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Everything You Need To Know About Basement Foundation Repair

Everything You Need To Know About Basement Foundation Repair
Everything You Need To Know About Basement Foundation Repair

Why should homeowners learn about basement foundation repair? If your home has a basement foundation, you’re in the right place. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly when you need basement foundation repair, what causes basement foundation failure, different repair methods, and the cost of basement foundation repair.

Lower level basement with large play area

Signs You Need Basement Foundation Repair

Pay attention to these signs that signify you need basement foundation repair.

Multiple doors and windows are sticking – Sticking doors and windows are a common sign something is wrong with your basement foundation.

Your floors are uneven – Sunken, bowed, and uneven floors could signify you need basement foundation repair.

Floors and walls are separating – The smallest separations might indicate you need basement foundation repair.

Floors are beginning to crack – Look for cracks that run from one wall to another.

Walls are bowing or cracking – If your walls are bowing, cracking, sheering, or leaning, you need basement foundation repair.

Wallpaper is starting to tear – Look behind any torn wallpaper to check if the wall behind is cracked.

Your walls are beginning to rotate – Wall rotation is when the outside of your foundation sinks deeper into saturated soil while the inside of your foundation, which sits on drier soil, pulls up. This movement can cause your walls to rotate.

Vertical foundation crack

You have diagonal cracks running from the corners of your doors and windows to your ceiling – If these cracks are under 1/10 of an inch, they could be the result of normal, uniform settling. If the cracks are larger than 1/10 of an inch, they could be a sign you need basement foundation repair.

Moldings have separated – If the moldings on your ceiling have separated, you could need basement foundation repair. Basement and foundation problems cause your floors, ceilings, and walls to move separately.

You have stair-step cracks in brick or concrete block walls – You may find these cracks in concrete block walls or brick facia above your basement.

Your porch or chimney is separating from the rest of your home – There’s a chance this might be related to a problem with the foundation under your porch or chimney. Call an expert to ensure it isn’t caused by a problem with your home’s foundation/basement.

What Causes Basement Foundation Failure?

Basement foundation failure can be caused by:

Differential settlement – When your home is first built, it can slightly settle into the soil beneath it in a process called uniform settlement. Differential settlement is when sections of your home settle at different rates. This type of settlement can cause your basement foundation walls to bow, lean, sheer, or crack.

Read more about differential settlement and how it can affect your home. 

Expansive soil – Soil that expands and shrinks based on moisture content is called expansive soil. When the soil gets wet, it expands. Then, when it dries, it shrinks. This growing-shrinking cycle puts repetitive stress on your basement foundation walls, causing them to crack, bow, lean, or sheer. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that 1/4 of all homes in the United States have been damaged by expansive soils.

Hydrostatic pressure – If water pools up at your basement foundation, and you don’t have a drainage system to collect the water, your walls could experience hydrostatic pressure. As water builds up, the volume of the soil increases and exerts pressure against your wall.

Frost-heave -When soil freezes, it rises. Then, when the soil thaws, it settles back down. This up-and-down movement can cause your basement foundation walls to bow, lean, sheer, or crack.

Spring soil from under the snow, spring background

Basement Foundation Repair Methods

Here’s how you can repair a basement foundation.

Wall Repair

Wall plate anchors – If you have bowing walls, professionals will recommend using wall plate anchors. First, an inside wall plate is attached to your bowing wall. Then, an anchor is placed in the dirt outside your basement. Lastly, a high-strength rod connects the plate and anchor together, pulling the bowing wall outward.

Helical tieback anchors – Helical tieback anchors can also be used to fix bowing basement foundation walls. The best part is, they don’t require any excavation. Instead of an outside anchor, they are drilled from inside your basement wall. The anchor works like a corkscrew. As it twists, it pulls your wall outward.

C-channel anchors – C-channel anchors are commonly used with sheering walls and help distribute the load across the whole vertical length of the basement foundation wall. First, steel beams are attached to the affected wall. Then, an anchor is placed in the soil outside, connected to the steel beam using a high-strength rod. Lastly, the steel beam is anchored to the basement footer.

Invisibeam carbon fiber straps – Invisibeam carbon fiber straps are another way for repairing bowing walls. They can be placed horizontally or even vertically, depending on the damage. First, a galvanized bracket is installed to the top of your house frame. Then, the carbon fiber strap is placed across the wall and anchored to your basement footer.

Crack Repair

Carbon fiber staples – Staples are used to repair structural and non-structural wall cracks. First, slots are grinded across the crack. Then, the staples are placed in the slots and fused into the concrete using a high-strength epoxy.

Epoxy crack injection – Epoxy crack injections are used to fix any cracks you might have in your basement foundation. First, a surface patch is created using an epoxy binder. Then, a 2-part epoxy is injected into the crack. The injection waterproofs and reinforces your basement foundation.

Carbon fiber staples

Settlement Repair

Steel push piers – Steel push piers are mainly used to counter sinking basement foundations. Push piers are pushed deep into the soil under your basement foundation until they reach load-bearing soil. Then, hydraulic jacks lift your basement foundation back to the maximum practical level (the ultimate amount of foundational lift achievable before causing structural or cosmetic damage to your home).

Helical piers – Also known as screwpiles, these piers are twisted into the ground like corkscrews. Once they find load-bearing soil, hydraulic jacks lift your basement foundation back up. Read more about piers in this article about underpinning.

Hydraulic jack and pier

How Much Does Basement Wall Repair Cost?

Solutions like wall plate anchors, helical tieback anchors, c-channel anchors, and carbon fiber straps can cost around $5,000 to $15,000. Solutions like carbon fiber staples and epoxy crack injections can cost around $500 to $2,000. Steel and helical piers can cost around $12,000 to $16,000, depending on how many piers are needed.

The Real Seal

If you live in the Greater Chicago area and need basement foundation repair, who do you call? There are so many options out there. Who can you trust to provide quality service? You need the real deal, and you need The Real Seal. Call us today, and we’ll get you started with an in-depth inspection, free repair estimate, and a list of our finest solutions. We also provide basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, crawl space repair, concrete leveling, and more.


Austin Werner

Austin Werner is the Owner of The Real Seal LLC, a basement waterproofing and foundation repair company. Austin believes that having a highly trained and happy team is the key to success. This is reflected through hundreds of 5 star customer reviews his company has received online.

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