Methods and Cost of Stem Wall Spalling Repair

Are you concerned spalling will compromise the structural integrity of your foundation? Do you have the tell-tale pockmarks of spalling acned across your stem wall? If you want to know the most common method of spalling repair and the average cost, this article is for you.   

Dalinghaus Construction Inc. has treated spalling stem walls for hundreds of homeowners in Southern California and Arizona. We have over 100 years of experience in the foundation repair industry and we’re here to help you make the best decisions possible regarding your foundation’s health.

In this article, we will cover the dangers of spalling, carbon fiber wrap repair for spalling stem walls, and the average cost per project.

What is Spalling and Why Does it Pose a Threat to My Foundation?

Spalling is the breaking down of concrete, rock, stone, ore into smaller, diminutive sections (generally by an unmitigated water source). Specifically, concrete spalling is the breakdown of concrete via natural weathering and/or chemical reactions – often resulting in fractured and compromised concrete. In short, spalling is indicative of severe water damage.

Spalling eats away at concrete stem walls and footings, ultimately compromising the structural integrity of the foundation. This is because, believe it or not, concrete is porous like a sponge.

Improper drainage and water leaks cause water to soak into the cement sponge that is your foundation and spall. A vicious cycle takes place as spalling allows for more water to travel even deeper into your foundation.

Once water hits the rebar that is reinforcing the foundation, the steel rusts and expands, exerting a tremendous amount of pressure that fractures the stem walls and can break off whole chunks of concrete. This phenomenon is referred to as oxide jacking or rust burst.  

Rust can expand up to 7 times the original thickness of the rebar and can result in 9,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. Oxide jacking can damage your foundation by cracking and disintegrating the support system.

The whole point of a foundation is to equally distribute the load of the home and support it. Spalling and subsequent water damage jeopardize this function.     

In short, spalling is not a foundation settlement problem (where the foundation sinks into incompetent, non-load-bearing soil), but a water intrusion problem exacerbated by rusted internal rebar.  

  Spalling Repair: Carbon Fiber Wraps

 Stem wall spalling is repaired via carbon fiber wraps – incredibly strong, flexible sheets of interwoven Kevlar-like material that provide structural and waterproofing support. Carbon fiber wrap repair impedes future spalling/water damage and provides additional structural reinforcement.  

In addition, carbon fiber wraps are a popular repair option for bowing basement walls, cracked footings/stem walls, and spall-proofing caissons. Epoxy, strong industrial glue and sealant, is utilized as the primary adhesive for carbon fiber repair systems.

To learn more about carbon fiber wrap repair and the unique science behind it, read our article Structural Carbon Fiber – Foundation Repair for Cracked Footings (7 Steps).  

In short, when you take carbon fiber (which has a staggering 15,000 pounds worth of tensile strength) and apply it with epoxy (which itself averages 300 pounds of tensile strength) – you have a hulk-grade patch system to deter future spalling.  

Spalling Repair with Carbon Fiber Wraps Price

The beautiful thing about carbon fiber wrap repair is that it’s cheaper than removing and replacing an entire section of spalled/cracked footing/stem wall. The average price for carbon fiber wrap repair is $5,000.   

Ask a Professional if Your Spalling Poses a Threat to Your Foundation

In this article, you learned why spalling poses a threat to your stem wall foundation, how carbon fiber wraps can repair your spalling damage and the average price of carbon fiber wrap repair.

Dalinghaus Construction Inc. has been in the foundation repair game since 2015 (with our founders spending years in the business before that). We understand the concern homeowners feel about spalling, water damage, and affected foundations.

If you want to learn more about how to deter spalling, efflorescence, and other signs of water damage, read our article French Drains: Foundation Maintenance.

If you live in Southern California and Arizona and you’re ready to book a free foundation inspection now, click on the link below.


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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