What Causes Foundation Walls to Bulge?

No home 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—but many homeowners may see this as a problem with the wall instead of what outside influences may be affecting their foundation wall. Let’s investigate into what might 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 as 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 changes in your foundation walls.

    • Overwhelming Water Pressure
      • Also known as hydrostatic pressure, when a lot of water gets absorbed by your home’s surrounding soil and sits there, it can place a lot of pressure and weight 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. Sometimes, that soil may shift in the direction of your foundation walls, which can cause changes to the wall such as bowing or bulging. If your home is surrounded by expansive soils like clay, your foundation walls may be subjected to a lot of shifting pressure and weight whenever it rains, and the water causes the clay to expand. Eventually this repeated stress can cause your foundation walls to bulge.


    • Tree Roots
      • It’s great to have some trees in your yard and around your house—but while they don’t seem to do much, trees are powerful elements of nature in their own right. 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, 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. When a foundation wall is poorly built, or it was constructed in bad conditions, there’s a good chance that your foundation wall may begin to crack or bow on its own, despite it having 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 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?

Carbon fiber straps

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 that are bowing by less than 2 inches.


      • Your foundation walls need to be in relatively good condition, however, as carbon fiber straps are designed to hold your foundation wall in place and keep it from further movement. If the concrete is crumbling and falling apart, the carbon fiber straps will not be very effective—it is likely that the section of deteriorating concrete will actually need to be replaced.


    • ’58 Strong I-Beams
      • If your foundation wall is bowing or bulging by more than 2 inches, the ’58 Strong I-Beams may be required as a way to 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 that is attached to another steel channel fastened to the floor. 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 to ensure that water doesn’t have a chance to come through, but you will eventually need to have these areas maintained and repaired later to keep them properly sealed.


Keep Your Foundation Walls Safe and Strong with ’58 Foundations

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 has been in the business since 1958—for over 60 years, we’ve been keeping foundations strong for years and years.

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!