Case Studies

Erickson Foundation Supportworks Case Studies: Medford, MA Bowing Walls & Settling Beams

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 by Niles Erickson


Erickson Foundation Supportworks was contacted by a condo association to inspect their complex in Medford, MA. The adjoined condos shared a common basement, the foundation walls beneath them all being comprised of a section of brick on the top half and an older stone, mortar combination on the bottom half. The entire structure was 150' in length and 30' in depth.

While the condos above are relatively modern and in good shape, there were several sections with sagging floors and sections of wall bowing in due to unstable soils on the exterior. Working with older foundations is always a challenge, as sometimes stone foundations can be crumbly or unstable. One section of bowing wall was even more of a challenge, as the bowing was affecting a set of wooden stairs leading up from the basement floor. The association was looking for a cost effective solution to fix their foundation while not disrupting too much of the homeowners' daily lives.


The condo complex had sagging floors in three separate locations in the basement, all towards the rear of the building. For each location, Erickson Foundation Supportworks proposed SmartJacks. SmartJack support posts are high-capacity, fully-adjustable steel piers. One added benefit of the piers, they can be easily adjusted if future settlement causes the floor joists to sag again. In total, 16 SmartJacks were installed, along with a couple steel beams to assist with distributing the weight more evenly.

Once the SmartJacks were installed, a PowerBrace system was installed at each section of the foundation wall which had bowing issues, a total of two sections. The first section was on the side of a small 12' bump out off the rear of the structure and required 4 PowerBraces to stabilize the wall where the stone and mortar section was bowing in 4 inches or so in the middle. The PowerBraces completely stabilized the wall, and in some cases can be tightened over time as the expanding soils in the exterior can eventually release their pressure. The second section needing PowerBraces was a bit more severe, the wall bowing in 5" to 6" towards the middle. One section of this 30' wall needed to be completely replaced with new blocks, as the bowing wall was affecting the basement stairs and pushing them out of balance. The new block wall had two strips of Carbon Armor, made from fiber-reinforced polymer that's 10-times stronger than steel, installed over it as well, to prevent any future bowing. The remainder of the failing wall received 7 PowerBraces to stabilize bowing action. The final step to complete the project was spraying a polymer foam around the steel PowerBrace system to further stabilize the old foundation walls.

Project Summary

Installing Contractor: Erickson Foundation Supportworks

System Design Specialist: John Prince

Products Installed: SmartJacks (16), PowerBraces (11), Carbon Armor (2)

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14 Clement Rd
Hudson, NH 03051
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