How to Identify And Repair Bowing Foundation Walls

Walls Caving In? How to Spot and Solve Bowing Walls - Image 1

We’ve all heard the phrase “the walls are caving in” to describe feeling under pressure or a lot of stress. But what if the walls in your basement are actually caving in? Now that’s stressful! Don’t worry quite yet, if caught early, this foundation problem can be solved to protect your home from buckling down both now and in the future. Keep reading to learn how to spot signs of bowing walls and the solutions offered to address them!

Signs of foundation wall problems to watch for

Foundation problems can occur for different reasons. Fortunately, your home throws up red flags in several distinct ways:

  • Wall Cracks. Both horizontal and stairstep cracks can be a sign walls are beginning to bow. This sign often occurs on walls built with concrete blocks, where you can likely notice diagonal cracks between blocks.
  • Tilting. When the top of a wall begins to lean inward, it is affected by the soil pressure surrounding the home and may require repair. Tilting can also cause doors and windows around your home to stick or refuse to close.
  • Bowing. When a wall begins to weaken and get pushed inward, it displays a curve or bulge in one section of the wall, revealing bowing in action.
Graphic pointing out cracks in concrete block walls
Graphic showing signs of bowing walls such as unlevel door frames and gaps in your foundation
Graphic pointing out was a bowing wall looks like

Walls don't crumble overnight and it can take years for these small warning signs to result in major structural damage. But these red flags are not something to ignore. If you spot these signs in your home, it is important to contact professional help as soon as possible! Catching a foundation problem early can save you a ton of money and headaches in the long run.

Causes of Caving Walls

Bowing and cracking basement walls are ultimately caused by what's happening outside your home within the soil and water

Illustration of soil dry out around a home's foundation causing structural damage

Pressure builds up in the soil surrounding basement walls, causing them to cave in over time.

Clay soil surrounding your home and basement soaks up water like a sponge, expanding and puffing up. This swollen soil puts a lot of pressure on your basement walls - we call this hydrostatic pressure. Walls can begin to crack under pressure, resembling cracks like the ones in the photos above.

But the problem continues. When the ground outside begins to dry out, the soil shrinks back down, leaving weak spots around your walls. Then when the rain returns and the ground swells back up, walls caught in the middle become weaker and are pulled inward.

All this drama is caused by heavy rain, poor drainage, inadequate grading around your home, frost, and even tree roots. Your driveway and porch can also add to the pressure underground, causing serious damage in the long run.

Keeping an eye out for early warning signs like cracks or water sneaking in through the walls can help you catch foundation problems before they get worse. If ignored, the walls could fail, resulting in serious damage to the safety and structural integrity of your home.

Solutions for Bowing Walls

There are various methods available to address your home's unique need and permanently stabilize bowing walls. For personalized guidance on the most suitable option for your situation, we advise seeking professional assistance. At Thrasher, we provide free professional inspections! Our experts will assess your circumstances, propose the best solutions for your basement, and offer estimates to begin solving your foundation concerns.

Here is a breakdown of the methods offered by Thrasher to restore and stabilize bowing walls:

PowerBrace™ System

PowerBrace System installed in a basement

The PowerBrace™ System is a foundation repair solution which uses a system of I-beams to stabilize failing basement walls. This solution prevents and resolves leaning, sliding, and caving walls.

  • Straightens walls over time This patented system can be tightened over time, allowing professionals to continue stopping wall failure without any invasive drilling or digging.
  • Non-disruptive installation Specially designed and professionally installed to prevent damage to floor joist system, unlike other I-beam systems. No heavy equipment needed, and no disturbance to home's lawn or landscaping. Often installed in leass than a day.
  • Joist reinforcement method The PowerBrace™ System is custom fit to basement walls and evenly distributes the load of foundation pressure. Therefore, side loading is reduced and the integrity of your home's floor system is protected.

 

EverBrace™ System

EverBrace System installed in a basement

The EverBrace™ system is utilized in situations where serious foundation damage is taking place. This solution utilizes steel beams and components to restore failing walls permanently.

  • Security of a new foundation In situations where the entire foundation would need to be replaced, EverBrace™ provides the same security through a less costly and disruptive method.
  • Easily concealed These steel beams and panels can easily be concealed by drywall. At Thrasher we also cover edges and corners with a steel trim for a finished look. Zinc coacting on steel parts prevents corrosion over time.
  • Integrates with home Custom panels are built to fit around doors, windows, and other obstacles. This system can easily be integrated with a waterproofing system to ensure the safety of your basement and home.

 

GeoLock® Wall Anchor System

GeoLock System installed in a basement

The GeoLock® System installs wall anchors into the soil surrounding support walls to repair and stabilize bowing foundation walls.

  • Stops wall failure permanently These wall anchors prevent further bowing, buckling, and cracking. This warrantied solution also returns your wall to its original position.
  • Minimal disruption While the installation process requires some digging and drilling, our professional installation teams cause minimal disruption to your property and leave the area better than they found it. The installation is also completed in abaout a day.
  • Clean look Galvanized stell components give the wall anchors a clean look that will never rust. If you want to enhance your basement appearance, HideAway™ Wall Anchor Covers are available to add a clean finish to the GeoLock® system.

 

Carbon Fiber Wall Straps

Wall straps installed in a basement

If bowing and cracks are not severe, or caught early, carbon fiber wall straps can be used to repair and prevent future damage.

  • Low profile Wall straps are easy to work around and paint over if you are finishing your basement or simply hoping to resolve warning signs efficiently. Installation does not require excavation or heavy equipment.
  • Strong as steel This system uses carbon fiber-reinforced polymers that provide a tension 10 times stronger than steel! Our two-part epoxy ensures this flexible but strong material is securely adhered to basement walls.
  • Works with other solutions Carbon fiber wall straps can be installed with ArmorLock brackets to increase tension reinforcement and stabilize walls. Together, these systems stop inward movement and fix cracking walls.

 

Contact the Experts!

Our team at Thrasher Foundation Repair has been solving bowing basements and foundation problems for nearly 50 years, making us a #1 choice in foundation repair, concrete repair, and more. Issues with your home's foundation are not to be taken lightly, we're here to help! If you are located in one of our service areas, contact us today to schedule a free at-home estimate and decide what solution is best for you and your home.

Get a Free Estimate

Give us a call at 1-800-827-0702 or complete this form and we'll contact you shortly to schedule a Free Inspection, and you'll get a no-obligation written quote during our initial visit.
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