Foundation Stabilization and Repair/Foundation Repair
I am having a foundation repair done in northern Ky. I had a 46ft long below grade front wall that was terribly bowed and cracking from the left corner approx. 33-36 ft down the wall.
The company I have hired has excavated most of the front wall, pushed back most of the bowed wall, although it is still bowed. He says that this is as far as he can safely push this wall. He has secured the wall with two anchors about mid way of the bowed section. He appears to have placed tar and waterproofing along a section of the front wall and says that he has place a drain mat, along with a new corrogated drain covered in foam peanuts and fabric diverted to a sump pump inside the corner of the basement. He says because of this method of the drainmat and foam peanut drainage tubing, there is no need to backfill with gravel and has just pushed the clay soil right back against the house.
He is now suppose to be installing carbon fiber stripping along two walls in the basement. My walls have a mortar or stucco finish across them approx 1/4 to 1/2 in thick. It looks like the previous owners attempted to fill the cracks and smooth the wall surface. Should he not remove this mortar/stucco coating and apply the carbon fiber directly to the actual block of the foundation? This mortar stuff is already cracking in many places and can be picked off by hand in some spots, and my fear is if the carbon fiber I am paying for is attached to this stuff, the wall behind it is actually not attached to anything. Also, I have read that the placement of the straps should be every four feet, and that is what is stated in our contract, but he has them spaced every five feet. Do the anchors negate the distance? I asked him for the name of the manufacturer of the strips that he is going to use on my wall and he refused to give me the information. I am paying a lot of money for these products, and most of them have a warranty if installed properly. He says he is providing a warranty for my foundation, but if he goes out of business and the company can prove he did not install them correctly, to their specifications, that warranty is no good either right? Not sure what to do. He has threatened to stop the job and sue me for breach of contract because I am questioning his methods, and pricing. I am the homeowner, I am paying, should I not be informed and educate myself about this process?
I know there are a few carbon fiber producers in the industry with various specifications on how to install their products.
I have been an installer of Fortress Carbon Fiber for more than 15 years now in Cleveland, Ohio. Fortress carbon fiber is a black carbon grid strap that is cross woven with a yellow Kevlar weave. In order to properly represent the Fortress product line any basement guys doing
Fortress installations would have to be CERTIFIED yearly by Fortress Stabilization.
( www.fortressstabilization.com )
I do not have current info on certification or training requirements for other carbon fiber producers or installers. A certified Fortress installer will be able to produce a copy of his current certification and be able to provide a Fortress transferable warranty
( totally independant from their company )upon completion.
I have used and installed other companies carbon products in the past...and ALL OF THEM REQUIRE GRINDING OFF ANY SURFACE MATERIAL DOWN TO THE BASE MATERIAL. Epoxy is not designed to adequately bond to a stucco material. Any installer should be able to provide a " pull off test " to test the adhesion of the epoxy to the bonding surface.
Standard spacing for a residential basement with standard height walls is 4' on center. There is no Fortress spacing requirement for anything over 4' wide. Carbon fiber installed at 5' OC ...(with a wall anchor inbetween any two carbon straps should be easily able to stabilize the wall ) The wall anchors, however, need to be torqued monthly because they can come loose in the ground. The drainage system they are using is ok as we have used these "EZ Flow" brand drainage systems in Ohio with no problems. Normally the outside fill material is brought up to with 2' of the surface and then topped off with topsoil in Ohio.
There should be installation specifications on your contract with your installation company. If they deviate from your contract...in Ohio you can legally stop the job. I would hope they can provide installation specs from their supplier. If not...you will need legal help. Consider a structural engineer who can look over their suggested repair plan, and then stand up in court for you if need be. This is how a problem is resolved in our area of the country. Yours may vary. This of course is just my experience repairing basement foundations with our company.