Important Facts about Bowed Basement Walls, Columbus, OH.

Important Facts about Bowed Basement Walls, Columbus, OH.

Bowed basement walls may be an indication of serious foundation and basement problems, but can in some cases be difficult to detect. Basement walls often curve inwards due to hydrostatic pressure and expansive soils, both of which exert sustained pressure on your foundation or basement and crawlspace walls. The pressure causes walls to buckle, curve, or swell inwards. 

Bowed basement walls can be a major problem for homeowners and property owners, and can often be an indication of more serious foundation and basement problems. Bowed walls occur when the pressure on the walls from the soil surrounding the foundation is too great and causes the walls to buckle or curve inwards. This can lead to several problems, including structural damage, water damage, and even the collapse of the foundation.

Detecting bowed basement walls can be difficult, but there are several signs that homeowners can look out for. One of the most obvious signs of bowed walls is stair steps or horizontal cracks in the foundation and basement walls. These types of cracks indicate that the structural integrity of the basement or foundation walls has been significantly compromised. This can be due to foundation settlement or other issues.

How to determine if you need repair for bowed basement walls

As noted above, detecting bowed basement walls is not always easy, but you should be concerned if you see any of the following signs, here’s a more detailed explanation of each of the signs that may indicate the need for repair of bowed basement walls:

1. Stair step or horizontal cracks in the foundation and basement walls: 

These types of cracks are a clear sign that the structural integrity of the basement or foundation walls has been significantly compromised. Stair step cracks are diagonal, while horizontal cracks run parallel to the ground. Both types of cracks can indicate foundation settlement or other issues that need to be addressed.

Stair step or horizontal cracks in the foundation and basement walls refer to cracks that form in a pattern resembling a staircase or ladder, or in a horizontal pattern along the length of the wall. These cracks can be an indication of significant structural issues in the foundation or basement walls, including bowing, settling, or shifting. The cracks may be caused by a variety of factors, including soil movement, poor construction practices, and water damage. It is important to have these cracks inspected by a professional, as they can lead to further damage and compromise the stability of the structure.

2. Signs of basement and foundation walls not being straight, curving inwards, or bulging: 

In addition to stair steps or horizontal cracks, another indication of bowed basement walls is when the walls themselves appear to be curving inward or bulging. This can be seen by looking at the walls themselves and checking for any noticeable deformities or irregularities. Walls that are not straight or that appear to be bulging or curving inward can be a sign of significant pressure being exerted on the foundation, which may require repairs to prevent further damage. 

Some other signs that the walls may be bowed or bulging include doors and windows that no longer close or latch properly and gaps between the walls and the floor or ceiling. It’s important to note that these signs can also indicate other issues with the foundation, so it’s always best to have a professional inspection to determine the cause of the problem.

When basement walls bow, they may appear to curve inward, creating a concave shape. This is a sign that the walls are under significant pressure and may be at risk of collapsing.

If you notice that your basement or foundation walls are not straight and are instead curving inwards or bulging, this is another sign that you may need to repair bowed basement walls. This damage is usually caused by hydrostatic pressure, which is the force exerted on your walls by water in the surrounding soil.

3. Presence of expansive clay soil around your building: 

Expansive clay soils are notorious for causing foundation and basement problems. When these soils absorb water, they can expand significantly, putting pressure on the basement walls and causing them to bow.

Expansive clay soil refers to a type of soil that is characterized by its ability to expand when it is exposed to moisture, and then shrink when it dries out. This type of soil can cause significant damage to buildings and infrastructure, including bowed basement walls.

In more detail, expansive clay soil can create problems for buildings in several ways. First, when the soil absorbs moisture, it can exert significant pressure on the foundation and basement walls, causing them to bow or crack. This pressure can be especially strong during periods of heavy rainfall or snowmelt.

Second, when the soil dries out, it can cause the foundation to settle, leading to cracks in the walls and other structural damage. This setting can be especially severe if the soil is poorly compacted or if there is a significant amount of organic matter in the soil, which can decompose and create empty spaces.

Finally, expansive clay soil can also create problems with drainage, which can further exacerbate the issues with the foundation and basement walls. When the soil is very dry, it can be difficult for water to penetrate, leading to poor drainage and water buildup around the foundation. Conversely, when the soil is very wet, it can become waterlogged and create problems with excess moisture in the basement.

Overall, the presence of expansive clay soil around a building is a significant risk factor for bowed basement walls and other foundation issues. If you suspect that your building is located on expansive clay soil, it is important to take steps to address the issue, such as installing proper drainage systems or consulting with a professional foundation repair contractor.

