bowing basement walls

Bowing Basement Walls in Nashville TN

According to the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), bowing basement walls are among the most common foundation problems. Most homes over 6 years old will experience such problems due to various factors. As a homeowner, you must be conscious about need for regular foundation inspection to identify such issues early enough for quicker and more affordable remedying.

Whether your walls are bowing or not, it is important to understand this structural problem in order to make an informed decision if it arises. By the time you notice the wall is bowing, this problem will already have existed for quite some time. This means a foundation contractor should be called in immediately to avert any further damage.

Below are some pertinent factors regarding a bowed basement wall every homeowner should know:

  1. Warning Signs

Before you even inspect your basement walls for any damage, there are some tell-tale signs that point to such damage. Some of these danger signs include uneven doors and windows, drywall cracks, chimney cracking, uneven floor and basement flooding. If you notice any of these signs, call in a foundation contractor for professional inspection and repair.

  1. Causes of a Bowing Wall

Most often, a bowed wall will be caused by:

  • Hydrostatic pressure: Water pressure against the wall will eventually push the walls inwards. Water pressure should not be ignored especially since it keeps varying every season.
  • Expansive clay soils: These walls will expand and shrink and eventually these movements will damage the basement walls.
  • Tree roots: If large trees are standing next to the foundation walls, there is likelihood of wall damage.
  1. Solutions To Bowing Basement Walls

Every home is unique and the extent of damage will also differ. As such, a contractor can choose one of these common bowing basement walls repair systems:

  • Carbon fiber straps: This technology relies on the tensile strength of carbon fiber strands. The straps are either designed in strips or sheets and they are bonded on the affected area to prevent further movement of the walls. This material is 10X stronger than steel, making it more durable and affordable.
  • Steel beam repair: The foundation wall is jackhammered and steel beams are installed and bolted to the wooden floor joist. This is supposed to remedy further damage to the wall but doesn’t address the pressure against the walls meaning more cracks will appear.
  • Helical anchors: They include long iron rods driven into the wall and attached to a wall plate, which is on the inner side of the wall. These rods are driven through holes drilled in the wall and the anchors are installed to hold on to the wall plate.

There are other solutions including slab jacking and rebuilding the wall, but the one chosen by your contractor depends on the extent of damage.