Fixing Bowed Basement Walls Early
If you’ve ever had issues with bowed basement walls, you know one thing: As a homeowner, it can be incredibly frustrating to walk into your basement and realize your basement walls have started to bow inward. Many homeowners don’t realize their basement walls are as bowed as they are until it’s almost too late. However, the good news is that it’s possible to catch bowed basement walls early in the process. Here’s what you need to know about managing bowed basement walls before you have a problem.
How to Uncover Bowed Basement Walls Before They Become a Problem
If you leave bowed basement walls for long enough, they’ll become an issue. However, if you catch them early, you’ll be more likely to end up with something you can fix. Here’s how you can find out about the problem before it’s a problem.
- Secondary Problems to Watch out For
If you have certain secondary problems, you may also have bowed basement walls. These problems typically come from the same root as the issues that cause bowed basement walls. Here are a few of the things you should look out for:
- Water in your basement
- Substantial amounts of rain
- Growing wall cracks
- Foundation shifting
- Weak foundation walls
If you’re having issues with bowed basement walls, you may need to look for all or some of these problems to figure out exactly what the problem is. Plus, if you notice these problems, you might want to talk to a foundation expert to see whether you have bowed basement walls.
- Getting an Expert Opinion
The next step is to get an expert opinion. An expert opinion is extremely important in this context. As a layperson, you may not know much about basements, foundations, and the other important things that may have an impact on bowed basement walls. However, experts do, which makes them the perfect option for fixing these basement walls.
Some homeowners don’t want to get an expert inspection of their basement, largely because this area of the home is easy to forget about. However, the basement can have a tremendous impact on the rest of the home. If you’re even a little bit concerned about your basement, you need to make sure you’re going to be able to get the best fix for it, which is what an expert can do.
- Looking into the Problem Yourself
Lastly, it’s a good idea to have a little bit of an understanding of basement repair. If you don’t, it’s possible you might not be able to figure out your basement problems before it’s too late. Even if you just have a little bit of understanding about the process, you could be able to maintain your basement’s health more effectively.
This may mean learning to inspect your basement or foundation in a way that makes sense for your home. It can also mean learning to spot those basement warning signs in your day-to-day life so that you can call a basement repair expert whenever you see something that could indicate lasting damage in your basement.
What Impact Can Bowed Basement Walls Have?
A bowed basement wall can have serious impacts on your home. Here’s what you need to know.
- In the Basement
The basement itself will see problems with bowed basement walls. As you would expect, aesthetic issues are pretty high on the list. No one likes the look of a bowed basement wall. However, these aesthetic issues are certainly not the crux of the problem.
The biggest potential problem here has to do with the fact that the basement wall could eventually cave in. If the pressure continues to be a huge problem, you’re going to end up with serious basement concerns, up to and including basement wall cave-ins that can be seriously damaging.
- In the Home in General
Your home could see serious consequences as a result of bowing basement walls. First off, when a basement wall bows in, it becomes slightly shorter; not very much shorter, but even a few inches can be devastating if they’re foundation walls. You could end up with serious foundation moving and settling.
It’s also important to make sure you think about the home’s waterproofing status as completely as possible. Because bowing basement walls typically occur due to hydrostatic pressure on the outside of the wall, you need to think about how that hydrostatic pressure may impact the rest of the home as well.
- On the Property
Remember, hydrostatic pressure is extremely strong; water is very heavy. Hydrostatic pressure can have a serious impact on other things throughout your property, up to and including other buildings across it.
If a specific property has problems with hydrostatic pressure, you may need to take steps to avoid that problem in the future. It’s possible to manage hydrostatic pressure in a very thoughtful way. However, this requires that you put care and effort into the property.
FAQs About Bowed Basement Walls
Basements can be at risk for bowed basement walls for all sorts of reasons. One important thing to keep in mind is that all basements are at risk in some ways. Something else to consider is not whether your basement walls are at risk, but how at-risk they are.
- Hydrostatic Pressure
For the most part, bowed basement walls happen because of the hydrostatic pressure on the outside of the walls. Most basements experience some measure of hydrostatic pressure. If you’re experiencing hydrostatic pressure in your basement, you must consider whether you’re also experiencing bowed basement walls.
The most obvious feature of bowing walls is, first and foremost, tilting or leaning, usually in the form of a bulge. However, it can also be a lean which starts at the top or bottom of the wall. Another sign of a bowing wall is spreading horizontal cracks, usually accompanied by dampness. These form as the wall deviates from its initial position.
- General Basement Problems
Bowed basement walls are just one of the problems that basements, in general, can have. All basements are at risk for bowed basement walls to some extent because of their construction and the amount of hydrostatic pressure they have to face, but you may want to talk to an expert to see whether your basement specifically is at a higher risk.
One of the biggest risk factors when it comes to bowing walls lies in the soil around your home. If the soil around your home is heavily clay-based, you are far more likely to see bowing in your walls. This is because of the way the soil swells when it is wet, putting excessive pressure on the structure of your property.
There really shouldn’t be any bowing occurring in your basement walls. If you see any amount of bowing, it can be dangerous. This is especially true because bowing leaves your basement walls at a huge risk for cracks, which can cause waterproofing problems. Here’s what you should know about all basement wall bowing.