4. Evidence of hydrostatic pressure in basement walls, especially during the showery season:

Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure that water exerts on a structure, such as a basement wall. When water accumulates around the foundation, it can cause the soil to expand, putting pressure on the walls and causing them to bow.

In the context of a home’s basement or foundation, hydrostatic pressure refers to the pressure of water against the walls and floors of the basement or foundation. When the ground around the foundation becomes saturated with water, the water can push against the walls and floors, causing damage over time. This can include cracks in the walls, buckling or bowing of the walls, and even water seepage or flooding. 

Evidence of hydrostatic pressure during the rainy season could include water seepage or flooding in the basement, damp walls or floors, or visible water stains. It’s important to address issues as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the foundation and basement.

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to call a professional basement repair company to assess the damage and carry out any repairs that may be necessary. They can use methods such as steel bracing and basement waterproofing to straighten the bowing walls and prevent further damage from water or moisture. Ignoring the problem can lead to further damage and potentially dangerous conditions in your home.

What are the causes of bowing basement walls?

Even as you work with an expert to repair your bowed basement walls, you need to understand the reasons why the walls are bowing. When you identify the cause of the damage to the basement, you will be able to find a lasting repair solution.

In most cases, basement wall bowing is caused by unstable soil. Soils that absorb too much water or expand significantly are likely to put notable pressure on the basement walls and cause them to bow. Some of the soil conditions that can lead to basement wall bowing include:

Oversaturation or excess moisture: Poor drainage or defective gutters and downspouts can cause water to accumulate in the soil that surrounds the basement walls.

Expansive clay soils: Such soils expand when wet and shrink during the dry season. Poor drainage around the basement walls will cause such soils to exert a lot of pressure on the walls during the rainy season.

Frost heaving: During winter, shallow temperatures can cause ice structures to form on the soil. These structures cause the soil to move, and this results in foundation shifting.

How to repair bowed basement walls?

There are several methods that a basement repair technician may use to repair bowed basement walls, including:

  1. Steel bracing: This method involves installing steel beams to stabilize the walls and prevent further bowing. The steel beams are placed against the wall and secured to the basement floor and ceiling joists.
  2. Carbon fiber reinforcement: This method involves applying carbon fiber straps or sheets to the bowed walls. The carbon fiber is then bonded to the wall using a strong adhesive. The carbon fiber reinforcement helps to distribute the load of the wall more evenly, preventing further bowing.
  3. Wall anchors: This method involves installing metal anchors into the ground outside the foundation wall. The anchors are then connected to steel rods that are installed through the foundation wall. This helps to pull the wall back into place and stabilize it.
  4. Basement Waterproofing: In some cases, bowing walls may be caused by water or moisture problems. Waterproofing the basement can help to prevent further damage and stabilize the walls. This may involve installing drainage systems or sealing cracks and gaps in the walls.

It is important to note that the repair method used will depend on the severity of the bowing and the underlying cause. A professional basement repair company will be able to assess the damage and recommend the best repair solution for your specific situation.

Why hire a professional to repair the bowing walls in your basement?

There are several reasons why you should consider hiring a professional to repair the bowing walls in your basement:

Experience: A professional basement repair company will have the knowledge and experience to accurately diagnose the cause of your bowing walls and recommend the right repair solution. They will also have the right tools and equipment to carry out the repair work efficiently.

Safety: Repairing bowed basement walls can be a dangerous job, especially if you lack the necessary knowledge and equipment. A professional company will have the necessary training and safety equipment to perform the job safely.

Guaranteed work: A professional company will stand behind their work and provide a warranty for the repair work they have done. This will give you peace of mind knowing that if there are any problems with the repair work, the company will rectify them at no additional cost.

Time Savings: Bowed basement wall repairs can be time-consuming, especially if you don’t have the right tools and equipment. Hiring a professional company will save you time and energy, as they will have the expertise and resources to complete the job quickly and efficiently.

Cost-effectiveness: While hiring a professional company may seem expensive up front, it can save you money in the long run. Attempting to repair bowed basement walls yourself can result in costly mistakes and additional damage, which will cost more to repair in the future. A professional company will get the job done right the first time, which will save you money in the long run.

Overall, hiring a professional arched basement wall repair company will ensure that the job is done safely, efficiently, and correctly the first time, providing you with peace of mind and protecting your investment in your home.

Contact the Professionals at Everdry Waterproofing Of Columbus Today! (614) 850-5600