No home or building can stand against the forces of time and nature forever. For many homes out there, it can be a common occurrence to see a foundation wall begin to lean, bulge, or bow. This can happen to a foundation wall whether it is poured concrete, cinder block, or a brick wall. But many homeowners may see this as a problem with the wall instead of what outside influences may be affecting their foundation walls. Let’s investigate into what can cause your foundation walls to bow, lean, or bulge—and how it can be fixed!
Causes of Bulging and Bowing Walls
The environment and the elements can have various effects on your foundation. These changes occur in the weather, the seasons, and even the natural features around your home. Here are some of the most common causes that can lead to bowing basement walls, foundation cracks, bulging walls, and other foundation wall problems.
- Overwhelming Water Pressure
- When a lot of water gets absorbed by your home’s surrounding soil and sits there, it can create a lot of hydrostatic pressure against your foundation walls. Eventually, with enough time, rainstorms, and pressure, your foundation walls can begin to falter as they bow, lean, or bulge.
- Naturally Shifting or Settling Soil
- The soil around and beneath your home can shift over the course of time, either due to water erosion or because of the weight of your home’s foundation. Expansive soils such as clay can also subject your foundation to a lot of shifting pressure and weight whenever it rains. This repeated stress can cause your foundation walls to bulge.
- Tree Roots
- Tree roots grow out to seek more sources of water, and if you have any tree roots near your foundation, those very roots may reach your foundation wall and even begin to break through the concrete to seek the water that the tree needs. In the process, foundation cracks will form and your foundation wall may start to bulge or bow.
- Bad Construction
- Sometimes, it isn’t the forces of nature that you have to deal with, but human error. A poorly constructed foundation might crack or bow on its own. This is even if it has optimal surroundings. When this happens, it is important to get repairs.
Whether it’s due to the forces of nature or poor workmanship, it’s important to have your compromised foundation wall stabilized and repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage from occurring. Unfortunately, these kinds of problems never go away by themselves and only get worse with time. Fortunately, though, there are solutions to have your foundation wall fixed.
Can a Bowed/Bulging Wall Be Fixed?
The short answer is yes! ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing President, Todd Prosan, states that, “Bowed and bulging walls can be fixed, however time is of the essence. In the worst-case scenario, your leaning, bowing, or bulging wall can collapse, resulting in not just a heavily damaged foundation but a house that is structurally compromised and unsafe.”
How Do You Fix a Bowing Wall?
Here are some of the solutions that can help with repairing your bowing, leaning, or bulging wall.
- Carbon ’58 Wall Straps
- These work for cracked walls or foundation walls with deflections of less than 2 inches.
- Your foundation walls will need to be in relatively good condition. Carbon fiber straps can hold your foundation wall in place and keep it from further movement. But if the concrete is crumbling and falling apart, the carbon fiber straps will not be very effective. It is likely that any sections of deteriorating concrete will actually need to be replaced.
- ’58 Strong I-Beams
- For foundation walls with a deflection of 2 inches but no more than 4 inches, the ’58 Strong I-Beams can reinforce your foundation wall and put a stop to any further movement.
- Helical Tiebacks
- These may be the most expensive option, but sometimes they may be the required one. This is accomplished by having a screw-like steel shaft drilled through your foundation wall. This ultimately helps stabilize your foundation wall and restores its structural strength.
- Helical tiebacks will involve drilling through your foundation wall, which means making a possible way for groundwater intrusion if measures aren’t taken. The contractor doing the repairs will have those drill holes filled and sealed against water. But you will eventually need to have these areas maintained and repaired later to keep them properly sealed.
Don’t Wait to Fix Your Foundation Walls
When trouble comes to your foundation, time is of the essence. Bulging or bowing basement walls will get worse with time, and so will many foundation cracks. Intrusive groundwater and moisture from the outside can infiltrate your basement through these cracks. As moisture builds up, mold and wood rot may start growing on your basement’s ceiling floor joists. Excess moisture can also attract insect pests and rodents. Whether your basement is for storage or serves as a finished space, excess moisture or water means property damage.
Keep Your Foundation Walls Safe and Strong with ’58 Foundations & Waterproofing
The condition of your foundation walls has a direct impact on the rest of your home and its structural integrity. From ensuring the safety of yourself and your loved ones to preventing catastrophic damage to your property, you should not hold off on repairing a foundation crack or a bowing wall once you’ve discovered it. The sooner you have it fixed, the better off your home and your wallet will be. ’58 Foundations & Waterproofing has been in the business since 1958. For over 60 years, we’ve been keeping foundations strong for years and years. Our expertise can’t be beat!
Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a stable foundation and a safe home. Give us a call today to schedule for a free foundation repair inspection and receive a detailed estimate for your foundation problem! Our experts will be happy to guide you through our foundation repair solutions and we’ll be happy to answer any questions!