In an ideal situation, your home’s walls would stand firm and straight for decades to come. However, that isn’t always the case, especially in North Carolina, where rain, wind, small earthquakes, and sometimes hurricanes are factors that come into play.
As the weather around your home takes its toll, the soil underneath it is affected. That sometimes pairs badly with the materials your home was built with, and if your property has foundation issues, it can snowball quickly.
You may eventually find your walls in need of reinforcement. That’s where wall anchors come to the rescue—as long as you pick the right ones for your home and have them installed by the right professionals. Let’s explore wall anchors as your home’s best solution.
When Should I Consider Wall Anchors?
Homeowners in Raleigh and Winston-Salem, NC, generally don’t consider wall anchors for their home’s foundation until problem signs arise. What are the problem signs that indicate you need wall anchors?
- Bowing Walls
Chances are, you may need wall anchors if you have bowing walls in your basement. Bowing walls are walls that have a curved, slightly leaning, or buckled structure and stature. Your walls may also look as if they’re bulging inward as if something was pushing against it from the outside.
Walls are made to stand tall and straight. Therefore, if you notice any bowing walls, there may be a serious foundation problem. It’s the most common and prominent problem sign that your home’s foundation may need wall anchors installed.
- Floor and Wall Cracks
Cracks in the walls typically accompany bowing walls. You may also find that there are horizontal cracks alongside the floor. If your basement walls or your foundation is made of poured concrete walls, you will most likely find diagonal cracks from the corners to the top of the wall, rather than horizontal cracks. This is simply characteristic of how poured concrete walls are built.
Flooring cracks are also characteristic of foundation issues and can accompany bowing walls as well. In the most extreme cases, you may notice that your floor is dipping or shifting. This is a dangerous sign. Shifted or dipped floors can mean that your flooring has been extremely weakened and can potentially collapse.
- Leaking Wall Cracks
Depending on the condition your foundation walls are currently in, you may also experience water leaking through any cracks in the walls. This results from external water sources pushing against your foundation walls, making it possible for water to enter through any openings.
What Causes Foundation Walls to Bow Inward?
Unfortunately, once problem signs have been caught, there is not much that the typical homeowner can do themselves. You can, however, familiarize yourself with the causes behind bowing foundation walls so you know where to go for help. What causes your home’s foundation walls to bow in?
- Hydrostatic Pressure
Long, wet, rainy days are not unknown to the average homeowner in Raleigh and Winston-Salem, NC. In fact, the average amount of rain that Raleigh and Winston-Salem experience in a given year is 45 to 46 inches.
This amount of rainwater can do a lot of damage to your home’s foundation. An eventual buildup of water pressure from this accumulation of rain gives foundation or basement walls that characteristic inward bulge as if some force was pushing against your walls from the outside. This is hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure refers to when sources of underground water apply pressure onto your foundation and/or basement walls. This pressure can cause your foundation walls to bow inward.
- Expansion and Shrinkage of Clay Soil
Clay soil is available widely across all of North Carolina. There is so much clay soil in this state that, in fact, Cecil soil, a type of red clay soil, is the official state soil. There is a very high likelihood that your house is built on top of some form of clay soil.
However, there is a major drawback to clay soils. Clay soils expand when saturated with water and shrink back to their minuscule size when dry. During the wet and rainy seasons, clay soils can absorb a lot of water. The on-and-off rain during this time can cause continuous expansion and shrinkage of clay soil.
This back and forth between swelling and shrinkage of clay soil can weaken the structure of your home’s foundation. A weak foundation leads to floor and wall cracks, as well as bowing walls.
- Inefficient Drainage Systems
The purpose of a foundation drainage system is to funnel the water through a pipe, away from your foundation, and toward an area where it can dry, preventing water from collecting near your home. A faulty drainage system can further exacerbate the collection of water near and around your home’s foundation, worsening the problems that hydrostatic pressure can bring.
Drainage systems that are no longer working efficiently or broken in any way can worsen the hydrostatic pressure on your foundation walls. While it cannot prevent clay soil expansion and shrinkage, it can certainly help to decrease the amount of water that they absorb and, therefore, decreasing the amount that they swell up. Having a properly functioning drainage system is key to preventing foundation walls from bowing inward.
You may have heard that wall anchors are one of the best methods for foundation repair. However, the average homeowner may not know what these wall anchors do for their foundation, much less how they are installed.
