Friday, May 30, 2008

Straightening A Bowed ICF Wall

The only problem we ran into when pouring the concrete for the walls was in the tall walls above the dining room. The walls here are quite a bit taller than the braces that keep them straight, so the top four feet of two of the walls bowed out a bit after we poured them. I had anticipated this problem and put some extra 2x4 bracing on them, but it wasn't enough to stop the problem from occurring.

The problem is... if a wall bows inwards, it's fairly easy to push it out, but if a wall bows outwards, it's very difficult to pull it back in. Unfortunately, the tendency is for walls to bow outwards.

So, once I discovered this was happening, I was able to correct most of the problem with two pieces of chain and a turnbuckle. I first pushed some threaded rods through the walls, and then attached a couple of pieces of 2x4 to the outside to protect the styrofoam. Then I hooked the chain over the rods, and brought it over the top of the wall and back inside and attached it to a turnbuckle. When I tightened the turnbuckle, it brought the walls almost back into plumb. As the project progresses over the next few months, I'll come back to this problem and describe how I get around it. When the house is finished, it'll be as if the problem never occurred!

If I'd have had more chain and a couple more turnbuckles, I could have corrected the problem 100%. The biggest problem is that I only had about 30 minutes to fix it. After that, the concrete has already hardened enough so that it won't move. This was a good lesson learned. If I every do this again, I'll be more prepared.

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