It sure seems strange that something so thin and unobtrusive could strengthen my foundation. How is that possible?
It does seem strange, doesn’t it? But keep in mind that carbon fiber technology is not new technology – it is only new to the residential foundation market. It has been used for years in critical applications like wings for airplanes that weigh hundreds of tons, and have huge forces pushing at them. It’s been used in spacecraft, where high heat and huge stresses are major concerns; in bridges that have to endure constant vibration and the weight of constant car and truck traffic; and in hundreds of other critical applications. Until now, carbon fiber was simply too expensive, and too difficult to manufacture to be used in residential applications.
My wall is cracked, and I’m worried that it will get worse. What choices do I have to repair it?
In any situation where a wall is cracked or bowed, have a professional look at it so you know what options you have. In general, though, the possibilities include:
- Steel beams.
- Wall anchors.
- Carbon fiber.
Steel beams have been used for years to provide back pressure to walls. Because they are strong, the belief was that it would provide additional support to a weakened wall. They are attached to the floor, and the joists above the wall, with a portion sitting against the wall itself. If the wall tries to get worse, it is halted by the beam that is sitting against it.
Wall anchors are plates that are bolted to the wall. The bolt extends out through the wall, and is attached to another plate that is dug into the earth about 6 – 10 feet away, out in the yard. The theory here is that since the dirt won’t move, the plate against the wall won’t move – thereby adding support to the wall. Also, there is a bolt in the middle of that plate. The theory here is that the bolt might be able to be tightened over a long period and push the wall back toward it’s original position.
Rebuilding a wall is an effective way to eliminate a crack or bow and return strength to a wall. It is also very expensive and messy, since the wall needs to be excavated in order to rebuild it. It is used in extreme bow / damage circumstances, and may be your only option if the damage has progressed too far
Carbon fiber is technology that has been used in commercial construction for years to repair and add strength to concrete structures like parking decks, commercial buildings, bridges and the like. It is bonded to the concrete, and because the carbon fibers will not stretch, the concrete cannot move. This method adds strength to the wall itself. Keep in mind that using carbon fiber to strengthen a wall can only be used if damage to the wall has not progressed too far. As well, it is being used as a preventative measure to protect against any potential movement.
How does StablWall work?
Stablwall is made up of thousands of strands of carbon fiber, all running in the same direction. Since the strands are very strong and will not stretch when it is bonded to a wall, the wall cannot stretch or move. Since the Stablwall is bonded to the wall, it actually adds strength to the wall itself – making the wall stronger than it was before.
Remember that cracked walls indicate that the wall is weaker than it was before there was a crack there. Stablwall makes the wall stronger than before it was cracked. In fact, it becomes stronger than a wall with no crack at all!
How is StablWall different than other carbon fiber products?
- It is flexible and able to be conformed to different surfaces. Other products are stiff, like steel plates that are attached to the wall.
- Each sheet can be customized to your crack & direction , not just installed vertically.
- StablWall is larger, covering more of the wall area than other carbon fiber products.
- It is typically less expensive than other types of carbon fiber.
- It is impregnated on the wall, maximizing its’strength. Pre-cured straps create weaker bonds. Competitors claim that on-site mixing is messy, which is not true.
Can I use StablWall on my walls?
StablWall can be used on almost all types of construction, including: block walls; poured concrete walls; clay tile walls; brick walls, and some stone walls. Have a professional look at it to determine if the conditions are right for your situation.
How is StablWall applied to my wall?
StablWall is applied using an industrial strength epoxy. It has been engineered to be applied 6’ on center, or with a 4’ separation between sheets. It does not need to cover the entire wall, nor does it need to be applied end to end.
How many StablWall sheets do I need for my wall?
It depends on how the cracks and bows are situated. StablWall sheets are 2’ wide, and required to be a maximum of 6’ on center, or no more than 4 feet between sheets. It can be applied on a wall with no cracks (for protection against movement), up to a wall with multiple vertical and horizontal cracks. It can be used on walls with cracks and bows as well – how many sheets depends on how the cracks and/or bows are situated. Our local contractor will be happy to diagnose your problem & estimate the number of sheets needed for your specific problem.
Will StablWall straighten my wall?
No. While StablWall will actually strengthen your wall, it will not straighten it. It will hold it in place where it stands. If a bow is significant, many people opt to have the wall straightened, and then have Stablwall installed after to provide strength. That way, even though the cracks still exist, the wall is more stable than ever before.
What is the best paint to use on walls with StablWall?
A good latex paint will do. You want to use latex paint that is specified for use on concrete walls. For basements, you can also put in an additive call Killz, which will reduce the tendency for mold and mildew to grow.
Can I finish my basement after StablWall is installed?
Sure! Since StablWall sits tight against the wall, there is no precautions, building out, or complications that you have to watch out for. It can be drilled through (to install studs or furring strips) without any danger of weakening it, since it is bonded directly to the wall.