- Normal vs. Common
While it’s not exactly normal, it is somewhat common for there to be some basement wall bowing. Because this occurs due to hydrostatic pressure, which is present in varying amounts against your basement, it’s possible that your basement could bend under the pressure. However, just because other people have gone through it doesn’t mean it’s normal.
You should know that deviation or bowing of 1mm or less is considered minor and, as such, relatively non-dangerous. That is in comparison to deviations of 2mm or more. Of course, any bowing in your walls at all is something to be concerned about and you should contact an expert immediately when you notice it.
- Managing All Basement Wall Bowing
You must manage your basement wall bowing carefully and cleverly. If you do, you’ll be much more likely to avoid problems in the future, which can include issues like basement walls collapsing under the extra pressure. Regardless of how small the problem is, maintaining it is crucial if you want to limit the danger and costs associated with it.
If you monitor and manage minor structural damages properly when you first notice them, you will minimize the likelihood of collapsing structures within your home. This is why we recommend that you contact a professional to assess any bowing walls and consider all of the potential solutions at your disposal. This will help you to ensure your safety and the security of your home.
Even severely bowed walls aren’t a completely lost cause. Although it’s always best to tackle the problem early on, you can rest assured that your severely bowed walls can still go back to normal as long as you handle it as quickly as possible.
- Consider the Original Cause of the Bowed Walls
First off, consider why you’re having bowed basement walls; this will be crucial to finding the right solution for your home. You need to think about how these severely bowed walls got to the point they’re at right now. The original cause is an important element of fixing the problem.
In many cases, the cause of bowing walls is lateral pressure from the soil around a property. This can be caused either by expansive soil or by excessive soil saturation increasing the weight pressing against your home. In some cases, however, bowing walls can be an indirect result of foundation damage which causes too much weight to bear down on certain walls.
- Use the Right Solution
Whether you’re dealing with slightly or severely bowed walls, there’s a unique fix you can utilize to make your basement healthy again. However, remember that some fixes will work better for serious issues and others for less serious ones. It’s all about maintaining your home’s stability.
If you have a lot of yard space, for example, then wall anchors may be the best solution for stabilizing and straightening your walls. If, however, you do not have any outdoor space then wall braces or beams may be a far better choice. The only way to know just what the best choice is, however, is to contact a professional who can properly assess the situation.
- Fix the Problem with the Help of an Expert
When you get to the bottom of a specific foundation or basement concern, you can fix the root problem and then make the symptoms much better, or at least a professional can. You need an expert’s help to do this properly, and bowing walls are dangerous enough that you cannot afford to do it improperly. Don’t try to fix your basement problems by yourself. Instead, contact an expert who can help you more professionally.
A GroundWorks expert will help you to find the best possible solution for your bowing walls and seek to deploy that solution as quickly and efficiently as possible. The benefits of calling in people who know exactly what they are doing are numerous, but the most pressing are the benefits of safety and efficiency. Our team will give you a permanent fix the first time around, and they will undertake it safely.
Bowed basement walls are a serious problem. You need to fix your bowed basement walls because they can significantly impact your home overall. There are a variety of good reasons to fix bowed basement walls.
- Maintenance Needs
First off, remember that maintenance is crucial. You need to maintain your basement as a whole or you’re going to have a bad time somewhere down the line. That means considering the reasons for your bowed basement walls and working on them as much as you can. Regular maintenance can help you avoid bowed basement walls entirely.
This will save you time and money in the long run because serious structural problems are not easy or cheap to fix. As such, being able to catch a problem before it snowballs is far better. Regular and proper maintenance is just one part of this as it will help you to catch small signs of damage and nip problems in the bud before they spread.
- Worsening Consequences
Would you rather fix your bowed basement walls right now and manage your issues or end up with a caved-in basement wall at some point? Fixing these problems early on is always going to be the best option, which is why people opt for it.
After all, structural problems are not problems that ‘settle down’ by themselves or simply go away. They are liable to grow exponentially until they come to a spectacular head. As well as being difficult to clean up and repair, the collapse of a basement wall is incredibly dangerous, not least to anyone in its near vicinity when this happens.
- An Expert’s Help
An expert is your best option for fixing bowed basement walls. Because you’re often dealing with foundational concerns at this point, you shouldn’t try to fix the problem yourself. Talk to a Groundworks basement repair expert to get the help that you’re looking for when it comes to your basement concerns.
If you attempt to take a DIY approach, you are not only running the risk of putting an improper solution in place, you are endangering your health and the health of anyone helping you. This is, in part, due to the chance of collapse, but also because of the heavy equipment and excavation required to install the many solutions that are used to stabilize and straighten bowed walls.
Fixing Your Bowed Basement Walls Shouldn’t Be Difficult with an Expert’s Help
Indeed, it’s not always easy to fix bowed basement walls. Sometimes, the problem is deeper than it might appear on the surface. You may need different fixes for your walls, depending on a variety of factors. One thing is for sure, however. You need to talk to an expert before you try to fix them.
Bowed basement walls aren’t for laymen to fix. Instead, they’re serious problems you should save for the experts. If you have bowed basement walls and you want to make them easier to deal with, talk to a Groundworks expert to learn more about your options.