Carbon fiber itself is an incredible product and for foundation applications it creates the strongest solution on the market today. However, even the best materials can be used improperly. When you are dealing with the foundation of any structure, make sure you are using the best engineered solutions. When comparing different carbon fiber systems, it is important to understand what is happening to your foundation when it cracks or bows. The most common cause for bowed walls is hydrostatic pressure. This is when water pressure builds in the soil and pushes against the foundation wall , causing the block wall to move inward. The idea behind foundation wall supports is to stop the wall from moving. The carbon fiber wall support needs to tie to the house framing and the footer to completely secure the load. The Rhino carbon fiber system is the only carbon fiber wall support system that ties to the top and the bottom of the wall.
CARBON FIBER PLATES
There are several problems with carbon fiber plates. The main issue is carbon fiber plates do not secure to the sill plate or the floor where the major problem areas occur. Due to the lack of top and bottom attachments, the outside ground pressure shifts to the top and bottom of the foundation wall and makes the wall move as one unit resulting in a total failure. The wall shears at the cove, where the wall meets the floor. It is a disastrous situation. In the event this happens, it is possible the whole basement may need to be rebuilt.
The other problem is that fiber plates are pre-impregnated with an epoxy resin. This makes the product very rigid and straight. You will most likely be working with a bowed or deflected surface so a rigid product is going to be have a harder time bonding to the work surface. In addition, epoxy has a difficult time adhering to other epoxies. Since the plates are already pre-impregnated with epoxy, the bond is only as good as the bond between epoxies. It doesn’t have a chance to bond the carbon fiber to the foundation wall. This causes the carbon fiber plate to delaminate with time, requiring additional work in the future. If the contractor has to come back after a failed carbon fiber plate install, the damage done to the wall is commonly worse than at the time when the wall was originally repaired.
CARBON FIBER KEVLAR WEAVE
This carbon fiber product has a Kevlar weave that produces some horizontal strength. A necktie is attached to the rim joist, which disperses the outside force more evenly. This allows for continued movement because it is difficult to install with tension. This creates a situation where the necktie is obsolete until it is placed in tension. Unfortunately, the only way for the necktie to be placed under tension is for the wall to continue to move inward.
Carbon fiber Kevlar straps do not attach to the footer, which allows for the wall to shear at the bottom block. This is because the bottom block is partially below the poured concrete floor, which holds it in place. Over time, the outside pressure will push the entire wall inward as one unit off of the bottom block. This results in a total wall failure, requiring the wall to be rebuilt or pushed back into place if possible.
CARBON FIBER SHEETS
Carbon fiber sheets are similar to carbon fiber plates in the sense that they don’t secure to the sill plate or floor. When the wall support is not connected to the house framing and attached to the top and bottom of the foundation wall, the pressure moves to the weak areas and causes the wall to move as one unit. The whole wall shifts inward and results in total failure or a shear at the cove (where the wall meets the floor).
Carbon fiber sheets are appealing because they cover a wide surface area, typically 2-3 times more than carbon fiber straps and plates giving the appearance of a superior repair. This is a common misconception because carbon fiber sheets are typically unidirectional, thinner and lighter than other carbon fiber products. Sheets typically weigh between 240g and 280g. Carbon fiber sheets are used because they do not require a custom weave, making them easier to source and cheaper to obtain. A high quality carbon fiber will be bi-directional weighing above 550g.
RHINO CARBON FIBER SOLUTION
Our patented Rhino Carbon Fiber® Wall Supports link the foundation base with the house framing making it the strongest system on the market! The carbon fiber is fastened to the sill plate with a galvanized bracket and secured to the foundation floor with a carbon fiber pin. Deterioration does not occur because our patented carbon fiber system is secured to the foundation wall allowing for an even distribution of outside pressure. Rhino Carbon Fiber® took the issues with other systems head on. Rhino carbon fiber attaches the carbon fiber directly to the sill plate ensuring a tight connection is made to the house framing. In addition, Rhino carbon fiber attaches to the footer to ensure the wall will not shear at the bottom block.
Rhino Carbon Fiber® only uses the best materials in our products. Our carbon fiber is made with a custom bidirectional weave and double stitching. The carbon fiber has a weight of 560g per square inch and has a tensile strength of 52,000 pounds per square inch. This is about double the weight of the competitors yet our repair is only 5.5″ wide. We designed it narrower than a hollow in a block to ensure we wouldn’t laminate the entire block cavity. We did this to avoid the entire block cavity being laminated. If the entire block cavity is laminated, the block begins to hold water in the hollows. This may not sound serious, but if there is water held in the block it will become weak or make the carbon fiber delaminate. Rhino carbon fiber epoxy is a blend made specifically for us. It is a pure, virgin epoxy with very few additives resulting in an extremely strong bond between carbon fiber and the work surface. The epoxy is so pure it is able to soak into the concrete surface and carbon fiber, bonding them as one.
- Strongest wall repair system available
- No deterioration or movement
- Minimal intrusiveness
- Fast, clean installation
- Cost are competitive
Rhino Carbon Fiber® Wall Supports create a smooth, flat finish that can easily be painted or finished with no loss of space.