What Causes Bowing Walls?
When you first start noticing that you have bowing walls in your basement, chances are that the problem has been going on for a long time. Usually bowing walls are caused by hydrostatic (water) pressure from the soil outside of the foundation. When the pressure of the soil exceeds the holding capacity of the wall, it pushes parts of the wall inward. Bowing walls can also be caused by the expansion and contraction of clay soils or freezing water, which cause the wall to weaken and eventually fail.
Are Bowing Walls a Serious Problem?
Any sort of cracking, buckling, or bowing walls in a foundation indicates a serious issue for the homeowner and should be repaired as soon as possible. Fortunately, replacing the entire foundation is not usually necessary.
Ways to Repair a Bowing Wall
There are several good options for repairing and/or strengthening a bowing wall in your basement. Dry-Basement Waterproofing, serving the state of Iowa, offers all of these services.
Rebuilding the Foundation Wall
Rebuilding is the best solution for severe damage
Signs of severe structural damage in a wall are horizontal cracks, shearing, and bowing that get worse with time. In these case, the only solution is to completely remove and rebuild the foundation wall. This process involves excavating the yard around your foundation. Temporary supports will be placed under the structure while the entire foundation is removed and replaced. When the job is complete, the temporary supports will be removed, and the dirt and landscaping restored around the house. A year later, when the soil has settled, it may need to be regraded.
Underlying issues must still be addressed
This solution is very expensive and disruptive to your home and family life. If the underlying problem of hydrostatic pressure or expansive soils has not been addressed, chances are that the new foundation will eventually fail as the previous one did. The best solution is to solve the underlying issue as soon as possible, before you need to replace the foundation.
Installing Basement Braces
Dry-Basement Waterproofing uses wall anchors to reinforce the weakened wall. Wall anchors are designed with three main parts: an exterior earth anchor, an interior wall plate, and a connecting steel rod. They work together to straighten the wall and counteract the pressure being exerted against the wall.
Installing wall anchors is a three-step process
When wall anchors are installed, a small area of lawn is removed, and the earth anchor is placed into an excavated hole. A hole is drilled through the foundation wall from the inside, and a steel rod is pushed through the hole to the earth anchor in the yard. A wall plate is installed against the inside of the foundation, and the anchor is gradually tightened until the wall is back in place.
Wall anchors provide a cost-effective, year-round solution
Installing wall anchors is a cost-effective way to repair bowing walls. Over time, periodic tightening of the anchor will pull the wall back to its original position. Foundation anchors can usually be installed in a single day, cause little disruption, and may be completed year-round in many areas.
Repairing with Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber fabric can be installed in strips on the foundation walls in order to support the weakened areas of the walls. They are usually applied with epoxy glue. While the method is a quick and inexpensive way to reinforce a bowing wall, it cannot be used on a severely cracked wall or restore the wall to its original position.
Installing Helical Piers
Helical piers offer the best long-term solution
Installing helical piers is the best way to prevent problems with foundation settlement and to provide strength to the foundation wall for years to come. Helical piers are driven into the ground until they reach bedrock or stable soil. When they have reached a sufficient depth and stable soil, the piers become permanently attached to the footing of the foundation. This bracket ensures that the helical pier is attached to the structure permanently.
Helical piers provide stability with little cost or disruption
Helical piers cost 5% to 10% less than foundation replacement yet provide even greater stability. Dry-Basemen Waterproofing uses the finest, US-made foundation repair products from Earth Contact Products (ECP). They can hold up to 200,000 pounds and don’t require a huge amount of space to install. They last a very long time and can be installed in almost any type of soil. Unfortunately they won’t straighten an already bowed wall, but they will provide a great deal of additional support to prevent further bowing. This is one reason why it is important to address a bowing wall sooner rather than later.
Contact Dry-Basement Waterproofing to Correct your Bowing Wall
Dry-Basement Waterproofing has professionals who can install any of the above solutions for a bowing wall and/or damaged foundation. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and have outstanding reviews on Angie’s List. Contact us today for a free estimate.