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Bowed Wall Stabilization using Unidirectional Carbon Fiber

Crossroads Foundation Repair was called out to a house in Brownsburg, Indianna to inspect a home where the basement walls were exhibiting some signs of horizontal and step cracking as well as bowing. Upon the completion of the inspection Kyle Leeman, Owner of Crossroads Foundation Repair, suggested the use of carbon fiber to reinforce the walls and prevent any further movement or damage. Kyle reached out to Structural Reinforcement Solutions, to obtain material for the repairs.

The Founders of the SRS, Steve Andrews and Jarred Jones both have quite a bit of experience in the carbon fiber reinforcement industry as well as over two decades of experience in the construction industry ranging from basement restoration to bridge construction. Building on this experience, they have not only built a business on the premise of offering contractors a convenient, economical, and versatile solution for externally bonded CFRP repairs, they also support the contractor’s business in ways that no one else ever has.

The bowed wall straps offered by SRS are a 6” wide, 600 gsm unidirectional carbon fiber that is bonded with a specially designed epoxy to maximize adhesion and saturation of the carbon fiber to the concrete or masonry substrates. The products are offered in roll kits that are able to be dispensed and cut to the appropriate lengths for every application. This minimizes waste and provides flexibility to handle virtually any project.

The epoxy is mixed at a 2:1 ratio and is available in two different formats 33 oz cartridges and three-gallon bulk kits. On this project Kyle tried out both formats. As always, using the cartridge epoxy takes some mixing time out of the process but due to the cost of the cartridges, is going to set the contractor back a little on price over the bulk option. With both options available, it is up to the contractor to decide which way they prefer.

While the SRS-600UNI composite strap exhibits a design tensile strength over 40,000 lbs, these straps are more than capable of resisting the soil pressures that are exhibited on most basement foundation walls. The question becomes, can the wall support itself between the straps. This is something the contractor will need to evaluate on a case by case basis. If the walls are constructed properly with all of the design elements required by the building code in place, the strength of the wall should not be an issue and the goal of the repair becomes to resist the external forces in order to stabilize the wall.

In the case of the above mentioned project, the 7.5’ tall 8” cmu wall exhibited over a 4x safety factor when spaced a 4’ centers and calculated against the assumed soil pressure of 60 psf. There were quite a bit of utilities located on the one wall which is the reason Kyle originally recommended CFRP for the repairs. The straps can be slid in behind the utilities and any major relocations can be avoided.

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