If you’ve noticed cracks, bowing, or a lean to your basement walls, this could be a real warning sign that trouble is on the way. These are all signs of serious structural instabilities, usually caused by excess pressure on your walls by the soil surrounding your home.
Helical anchors, sometimes called helical tiebacks, are tools used to straighten or stabilize walls that are cracking, leaning, bowing, or becoming unbalanced as a result of this excess lateral pressure. Versatile, adaptable, and cost-effective, they are quickly becoming one of the most common solutions for issues of structural instability in the foundation and retaining walls. Unlike traditional solutions, they offer quick and easy installation with minimal mess. They are a far better solution than simply tearing down and replacing the affected walls.
What Are Helical Anchors (and How Do They Work)?
Helical tieback anchors are a specialized form of wall anchor. They are designed to strengthen or straighten walls that are beginning to bow or buckle as a result of excess pressure. This pressure can be a result of water deposits in the soil or as a result of a damaged foundation, making them unable to cope with regular hydrostatic pressure. As well as being unattractive, these leaning or bowing walls are quite dangerous and can result in the collapse of the wall, or even your basement, in certain circumstances.
Wall anchors, in general, are designed to counteract this pressure and straighten walls, often in conjunction with other solutions if the bowing is being affected by or is affecting your home’s foundation. Helical wall anchors are slightly more specialized, however. The screw-like design is perfect for dealing with difficult soil and minimizes the need for excavation in your yard. The helices on the shaft make it easy to effectively anchor them in the soil around your home while the zinc-plated, galvanized steel Foundation Recovery Systems uses is water and corrosion-resistant.
What Are the Benefits of Helical Tiebacks?
The main benefit of installing helical tieback anchors as a solution to bowing walls is, of course, increased stability. However, there is a range of benefits to choosing helical anchors. These include, but are not limited to:
- Easy installation
- Short installation time
- Limited excavation required
- Permanently fixes bowed walls
- Can be installed in tight spaces
- Can be installed in any weather
- Predictable load capacity
In short, helical tiebacks are a far superior solution to the problem of bowed walls than the traditional fix, which was simply removing and replacing the whole wall. This is partly to do with the cost and time of replacing a bowed wall entirely, but it is also about the permanence of the solution. Replacing a leaning or bowing wall is much like putting a concrete patch on a foundation crack; it addresses the symptom rather than the cause of the problem. A new wall may start out straight, but it is likely to begin cracking and bowing just as the old one did.
Helical tiebacks, and wall anchors in general, instead resolve the underlying issue by providing equal and opposite pressure to the wall, thereby returning it to its default state and re-stabilizing your home.
How Are Helical Anchors Installed?
Unlike traditional wall anchors, helical tiebacks can be installed in all weather conditions with relatively little mess or excavation. The installation process is fairly simple and requires very little disruption to your home. First of all, the soil beside the affected walls will be excavated so that the helical anchors can be properly positioned and the wall can be pulled into the upright position again.
Small holes will be drilled into the affected walls so the helical anchors can be driven into the soil outside your home. Traditional wall anchors require the anchor to be placed in the earth around 10 feet away before it can be attached to the galvanized steel rod. Helical anchors, by contrast, can simply be screwed into the soil until the wall is straightened and secure. Once the anchors have been effectively installed, the space by your foundation walls will be backfilled.
The number of anchors that will be installed depends on the amount of damage and the size of your basement. This is something a foundation repair specialist can work out for you. Enough anchors must be installed in the right places if you are to get the results you desire. The interior plates may look a bit unsightly, but they can be covered and decorated to fit in with your basement if you like.
Commercial Helical Anchors and Tiebacks
Helical tiebacks, otherwise called helical anchors, are specialist wall anchors used to steady and straighten bowing, leaning, or structurally damaged walls. They perform many functions.
Helical tiebacks and anchors perform the very important function of stabilizing damaged walls. This prevents them from deviating further from their proper place and ensures that they do not collapse, thereby causing more damage and endangering nearby people. However, they can also be used to permanently repair bowing and leaning walls.
They do this by exerting appropriate, opposite pressure on the damaged wall. When they are incrementally tightened over time, they can be used to return a wall to its original place. This not only repairs the look of the wall in question, but it also ensures that it provides optimal support to the rest of your property’s structure.
- Ensuring Safety
Bowed or leaning walls can be very dangerous to your property and anyone in it; collapse is a very real possibility. Installing helical tiebacks will drastically reduce the likelihood of collapse and keep you and your family safe. They can even make severely damaged walls stable while they are waiting to be replaced entirely.
