Foundation Stabilization and Repair/Bowed basement walls behind sheetrock
I finished a basement room 11 years ago on 2002. I currently have finished sheetrock installed over the stud wall shown in the photo.
When I installed the wall 11 years ago, I noticed a bow in the masonry wall. In the photo you can see the gaps at the top and bottom of the vertical 2 x 4 studs. Unfortunately, at the time, I did not correct the bowed wall and installed the sheetrock over the top of the wall. The second photo shows what I think caused the wall to bow. It is moisture from the condensate drain from the air conditioner outside.
Now, at night when the house is quiet, I notice what sounds like very muted breaking glass coming from the wall, followed by a pop from somewhere in the house. I am pretty sure what is happening is the wall is continuing to bow inward followed by the house settling on top of the wall. Iím sure you would recommend tearing down the sheetrock to see how the wall looks now. Do you think it is important that I investigate immediately or could I wait a couple of months until the weather is warmer.
Once I remove the sheetrock and studs, I am hoping to use the Powerbrace steel wall bracing system. I like the fact that it has adjustment on the top to gradually push the wall vertical again.
I would also like to hire an independent structural engineer in my area such as yourself to evaluate my situation. What are your recommendations on finding someone like that?
Many thanks for your opinion.
You did not mention what state you live in.
If you live in an area that experiences freezing temperatures, then you may have severe problems with frost heave and the basement walls could bow inward enough to create extreme damage.
The photos you have shown indicate a problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible: You should make certain that the perimeter soil grade is at least 10% slope out to a distance of at least 5ft, (That is 6" minimum fall, at 60" distance. This is very important to help assure that any storm water or water from any source is diverted out and away from the foundation so that the soil along the foundation cannot become saturated at any time of the year.
The sounds you are hearing are directly related to frame fatigue and movement. The inward bowing is probably the biggest problem, however, I did notice in the photos that there is no expansion plate along the base of the framing......The floor may be raising and settling with moisture varying, especially if you have a clay based soil.
I would recommend contacting a reputable structural engineer in your City or County and get some pointers and a possible written plan so that you can make the proper remedial steps in protecting your home.
I wish you the best!
Respectfully Ed Eckley