When you see bowing walls in your basement, the first thing that might come to mind is panic. Or perhaps you don’t recognize what is happening and think it’s just a crack. In either case, the first step when you see bowing walls is to take a deep breath. This is a very common foundation repair problem, and it can be resolved. When you catch it earlier on, it’s easier to fix and is usually easier on the wallet. Never wait on foundation repair problems because they will only get worse. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the warning signs, causes, and solutions for bowing walls.
So, you take a walk down to the basement to do laundry or grab something from storage, and you notice that there’s a big crack on the wall. There’s been a crack there for awhile, but it looks like it’s getting bigger. This is a warning sign for bowing walls. This is especially true when the crack is horizontal or pushing inwards towards the basement interior. Additionally, if you are having constant water problems or poorly draining soil in your yard, you might want to consider that you could also have foundation problems if you haven’t had your basement waterproofed. Other warning signs of bowing walls include sticking doors and windows, cracks in walls, and sloping floors. When the wall begins to actually collapse, it can cause these sorts of problems.
The main cause of bowing walls is hydrostatic pressure. This means that water gets into the loosely packed backfill surrounding the foundation. Water from snow, rain, plumbing, or other issues can all get into the soil. As more water saturates the soil, it begins to get heavier and build up pressure against the foundation. The foundation is not meant to be stressed in this way, and it will begin to crack because of the uneven pressure. This is one of the first signs of bowing walls. Water and pests can come in through the cracks, and excess moisture can cause mold in your basement as well. However, you should never just seal the crack and be done with it. There are bigger problems! Bowing walls will only get worse until they are fixed or the home collapses due to neglect.
There are a few different ways to resolve bowing walls in your basement, and they will depend on the severity and on your unique situation. Plus, you’ll also want to take into account any waterproofing that needs done because of this. This could add to your overall repair cost, but it will save you thousands in repair costs so that this doesn’t happen again.
Vertical Wall Restraints are the most common way to repair bowing walls. Common spacing is four feet on block walls and six feet on concrete and stone walls. Deadman Anchors are also used to restrain walls but most commonly where there is a walk out or exposed foundation wall opposite of the problem
If you see bowing walls in your home, you need to call a professional, like those at Olson Foundation Repair, for a free estimate. This issue needs resolved immediately, and it will not get better if left alone. Contact us today for a free estimate and get started on getting your home safe and stable once more.