This is incredibly important for many reasons, but the most obvious is the preservation of the health and safety of anyone around the damaged walls. Of course, they must be installed and adjusted by a professional; this is because even the installation process can be dangerous if carried out improperly.
There are many reasons to consider installing helical anchors or tiebacks into your home when you notice leaning or bowing walls. The most common are:
- Preventing Further Damage
Once a wall has started to bow or lean, you must address it; it will only get worse over time. It can become worse exponentially after a certain point because of the way the wall weakens and becomes less stable as the severity of the lean or bow increases. Installing helical tiebacks not only addresses one contributing factor, but it also prevents the wall from deteriorating further and causing more widespread damage.
It does this by accounting for the pressure that is causing it to bow inwards and exerting appropriate and opposite pressure via the interior wall plates. When the tiebacks are properly placed, they can halt the bowing of even a severely damaged wall to ensure that it remains safe and stable for the foreseeable future.
- Long-Term, Cost-Effective Repair
Helical anchors are one of the most cost-effective and long-lasting solutions for structurally damaged walls in a property. Furthermore, they are relatively easy to disguise once they have been installed. This makes them an ideal damage management solution, even for walls that are no longer capable of being straightened once more.
When they are installed by knowledgeable professionals, helical tiebacks have no real lifespan. Unless something happens to dislodge them or puts further pressure on the wall that has been damaged, helical tieback installation should be a permanent solution. This makes them incredibly cost-effective in the long run.
Helical anchors are specialized reinforcement options that require certain tools, skills, and knowledge to install properly. If they are not installed properly, they can do more harm than good, rather like fixing only part of a problem. If you try a DIY fix, you could face many problems. For example:
- Outward Bulging
Even if you can find the specialist equipment required to install helical tiebacks, it is possible to over-tighten them. If you do this, you run the risk of pulling your wall outward and causing a lean in the other direction. This could have many effects on your property in the long run, but the most obvious issues would be an exacerbation of existing cracks and increased dampness. The worst-case scenario would be the collapse of a wall.
As well as all the problems that dampness can bring to a property, this issue will also cost far more in repairs than fixing the original lean or bow would have been. This is because the damage will be exacerbated by the botched repair. In the most severe cases, it may be necessary to replace the wall as a whole.
- Wall and Floor Gaps
When your basement walls are under pressure, they can begin to separate from the floor and ceiling; poorly placed or installed anchors can directly contribute to this kind of damage and lead to more pronounced gaps. As such, it is best to let a professional handle this installation to ensure a quick, efficient, and seamless fix.
Wall and floor gaps may not seem like a huge issue when they are small, after all, but if they become pronounced enough, they can lead to sagging floors or even cause other walls in your home to lean. This is caused by the lack of support and can be quite catastrophic for your home. As such, it is best to let a professional deal with this issue quickly.
When Should Helical Anchors Be Installed?
Helical wall anchors are specialized tools that should be deployed when the structural integrity of your basement walls is degraded. It can be hard for a non-professional to know when wall anchors are needed, but there are certain signs of structural instability you can look out for. If you see any of the following signs, you should contact a foundation repair specialist:
- Horizontal cracks (brick walls)
- Stair-step cracks (brick walls)
- Diagonal cracks (poured concrete walls)
- Water pooling in basement cove
- A visible lean or tilt to your walls
- A bulge in the middle of a wall
Of course, in an ideal world, you would never need to install wall anchors, helical or traditional. Unfortunately, life isn’t ideal and structural issues will only get worse with time. As such, you should contact a professional if you see any of these signs. An expert will be able to assess your basement and decide what solution is best for your home. They may suggest helical tiebacks, but they may also suggest other remedies such as carbon fiber wall reinforcement, specialized I-Beams, or a traditional wall anchor system.
Why Choose Our Helical Anchor Solutions?
The safety and security of your home is an absolute priority for us; we will do everything in our power to resolve all issues within your basement as quickly as possible. We will also make sure the installation process is quick, easy, and painless. Plus, we take great care to leave your home exactly as we find it; you’ll never be left to clean up a mess when our team handles your repairs.
Above and beyond all this, however, helical anchor installation is a specialized task that requires specific tools, skills, and a degree of precision to ensure the best possible results. If the anchors are not installed at the right angle, or they are not driven deep enough into the soil, the wall could begin to crack, bow, or lean once more. We can guarantee a successful and permanent fix with the first installation.
If you notice problems with your walls, don’t wait for them to get worse. Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and repair estimate!
View more Foundation Repair Solutions