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Foundation Stabilization and Repair/Cracked and bowing basement wall repair


QUESTION: Hi Jim. I have lived in my home for 32 years. It has block walls and was built in 1960. I have one wall bout 10' that is bowing in. Shortly after we bought the home we realized we had a leaky basement. We chose to have a basement dewatering system installed with a second sump pump. Holes were drilled at the base to let the water in to the installed channel and then to our sump pump. That did fix the problem but maybe it wasn't the best solution? Would this have anything to do with my bulging wall? I also have a huge tree about 40' in front of the wall. Could roots be pushing the wall in?

How would you recommend a repair? Do we need to dig out the foundation and replace the blocks? Should I not replace the section of dewatering system and have a drainage tile installed instead?

What should I expect to be charged for this 10' wall repair?

Cracked and Bowing wall stabilization with carbon fiber
Cracked and Bowing wal  
Outside excavation and replacement of failed draintile
Outside excavation and  
   A home that was built 32 years ago should have been built with an outside drain tile drainage system to remove ground water from around the outside perimeter of the basement at the footing level.
That drainpipe in most cities would have been a rigid PVC perforated pipe. If it is, it most likely became clogged and non-draining at one point, allowing water to soak into the soil around the foundation...causing the soil to swell and push in your wall. A tree 40' away is generally not close enough to cause physical damage to the piping, but may have clogged the piping with its roots. Some builders install draintile cleanouts which are capped pipes next to your foundation... leading down to the draintile pipe at the bottom for cleaning or visual inspection.
  Regardless of what may have caused the drainage failure outside, your inside de-watering system did not solve any drainage problems outside. Water is still accumulating in the soil before it makes its way into your wall / walls and then into the interior drain. Hydrostatic pressure from soil swelling is bucking your wall and will likely continue to do so. Your interior floor area should remain dry, but you have done nothing to stop / correct the water drainage issue outside.
  The best repair, although the most expensive , is to excavate the outside wall down to the draintile and either clean it out if it looks ok or replace it. Patch any wall cracks with hydraulic cement and then tar the wall ( after cleaning and if you do it yourself ) Install clean outs, backfill with washed river stone, cap the trench with 18" of topsoil, and be sure the outside grading is correct.
In Cleveland, Ohio one would expect to pay around $ 120-$140.00 per foot depending on the site conditions for outside waterproofing.
  You will also need to stabilize the bowing wall or it could still possibly continue to move inward even though you've done all that work outside...because it's been weakened. I own Expert Basement Repair in Cleveland and have over 20 year experience stabilizing basement walls. Once the wall is excavated it may move back on its own. If not you may opt to have it pushed back outward. That cost would be probably charged by the hour and done by the same Basement Guys. Straightening is not always required if the wall is within 2" of true. Your basement repair people can stabilize your bowing and cracked wall easily with carbon fiber grid straps installed vertically. You's need 3 straps in a 10' section if there's no window. Expect to pay around $400-$500 per strap. I've used several brands of carbon fiber...Stronghold, Reinforcer and Fortress. I like Fortress the best and it has a double warranty for life and is transferable if you use a certified Fortress installer. I wish you the best.

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QUESTION: Thank you for the information Jim. One thing to note. The house was built in 1960 - 53 years ago. We have owned it for 32 years. Should a house that old have the drainage tile?

Clogged draintile
Clogged draintile  

Old style Red Clay Draintile shown installed next to footing
Old style Red Clay Dra  
    It all depends on where you live, the soil conditions and the building codes. It varies across the country. Dig up one corner of the basement to the footing. If you find draintole your question is answered. Also if you do try to have it cleaned out from that corner. If you do probably should.


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Jim Hise


I am the owner of EXPERT BASEMENT REPAIR in Cleveland, Ohio. see WWW.EXPERTBASEMENTREPAIR.COM for more helpful links, pricing and information on repair work and products I can identify the reasons for movement or cracking in home foundations, basements and walls. I am familiar with most waterproofing and water control methods. I am familiar with and have installed Ramjack, Dixie MacLean, and A.B.Chance™ helical and push pier systems, including tiebacks, steel beams, and rod and grout repair and also several carbon fiber stabilization products. I am currently certified for Fortress carbon fiber installation and have performed carbon repair in the greater Cleveland and Northeast Ohio region for 14 years. Please remember to tell me what city you live in to help me answer your question up front!


20 years of structural foundation fault identification and most repair and stabilization methods. I introduced Fortress carbon fiber to this region of Ohio 14 years ago. I am always on site and involved in order to monitor each project I am responsible for. I have seen high pressure sales tactics used on homeowners over the years to buy on the very first contact. The most dominant ads on this site are good examples. My experience is that you need to be very careful when having these companies in your home.

Waterproofing magazine issue #2

Associates degree...and the school of hard knocks! Formerly certified by A.B.Chance company from 1993-2005. I have a construction and home improvement background for almost 35 years. I bought, restored and resold distressed property. I worked with 4 different foundation repair companies and am familiar with most methods. I also worked for a waterproofing company for several years. I teach ongoing education classes for home inspectors, adult education and Realtors in foundation fault identification and repair.

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Hundreds of residential, commercial and some industrial.

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