Bowing Basement Walls
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Adam in Kansas. You’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?ADAM: Hey, Tom and Leslie, I’m having some – my wall is bowing downstairs in my basement.
TOM: That’s not good.
ADAM: No it’s not.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Like how much of a bow?
ADAM: Well, they said on the west side of the house it’s bowing about an inch and on the east side of the house it’s about a quarter of an inch. So my question is – you know, I’m having these contractors come into my house and one says put in the steel I beams; one says to put in the wall anchor system; and you know, I really can’t decide which one I want to go with or what’s the best for me.
TOM: OK, stop getting the advice from the contractors. (Adam chuckles) You have a structural problem, Adam, and contractors – unless the contractor also happens to be a professional engineer – should not be dealing out structural engineering advice which is exactly what they’re trying to do and they’re all going to try to sell you their system that they like to work with.
You have a serious problem here and it affects the value of your home; it affects the safety of your home. So what I recommend is that you hire a structural engineer to do an inspection of these basement walls and then to design a very specific repair. You take that design; you give that to contractors, let them bid on that, let them execute the repair as designed by the structural engineer.Then do one more thing, Adam: have the structural engineer come back and give you a letter that says it’s all OK; it’s all done correctly. Because now what you’ve created is sort of a pedigree and if you try to sell your house and somebody sees that bow in the wall and all the repair work you can just explain just that; you had an engineer design a repair, you had it done and you had the engineer recertify it and those walls will be just as good as new with nothing to worry about. But if you don’t take those steps you really don’t know what quality of service and what quality of repair you’re going to have at the end of the project.
ADAM: OK, well I appreciate all you guys’ help and I love the show.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Adam. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.