible to address footing drain issues that may have been the cause of the issue at the same time while the trench is open. Most of the time the clay soil will be hauled off and replaced with gravel to relieve future issues with the foundation.
Earth Anchors or Plate Anchors
The system consists of an interior wall plate, an exterior soil anchor, commonly referred to as a "deadman anchor" and a connecting steel rod to stabilize foundation walls by counteracting pressure exerted against the wall.
It is argued by the industry that this method isn't reliable because of how it is installed and never reaches good soil where the anchor is located.
This process is usually cheaper and less disruptive to your yard and landscaping.
Another method of leaning wall repair is using Steel I-Beams. These are typically installed by sinking the bottom in concrete and running them upward toward the floor joists above.
If straightening of the wall is desired the foundation wall would need to be excavated on the outside, the house jacked up similiar to helical anchor installation.
The downside to this method is you will be left with i-beams sticking out of the wall every 4-5ft. It also depends on the wooden structure to provide support for the foundation wall.
This process is typically done by local companies without access to engineered solutions like helical anchors.
Carbon Fiber Braces
Advances have been made in the past 20 years with new technologies. Carbon Fiber bracing and stitches can be applied to concrete to further strengthen it.
A great lower cost solution to a bowing cracked basement wall, these braces can stabile a failing basement wall. They cannot however straighten a wall.
They are appilied by epoxying a carbon fiber material to the concrete and when cured become stronger than the wall. These are sometimes used to strengthen a wall with a large numher of cracks or bad concrete in conjunction with other anchoring systems.