If your basement walls are cracked and bowing, you need to stop them before they fail and collapse. In most cases, a wall anchor or beam bracing system is your best bet to stabilize the wall and possibly even straighten it.
However, there are situations where neither of these solutions is viable. For instance, you may not have enough space between your house and your neighbor’s house to use a wall anchor. Or there may be too many obstacles, such as conduit or plumbing, on the interior side of the wall. In this case, you still need to stabilize that wall to prevent it from collapsing. That’s where CarbonArmor comes in.
Carbon Fiber Straps
Carbon fiber is a high-tech woven material that is initially flexible but becomes extremely strong and rigid once infused with an epoxy resin. In fact, carbon fiber has a tensile strength greater than that of steel when used in certain applications. Its extremely high strength-to-weight properties have made it the go-to material for modern high-end sports cars and military aircraft. These properties also make it ideal for stabilizing bowing foundation walls.
Not all carbon fiber straps are created equal, however. Some are plate-like and almost rigid. This makes it difficult for them to conform to the contours of a bowing wall, which means that they can actually pop off at the top and bottom during installation. Others consist of a loosely woven grid of carbon fibers. These straps are much weaker than laminate straps. The ideal form of carbon fiber for wall stabilization applications is a fabric-like material that conforms easily to the wall yet becomes extremely strong and rigid once epoxied in place. This is why Foundation Recovery Systems uses CarbonArmor carbon fiber straps from Supportworks.
Before the straps are applied, the surface of the wall must be prepared to ensure a strong and permanent bond. This is done by grinding down the wall to provide a roughened and clean surface. Then an epoxy resin is applied to the wall and the CarbonArmor straps. Finally, the straps are adhered to the wall, and additional resin is applied with rollers. The resin-infused straps reach full strength after 72 hours, at which time the straps can be painted to match the color of the wall.
The ArmorLock® System
Once the CarbonArmor straps are installed, the wall is stabilized. The wall has been reinforced to prevent the wall from continuing to bow in. However, another weak point of the wall may be the top connection to the wood framing. Since the same forces that caused the wall to bow in still exist in the soil on the other side of it, there remains a potential risk of the wall losing its top connection and tipping in.
To prevent this, Foundation Recovery Systems recommends the installation of the Supportworks ArmorLock system, which provides additional tipping resistance when installed with the CarbonArmor system, making it the strongest system available in the industry. The ArmorLock strap overlaps with the CarbonArmor strap and is attached to the rim joist with a bracket. This prevents the now-stabilized wall from losing its top connection with the rest of the home.
CarbonArmor straps — especially when used in conjunction with the ArmorLock system — can be installed with minimal disruption to the home and no disruption to the lawn or landscaping. Its low-profile design allows it to be used in tight spaces and in situations where obstacles such as conduit and plumbing prevent the use of other wall-stabilization solutions. In addition, once the epoxy has cured, CarbonArmor straps can be painted over and concealed.