Bowing basement walls are a sign of serious foundation problems that can impact the rest of your home. Walls tend to bow before homeowners notice cracks, which might make it difficult for homeowners to spot. However, bowing is a sign of a foundation that’s facing a lot of external pressure: it’s only a matter of time before cracks start to show up in the basement and more damage happens. For these reasons, it’s important to have a foundation repair expert look at your basement, diagnose the cause of your bowed wall, and make the necessary repairs before the damage starts to seriously threaten the structure and value of your home.
Why is My Wall Bowed?
The soil that surrounds your basement walls can expand after heavy rain or contract in a drought. These changes in the soil can cause your home to shift because of the changes in pressure against the walls. While basement walls can take a lot of downward pressure—they wouldn’t be able to hold up the rest of your home otherwise—lateral or sideways pressure from expanding soil can cause foundation problems. Wet soil can push on basement walls, which causes them to bow and eventually leads to foundation cracks.
While there are cases where basement walls could bow as a result of poor design, it’s generally a result of inadequate soil drainage, too much soil compaction, or faulty waterproofing systems. Water that’s already inside of your basement can be controlled with water redirection systems like those installed by Acculevel contractors and a dehumidifier. A local contractor will know a lot about the soil in your area and use that knowledge to decide how to act on the foundation inspection findings.
Signs and Symptoms of Bowed Basement Walls
Foundation cracks and bowed walls can cause problems in your home outside of being unsightly. If you have problems with pests or excessive moisture in your basement, there could be some damage to your basement walls that needs repair. Water intrusion can also be detected by a musty odor or the presence of mold and mildew, which your foundation contractor will have information about treating and preventing.
A foundation repair expert will be able to tell you if the cracks in your home are shrinkage cracks or signs of a more serious foundation problem that requires stabilization and repair—in general, cracks that are wider at the top than the bottom could be a sign of foundation issues. If your foundation walls are bulging right after a flood in your area, you should get an inspection and professional advice. Other signs of foundation issues related to bowed walls include:
- Uneven floors
- Cabinets, doors, or windows that don’t shut properly
- Cracking plaster or drywall in your living space
- Exterior brickwork or caulking cracks
- Leaning chimneys or porches
Bowed Wall Solutions
Whatever the cause of your bowed basement walls and foundation cracks, a foundation repair expert can inspect your home and help address the damage before it gets worse. Exterior water problems can be helped by making sure that your gutters and downspouts are actually depositing water away from your home’s foundation.
When it comes to reinforcing and repairing your basement walls, Acculevel offers several solutions for homeowners. Carbon fiber straps can be installed in rows to reinforce walls, work with the columns of bricks in your foundation, and combat exterior soil pressure. If your flooring is suffering from insufficient support from your basement walls, it can be reinforced with a cost-effective system of metal beams and adjustable steel posts that are easy to install. Further lateral support can be provided with tie-backs or wall anchors, depending on what is needed to stabilize your basement walls.
Foundation Inspections for Bowed Walls
The longer you ignore a foundation problem, the more expensive repairs you’ll need down the line. Give your home the solid foundation it needs to be stable for years to come. Acculevel has been repairing and inspecting basement foundations for many years: if you’re a homeowner looking to repair foundation cracks or any number of other issues, we can help diagnose your problems and find the solution that works for you. Contact Acculevel for a free home foundation inspection and basement reconditioning or waterproofing estimate.