Things You’ll Need
5-inch-square steel I beams
Before installing the braces, chisel out and repair any cracks.Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
When walls in a basement begin to sag or buckle inward under pressure caused by the soil and water on the outside of the basement wall, it is important to effect repairs as soon as possible. Be vigilant when you own a home with a basement so you can spot a basement wall problem early. You can brace a basement wall using square steel I beams with 5-inch-wide sides. Position one I beam vertically against the wall to be braced, every foot along the wall. Plant the I beams in holes in the floor, fill the holes with concrete and brace the I beams with counterpart beams on the opposite wall using a long wooden beam at roof level. This will ensure a sturdy support to prevent your basement walls from sagging.
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Examine the wall for cracks. Chisel out the edges of each crack with a hammer and chisel to create a smooth surface along both sides of the crack. Brush any debris out of the crack with a dustpan and brush. Prepare a batch of grout. Fill the crack with the grout using a grouting tool. Repeat for the opposite wall.
Measure the width of the wall using a tape measure. Dig a 3-inch-deep, 5-inch-square hole in the floor at the foot of the wall every 12 inches along the width of the wall, using a spade. Stand a 5-inch-square steel I beam as tall as the basement in each hole. Fill the holes with concrete around the I beams. Repeat for the opposite wall.
Measure the width of the basement. Cut as many pieces of 2-by-10-inch lumber as you have steel I beams, using a circular saw. Lift one lumber piece up to the top of each I beam, with the 10-inch-wide facing vertical. Bolt the 2-by-10 pieces to the top ends of the I beams using two lag bolts per piece. Repeat for the opposite wall.
Prepare a small batch of grout. Fill the gap between the parallel bars of the I beam and the wall with grout, using the grouting tool. Mix up more grout as you go rather than prepare it all at once so it does not begin to set before you use it all. Repeat this process for the opposite wall. Allow the grout 24 hours to set before decorating or covering up the braces.
When cutting wood, always wear safety gloves and safety goggles. This prevents splinters in your hands and damage to your eyes due to particles being thrown off from the wood. In addition, keep your hands away from the saw blade to prevent accidental cuts or severed fingers due to a slipped blade.
Do not fill the hollows of the I beams adjacent to the walls with cement, as cement or even concrete will not take the load as well as grouting. When the walls move, the cement will crack and the force exerted on the I bars will be uneven, leading to deformation and potentially even failure of the bracing.