What is Carbon Fiber Foundation Repair?

What is Carbon Fiber Foundation Repair?
What is Carbon Fiber Foundation Repair?
If you’re looking for information about carbon fiber foundation repair, this article has what you need. We’re going to talk about carbon fiber straps, how carbon fiber foundation repair is performed, signs your house might need carbon fiber foundation repair, and more.

What are Carbon Fiber Straps?

Carbon fiber foundation straps are used to stabilize and reinforce bowed or cracked foundation walls. Carbon fiber is an extremely strong, non-stretchable, virtually unbreakable material used to build commercial aircraft.  This makes carbon fiber foundation straps the perfect choice for strengthening and stabilizing foundation walls.

What is Carbon Fiber Foundation Repair?

Carbon fiber foundation repair is when a foundation repair contractor uses carbon fiber straps to stabilize and strengthen a cracked or bowing basement wall. 
 
Foundation walls usually bow inward and crack when hydrostatic pressure builds up in the soil around the foundation. Hydrostatic pressure is created when the soil gets saturated with water that can’t drain off. Hydrostatic pressure exerts a tremendous force against foundation walls. Eventually, the walls will bow inward and even crack if the pressure isn’t relieved. (For more information about hydrostatic pressure, see Is Hydrostatic Pressure The Reason You Have a Wet Basement?)
 
During carbon fiber repair, the carbon fiber straps are attached to the foundation wall using epoxy and anchored at the top and bottom of the wall. Carbon fiber straps won’t straighten an already bowed foundation wall. However, they will stabilize it and prevent it from further bowing.
 
Of course, when a foundation wall has bowed inward and cracked because of hydrostatic pressure, carbon fiber foundation repair by itself is not enough. You need to resolve the root cause of the problem, which is the build-up of hydrostatic pressure outside the foundation wall.  

The Benefits of Carbon Fiber Foundation Repair

The benefits of carbon fiber wall repair include:
 
  • Carbon fiber is very strong – As we mentioned above, carbon fiber is used to build commercial aircraft. That makes it great for stabilizing and reinforcing foundation walls to prevent further inward movement.
  • No maintenance is needed once the carbon fiber straps are in place – Once the repair is complete, you don’t need to worry about it. 
  • Carbon fiber straps lie flat on the wall – Unlike steel I-beams, carbon fiber straps don’t take up any space.
  • You can paint over the straps – Are you planning on finishing your basement? No problem. You can paint carbon fiber straps, install drywall or wallpaper over them, etc.
  • Quick installation – Most carbon fiber foundation repair jobs can be completed in one day.
  • Less expensive than steel I-beams 
  • No excavation required 
  • Installation from inside only – There’s no need to dig up your yard.
  • Minimal noise and dust 
  • Minimally invasive – There’s no need to drill holes into the foundation wall.
Structural Crack - Bowing basement wall

Can Carbon Fiber Repair Be Used On All Bowed Or Cracked Walls?

We can use carbon fiber to stabilize a wall that has bowed up to 3 inches.  Walls that are bowing more than 3 inches will usually need a repair solution such as I-beams, wall plate anchors, or C-channel wall anchors.
 
If the wall has bowed 4 inches or more, we usually recommend rebuilding the wall rather than merely supporting it using one of the above methods. This depends on the thickness of the wall, of course. The rule of thumb is that if the deflection is half the wall’s thickness or more, it’s best to rebuild the wall. For example, an 8-inch thick wall that has bowed 4 inches or more should be replaced.

Signs Your Home Might Need Carbon Fiber Wall Repair

A cracked or bowed foundation wall is the main sign your home might need carbon fiber foundation repair. If you see this, act fast. Contact a foundation repair contractor or structural engineer and ask for an inspection. A repair contractor will also be able to give you a repair estimate.
 
Remember, if the wall is bowed inward more than 3 inches, you probably won’t be able to use the minimally-invasive carbon fiber straps on it. So, this is a foundation repair you don’t want to postpone.

How Much Does Carbon Fiber Repair Cost?

The cost of carbon fiber foundation repair depends on various factors, including:
 
  • Where you live
  • The size of the wall that needs stabilization – This will determine the number of carbon fiber straps necessary to strengthen the wall and stop the bowing.
 
The only way to know how much the repair will cost is to contact an experienced foundation repair contractor in your area and ask for an inspection and estimate.

How To Prevent Problems With Your Foundation Walls

Because most foundation problems are caused by water, you can go a long way toward preventing trouble by controlling groundwater around your foundation. Here are a few ways to do that:
 
  • Install a drain tile system – When it comes to controlling groundwater around a foundation, nothing beats a drain tile system. For information about how they work, see, How Does A Drain Tile System Work?
  • Clean your gutters regularly – If your gutters are clogged, it will cause water to flow over the side of the house and into the soil around the foundation.
  • Install downspout extensions – These will carry water away from the foundation before releasing it.
  • Install an underground downspout, and pop-up emitter – Water from the gutters will flow into the underground downspout and toward the pop-up emitter situated around 10 feet from the foundation. When the pop-up emitter is full, it will pop up and eject the water away from the foundation.
  • Keep vegetation – flowers, shrubs, trees, etc. – away from the foundation – You don’t want a reason to add water to the soil around the foundation.
 
If your home has a bowed or cracked foundation wall and you’re in our service area in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri contact us today to find out if carbon fiber foundation repair is the right repair solution for you.

WRITTEN BY

Dave Epp

Dave is the President at Epp Foundation Repair with over 27 years of experience in the industry. Dave has worked on thousands of foundation, basement, concrete, and crawl space repair projects since 1993. Dave is involved in several civic and church organizations and enjoys coaching youth sports, mainly football, golfing, and elk hunting.

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