Steel beams are a common foundation repair option to fix bulging foundation walls. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes: C channel beams, 3” I-beams and 4” I-beams. The 4” I-beams are commonly used in foundation repairs. The beams are installed on the inside wall just like carbon fiber wall supports. They attach to the top of the wall at the house framing and to the bottom, either with a bolt driven into the floor or the floor is opened and the beam is attached to the footer. Foundation repair contractors install either stationary beams or power beams. Stationary beams are set in place and power beams can be tightened with the top bracket to continue to straighten the wall over time.

The problem with power beams is the inward pressure pushes on the block wall. When the brace is tightened it increases this pressure and can crack and break the block. It can also damage or twist the floor joists. The stationary steel I-beams stop the wall in its current position. The problem is the rigid beams only touch the wall where the wall bows the most allowing for the rest of the wall to continue to move inward. Eventually, it will stop at the beam but may cause more damage in the process. Steel beams also do not address foundation wall cracks.

Steel beams are heavy and more expensive to install. The final product creates a bulky, beam sticking out from the basement wall that is hard to hide. If you cover it with a finishing wall you lose square footage in the basement. If you don’t, you see an ugly beam. Either option lowers the property value of your house.