The Purpose of Wall Anchors
Wall anchors work to prevent further damage by protecting your foundation from the hardships that the elements can bring. While they cannot combat water accumulation near your home’s foundation or stop clay soil expansion, wall anchors can most certainly prevent severe damage from hydrostatic pressure. They are also very effective in protecting against damage that can exacerbate foundation issues, as well as potentially correcting the damage that has already been done to your home’s foundation.
Understanding what wall anchors are made of can help homeowners understand how they work and how they can be so reliable. The term “wall anchors” is slightly misleading, because the main part of the wall anchor is not visible; instead, it’s buried in your yard’s soil. This is what gives them their other common name: earth anchors. The steel earth anchors are very strong metal and resist corrosion, rust, and other damage. This helps it to hold up your home’s foundation.
How Wall Anchors Are Installed
For the Basement Wall Anchor System, the expert crew at Tar Heel Basement Systems will first excavate about 12 feet into the earth. Depending on the extent of your foundation or basement wall damage, however, the crew may excavate more holes for the wall anchors to be put into place. The crew then drills the anchor rods for the wall anchors through the damaged foundation or basement wall, which connects the external wall anchors to the inside part of the wall anchor. External steel plates are then secured in the augured exterior holes away from the foundation, and the interior plates are set into place on the inside of the damaged wall. At the interior plate, the team begins to tighten the anchors with a wrench to pull the anchors closer to your damaged foundation wall, so that it can hold it up with stability.
By contrast, the IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System does not require any excavation into the earth. Instead, the team installs the galvanized steel IntelliBraces™ directly onto the inside part of your damaged foundation wall. Again, depending on the severity of the damage done to your foundation walls and the size of that wall, the crew may install more braces. These braces extend from the floor to the highest part of the ceiling against the wall, so you are guaranteed stability and protection against even more damage.
It can become confusing to decide which system to pick. Both options are great for combatting foundation issues and repairing the leftover damage. While they may sound like they do the same thing, there are key differences between the two.
The Basement Wall Anchor System is a more extensive wall anchor system. It is buried into your property’s soil, with no visible protrusions or disturbances to your landscape or intruding parts into your home’s space. The non-corrosive, non-rusting, galvanized steel wall anchor consists of a large rod underneath the earth and anchoring rods that connect this large rod to the external and internal wall anchor plates.
Likewise, the IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System is made of galvanized steel that is very resistant to corrosion, does not rust, and does not intrude into any space in your home. In contrast to the Basement Wall Anchor System, however, the IntelliBrace™ is made up of braces installed against your damaged wall, with no external excavation or installation necessary.
Which Foundation System do I Pick?
Because of the Basement Wall Anchor System’s more invasive nature, this repair is best for homeowners that have a wide expanse of property and soil to make room for the installation. The professionals you contact will need a decent amount of space to properly install the Basement Wall Anchor System rods in the soil of your property. Additionally, because the underground wall anchor rods are decently sized, they cannot be installed without qualified professionals.
The IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System is most suitable for those that have smaller properties or have limits to the external excavations that a wall anchor system requires. This is because the foundation system is installed against the damaged wall, avoiding the need for excavation or external installations.
Installing wall anchors yourself is highly discouraged. It is very dangerous for even the strongest homeowner, and the consequences are simply not worth the risk.
DIY Induces Further Damage
When homeowners attempt to perform foundation repairs themselves, it often leads to even worse damage. Digging around your foundation without the proper knowledge can loosen the soil under your home. This can cause your home to cave in and damage the interior.
In the most extreme cases, DIY wall anchor installations may cause your home to collapse into your foundation. You do not want this to happen to you. This can decrease your home’s property value and add even more expenses.
DIY Can Result in Injury
Since wall anchors involve a lot of digging, and at deep depths, homeowners that are not exercising caution or knowhow can fall and injure themselves. There are many pipes and other underground structures that you may uncover, which will result in even worse injury than scrapes and bruises. The possible hospital bills are simply not worth trying DIY.
If you have avoided falling into dangerous underground structures, you can still cause damage to your house. Installing the wall anchors incorrectly may cause the walls to bow even further or put them under extra pressure. This will make the problem worse than if you just left it alone. This is dangerous not just to you, but also to the other inhabitants inside your home.
Wall Anchors: The Solution to Your Foundation Problem
Whether it is hydrostatic pressure, repeated clay soil expansion and shrinkage, or inefficient or faulty drainage systems that you are dealing with, wall anchors are a very well-rounded solution to your foundation problems.
Wall anchors are a type of anchor that is buried into the earth, typically composed of some form of steel. These steel earth anchors are embedded into the soil and connected to very durable steel plates and anchoring rods. These are then attached to the inside of your home’s walls (usually basement walls).
