How to Fix a Bowing Basement Wall

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This is a big project, but it doesn't have to cost big if you follow these simple instructions.

Things You'll Need

  • mini excavator
  • shovel
  • tar brushes
  • elastomeric water proofing paint
  • rod and anchor plates
  • filter fabric
  • tape measure
  • level
  • The first thing to do is to determine if the wall is bowing bad enough to warrant severe methodology to fix it. Use the rule of thirds. The easiest way to do this is to take a straight 2x4 that goes from floor to ceiling and put it against the wall. Use a level to plumb the board. Now measure the gaps at the top and bottom of the level between the level and the wall. If the gap is more than 1/3 of the overall height in inches, you need to fix this problem... yesterday.

    Now that you have determined that your wall needs to be fixed, start by removing all of the fill on the outside of the house that is against the bowed wall. The dirt should be removed at least 4' back and all the way down to the wall footing. Use a mini excavator to remove most of the dirt. ALWAYS HAVE DIGGER HOTLINE COME OUT AND MARK YOUR UTILITIES PRIOR TO ANY DIGGING!!! Use a shovel and a push broom to clean any dirt off of the foundation wall. Then let dry for a few hours.

  • Now that the foundation wall is clean and dry you are ready to apply an elastomeric waterproofing material. This material is a paint, but acts as a water proofer. This product is used on roofs and siding as a seamless way to keep water out. Paint on 2 coats and let the coating cure for about 4 hours.

  • now you need to drill large 1" holes through the foundation above and below the crack in lines about 4' apart. The holes should go all the way through. Once the holes are drilled, insert one end of one of the rods with the threaded end, in through the holes. Slide the foundation plate over the rod, screw the nut on the plate, and secure the nut firmly by hand.

    Now go outside and secure the anchor system that comes with the rod. DO NOT FORGET TO INSTALL THE OUTSIDE FOUNDATION PLATE!!!

  • Now it is time to put 3 more coats of your elastomeric waterproofing over the foundation. Make sure you get the areas with the wall plates especially well.

  • Now lay a piece of perforated 6" drain tile against the foundation footing. You will then dig underneath an area of the footing wear the drain tile will go under your basement slab into a sump pit. For details on how to install a sump pit, go to http://www.ehow.com/how_5792446_install-sump-pit-pump.html

  • Now you are ready to backfill the dug out area. Use 3/4" wash stone in the entire area. Use a plate compactor every foot to make sure the gravel compacts properly. Once the gravel is about half way up the wall and the anchors are buried in a few feet of gravel, go inside with some friends and turn the nuts. Use an impact wrench for quick and easy turning. make sure you distribute between the anchors when you turn them. Once the wall is plumb, go back outside and keep back filling. Do not fill the last foot.

  • Now lay down some filter fabric overlapping all seams at least 6". Then backfill the rest of the way with dirt. Use grass seed and straw after you have raked the yard so that there is a slight slope away from the house (for specific details on grading, see http://www.ehow.com/how_5830773_grade-yard.html ).

    Congratulations! You have successfully fixed your bowing basement wall once and for all!

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a driveway right next to the house, only tear up the sections that are in the way of excavation. The rest can be salvaged when the new slab is poured.
  • They have earth and clean fill dumpster available for delivery through your local waste management company
  • When doing this project, you should always have a helper present because you are working in an area where there is the possibility of objects falling on you.
  • This is a very labor intensive project and will take at least 2 full days to complete.
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