How to Identify and Repair Bowing and Buckling Foundation Walls
Saturday, June 16th, 2018 by Thrasher
If your foundation walls are bowing, tilting, or showing other signs of inward movement, this can be caused by pressure pushing against your foundation and can be a serious concern. Thrasher offers warrantied solutions that can solve even the worst foundation wall problems. Our foundation wall anchors can provide immediate stabilization and straightening of the wall.
If you have bowing basement walls, it's best to have your home inspected by a professional foundation contractor who can pinpoint the cause and provide the right solution. If you live in Nebraska, Kansas or Western Iowa, contact us today to request a no-obligation inspection.
Signs of a Foundation Wall Problem
No matter what's causing your bowing basement walls, there are several signs to look for to determine if you have a foundation wall problem:
- Wall cracks. Horizontal or stair-step cracks are common when a foundation wall tilts or bows. If your foundation wall is made from concrete block, you might notice diagonal cracking between individual blocks.
- Tilting. A foundation wall will lean in when the top of the wall is being pushed inward by soil pressure.
- Bowing. Bowing of a foundation wall occurs when part of the wall has weakened and is being pushed inward.
What Bowed Basement Walls Look Like
Causes of Cracked and Bowing Basement Walls
Bowing and cracked foundation walls are typically caused by expansive soils and hydrostatic pressure. When the clay soil around the foundation absorbs water, it expands and pushes against your foundation - this is referred to as hydrostatic pressure. When the force exceeds the strength of the wall, the wall cracks or breaks. As the soil dries, it pulls away from your foundation walls, creating weak areas. When the soil around the foundation gets wet again, this causes further weakening and inward movement.
This pressure can be caused by heavy rain, poor drainage, inadequate grading, expansion due to frost, and large tree roots. Other structures, such as a driveway or porch can also put pressure on your foundation walls and cause damage.
Horizontal cracks or water leaking through the foundation walls are early signs of increased hydrostatic pressures on your basement walls. If these problems are ignored, your walls can eventually fail.
Our Proven Bowing Wall Repairs
We recommend Supportworks' Geo-Lock(TM) Wall Anchor System to effectively stabilize your basement walls and potentially straighten your walls over time to prevent the need for expensive foundation replacement. If space around your foundation is limited, we offer alternative repair options for bowed basement walls, such as the PowerBrace(TM) System or CarbonArmor(R) Wall Reinforcing System. After analyzing your foundation problem, our experts can determine the best solution for your home's bowed walls.
How We Install Foundation Wall Anchors
At Thrasher, we follow these six steps when installing our warrantied wall anchor system:
Dig Holes for the Earth Anchors
Before installation, we determine specific locations for each anchor to maximize their effectiveness. When our foundation experts arrive, our proposal will show the exact placement for each anchor in your yard.
At the beginning of each earth anchor installation, sod is carefully removed from your lawn and placed aside for later. A sheet is laid down to help protect your lawn and landscaping, and an earth anchor hole is made using a power auger.
Prepare the Foundation Wall
Once the outside excavation is complete, a small hole is cored through your basement wall. A steel anchor rod is then driven through the wall and surrounding soil, extending out to the buried earth anchor.
Compared to other wall anchor systems, our method requires only a 1" diameter hole in your wall. Other methods require a MUCH larger hole to be cored, or the removal of an entire section of the wall itself.
Attach the Earth Anchor
After securing the end of each anchor rod to its earth anchor, the anchors are buried in the ground, using soil removed earlier. To resist corrosion damage, each of our earth anchor systems is designed with galvanized steel.
Each of the Geo-Lock(TM) earth anchors we install includes a 25-year warranty against manufacturing defects, as well as our own in-house quality and performance warranty.
Mount the Wall Plate
Once the earth anchors have been installed, our foundation repair experts will mount a wall plate over each anchor rod end that protrudes from the basement wall. Screwing a large nut to the threaded end of the anchor rod secures each wall plate and stabilizes the wall as the nut is tightened.
If your wall anchors are installed in a finished basement, be sure to ask us about our Hide-A-Way(R) wall anchor covers, which will conveniently conceal your wall anchor access points.
Restore the Landscaping
At Thrasher, we take pride in leaving each job clean, neat, and free of damage to existing landscaping. As part of our cleanup process, we fill holes completely with dirt saved earlier and tamp filled areas to ensure that depressed areas will not be created as the soils settle over time.
We will also replace all sod, carefully grooming it with a rake to help it to blend in with surrounding grass for a seamless landscaping restoration.
Tighten Wall Anchors
Geo-Lock wall anchors do more than just stop inward foundation wall movement - they can straighten your walls back to their original position over time. This is a powerful way to restore your home's value, and visually much more appealing for you or prospective home buyers.
When Foundation Wall Anchors Won't Work
In some cases, a wall anchor system can't be used to repair a bowing wall because the yard outside the house isn't accessible. When we encounter this type of problem, we recommend installing the PowerBrace(TM) Foundation Wall System.
The PowerBrace(TM) System
PowerBrace(TM) is a patented foundation wall repair system that stabilizes failing basement walls, and can help to straighten walls over time. This product is a great option when access to the yard outside of the home is not possible but bowing, buckling wall problems need to be solved.
The PowerBrace(TM) is an I-beam system that has several advantages over traditional "old school" systems. This includes its rust-resistant zinc coating, and a design that makes it possible not only to stabilize bowing walls, but also to straighten these walls over a period of time.
More about the PowerBrace(TM) System.
Contact the Foundation Wall Repair Experts
A foundation repair is a big job - something you definitely only want to do once! When you're repairing your foundation, beware of expensive options that will not actually fix your problem - and watch out for quick solutions that just don't work.
At Thrasher, we're proud to provide warrantied solutions that will effectively solve issues with bowing, buckling foundation walls.
We provide free, no-obligation foundation wall repair inspections to homeowners in Nebraska, Kansas, Western Iowa and nearby. Each inspection is made in-person, on-site, and is presented in writing. Contact us today to request your foundation inspection!