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Bowing Wall Repair

When basement walls start to bow, homeowners start to get concerned about the structural integrity of their foundation, and justifiably so. As it happens with all types of foundation problems, bowing walls will never stabilize on their own and will only get worse. Left untreated, bowing walls can lead to structural collapse. For that reason, it is a good idea to call a foundation repair pro as soon as the first signs of a bowing foundation are detected.

The first signs of foundation wall bowing problems include:

  1. Stairstep cracks on block walls
  2. Horizontal cracks on poured concrete walls

Bowing Basement Wall Causes

The soil around the foundation is like a sponge. When it is wet, it expands. When dry, it contracts. This constant, seasonal soil movement exerts enormous pressure on the foundation walls, which over time, begin to crack, bow, and sometimes even cave in.

Bowing Basement Wall Repair Methods

There are several methods used to repair bowing walls, and the method recommended by your foundation repair specialist will depend on the size and severity of the problem.

Common repair methods include:

  • Carbon Fiber Strips – It is the least invasive method to stabilize and reinforce bowing basement and crawl space walls. It works in both block and poured concrete walls.
  • Wall Braces – Steel wall braces help stabilize and support foundation walls, keeping them from bowing any further.
  • Wall Anchors – Wall anchors can both stabilize and, over time, straighten bowing foundation walls. In some cases, they can even return the wall to its original position. It involves installing helical anchors outside and, using steel rods tying them to steel plates or channels that are fastened to the basement walls. After that, the foundation repair company will come back and tighten the anchors until the wall is straight and secure.
  • Foundation Wall Replacement – If the wall already started to cave in and crumble, the only solution is to replace it. This involves digging it out, using steel peers to secure the house and build a new wall. This is a labor-intensive, disruptive and often expensive method. For that reason, we recommend that homeowners address bowing foundation walls as soon as possible.

Addressing the causes of bowing basement walls

As mentioned before, soil expansion happens when the soil becomes wet, making it one of the main causes of bowing foundation walls. The best way to keep your foundation walls from bowing is to prevent oversaturation of the soil around them with foundation drainage improvements. To learn more about bowing walls and how to prevent them from happening or becoming worse, contact your local foundation repair contractor today.

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