bowing walls

Bowing Walls

The foundation of a building is the most important part of the structure. When foundations fail it is serious business. In concrete block foundations the most common failure is when pressure builds up on the outside wall pushing against the wall making it bow. Bowing walls are dangerous. If left alone, a bowing wall can collapse.

Because of its dangerous nature, a professional foundation repair contractor should fix the work. It is not recommended for the average homeowner to do a foundation repair on a bowing concrete block wall himself. Unless you are professionally trained and skilled, do NOT try a DIY foundation repair.

Bowed concrete block walls need to be braced. Contractors have different techniques to accomplish this. Steel I-beams have been around for decades and are still used today. They basically build a steel frame to brace the bowing wall so it doesn’t move any more.

Carbon Fiber uses this same idea to hold the bowing wall. The difference is in the application, labor and final look. Carbon Fiber is quicker to install. Because it is lightweight it doesn’t take as much labor. Carbon Fiber is flush with the wall so it can be covered with wall board or painted to blend in with the basement wall. Steel I-beams don’t hide as easily.

Wall anchors are another option to fix bowing concrete walls. Helical wall anchors come from the outside of the foundation wall and essentially realign the bowed wall. They stay in place to prevent future movement. This technique is for severe damage. It is an invasive system that excavates part of the yard. There are different types of wall anchors. Some are installed on the interior side of the basement and go through the wall and anchored in the soil. Some are installed only on the exterior side of the wall. That depends on the manufacturer and the individual wall anchor systems.

The other course of action is completely replacing the foundation wall. This is the most expensive and most invasive option. This is where a contractor will support the house with piers, take down the damaged block wall foundation and rebuild that portion of the foundation wall. This option is only considered when there is so much damage and deterioration that the other wall support options will not work. If there is extensive damage that has been ignored this may be the only option left.

For more information on bowing walls or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!