Sister Wall Foundation Repair

What Is Sister Wall Foundation Repair?

A sister wall is an additional concrete wall built alongside an existing wall that is not strong enough to support it’s own full weight. A sister wall is installed parallel to reinforce the current wall structure that has been flawed due to improper maintenance causing cracks or corrosion over time.

When Would Sister Wall Foundation Repair Be Needed?

Overstress to wall structures can happen when additions to a home have been made and the current wall is not adequate enough to support the structural changes. A sister wall can lend ample strength to the current wall to endure the extra force of these changes.

Sister walls are often used to reinforce older brick or stone walls that exist in older homes which tend to be less sturdy than that of newer concrete foundations. A sister wall is one of the few viable solutions to remedy these older foundations without having to destroy the original design of the structure.

When a natural disaster such as an earthquake strikes it can cause severe damage to a home’s structural integrity leaving bulges and cracks to parts of the structure. A sister wall may be considered a great solution. It depends on how great the damage is and if the damage is bad enough to justify rebuilding or if the current structure is deemed repairable by the insurance company. In many cases, if a repair is approved, installing sister wall foundation can help to restore the home back to a safe environment.

In another application, sister walls are commonly used to support stone and river rock foundations and can be formed with mortar to mimic these natural elements so they complement their aesthetic appeal. The sister wall can be helpful in drastically reducing water leakage issues.

How Is A Sister Wall Constructed?

A concrete wall, called a sister wall, is erected and reinforced with steel adjacent to the older wall to restore the original integrity of the wall back to when it was first constructed. The wall steel and forms are placed so that concrete can be pumped inside the forms and left to set. The forms are removed after the wall is fully dried to form. Often a new rebar grid (steel) is added to make sure the sister wall is strong enough to carry the new foundation loads. Once in place the combined walls provide adequate support to resolve any former underlying problems.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using A Sister Wall?

  • When a wall is crumbling, collapsing or showing extreme damage, there’s a good chance that a sister wall can provide a more than adequate solution and be a less expensive option.
  • A sister wall foundation can often be a less expensive solution if the exterior of a house has not been effected.
  • A sister wall will remain out of view from the exterior which is important when repairing historic buildings.
  • The weight of the exterior walls of the house will still be supported primarily by the original foundation not the sister wall.
  • Certain clearances are needed to install a sister wall.
  • Sister walls normally require a building permit and building authorities to inspect them before they are installed.

When performing a major repair such as sister wall foundation, it is important to make sure you hire a reputable contractor, especially if you plan to sell your house in the future. Your warranty may be transferrable and provide you with a great selling advantage when the time comes.

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