There is also an external plate that connects to the anchoring rod and the underground wall anchor, providing even more stability for your home’s foundation. Because the large, strong wall anchors are underneath the soil’s surface, it is a nearly invisible solution.
- Basement Wall Anchor System
The Basement Wall Anchor System was designed to help prevent your basement and foundation from bowing inward even more. This wall anchor system provides permanent stability to your foundation and basement walls, so you do not have to worry about future problems or consequences.
This system is not visible outside your property, so homeowners do not have to be concerned about the wall anchors changing or interfering with the aesthetics of their yard or landscape. It also has a very sleek and simple design, made of high-grade, corrosion-resistant, galvanized steel. This is a very sturdy and long-lasting solution to many basement and foundation concerns. Galvanized steel is corrosive resistant since it’s able to last in the harshest soil between 35 to 50 years.
Since many homes in North Carolina are built on clay soil, the steel in the Basement Wall Anchor System can last several decades. This is because clay soil is more resistant to rusting. Galvanized steel is also very resistant to extremely cold and hot temperatures, so homeowners do not have to worry about any damage that may be done to their wall anchors during the cold winters and hot summers.
What gives the galvanized steel wall anchors their amazing properties is the zinc coating. Zinc coating prevents rusting of the steel by hindering oxygen and water from reaching the steel. Water and oxygen are the two key components in the chemical reaction that causes rusting in metal. The zinc coating around the galvanized steel also helps to protect against metal corrosion. The zinc molecules act as a sort of protective barrier around the metal and against other corrosive materials, significantly slowing down wear and tear.
Due to its stability and longevity, the Basement Wall Anchor System is very effective in repairing moderate to severely stressed foundation and basement walls. It also protects your home against future damage and can potentially straighten your foundation walls. Because of the anchors’ unique design, they can be tightened at intervals to attempt to improve the walls’ condition over time.
If you contact Tar Heel Basement Systems for installation, our expert team can complete both installation and setup in one day. With a longtime manufacturer’s warranty, you can rest easy in your home, knowing that the wall anchor system works to permanently stabilize your home’s foundation. You even have access to repairs or troubleshooting if needed.
- IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System
Depending on where you live, you may have a very limited amount of space where you can have maintenance performed. In that case, your home may be too small for the Basement Wall Anchor System. If you are seeking to correct the damage done to your foundation and want to straighten your foundation and basement walls, but you are worried about the size limits of your property, you must consider a strong but compact alternative.
The IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System is the toughest solution for this case. The system provides effective protection against foundation damage, permanent stabilization, and it has the ability to eventually straighten your foundation walls.
The IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System is composed of galvanized, structural steel I-beams, a type of steel beam with an I-like cross-section. It’s highly resistant to corrosion and guaranteed to never rust.
The IntelliBrace™ I-beams are different from the average I-beam. Many I-beams are uncoated, which makes for a less stable and weaker structure that is vulnerable to the elements. The Tar Heel Basement Systems’ I-beams are coated with zinc to ensure they last for years. They effectively resist corrosion and never rust. As a result, alongside the strength, you are ensured to receive a wall repair system that has an extensive lifespan.
This makes it the perfect alternative for homeowners that have little to no access to external excavation or external wall repairs, or if you simply wish to have very minimal disturbance to your basement and its space. What makes the IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System a great alternative is that it is very lightweight and does not require any external excavation. Do not be fooled into thinking that, because it is lightweight, it is weak. It is fully capable of stabilizing and correcting your home’s foundation and/or basement walls with ease, and combat any consequences brought on by the climate. Therefore, regardless of if you have property line issues or if you simply lack space in your landscape, you can rest assured that this foundation repair system is effective, reliable, and strong.
The extremely stable and long-lasting structure of the IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System provides maximum protection against further damage to your foundation. That’s true whether it’s due to hydrostatic pressure, continuous expansion and shrinkage of clay soil, or because of a faulty drainage system. Homeowners can be at ease knowing that this wall repair system is also effective in correcting tilted walls. Over time, your foundation walls may straighten back to their original state.
Leave It to the Experts
You shouldn’t have to worry about your foundation or walls being in disarray. A damaged foundation can lead to a whirlwind of other problems and, in the most extreme cases, can be very dangerous for the inhabitants inside. By installing wall anchor systems, you can fix old problems and reinforce your home for any issues that come in the future.
By getting in contact with Tar Heel Basement Systems, you can benefit from a free inspection and repair quote, as well as no obligation to book through us. We’ve been happy to serve Raleigh and Winston-Salem, NC, for years. Contact us to schedule a free inspection today!