What Are The Best Ways To Fix Bowing Basement Walls?
What started as a small, horizontal crack has grown and started to push inward. It’s official: You have bowing basement walls. You might be tempted to put off fixing it, hoping the problem won’t get any worse.
Bowing walls, if left unfixed, can become a serious structural issue for your home. Also, as with most foundation problems, the longer you let it fester, the worse the damage gets.
And the worse the damage gets, the more expensive the repair bill will be in the end.
But what caused your basement walls to start bowing? And what are the best ways to fix them?
What Causes Basement Walls To Start Bowing?
If you want the simplest possible explanation for why you have bowing basement walls, it comes down to one word: Pressure.
Something is applying pressure to the outside of the walls, more pressure than they can withstand.
What that something is can vary. Sometimes it might be roots from a tree that is too close to the house.
Sometimes an extremely heavy object might be compressing the soil near the house, causing the soil to exert greater pressure on the walls.
In most cases, however, the culprit is water.
Water’s effect on basement walls
Water can create the type of pressure that can cause basement and foundation issues in two ways. In the first, water pools near the house after the soil becomes saturated. This is often caused by drainage problems: poor grading, missing downspout extenders, overflowing gutters, etc.
In this case it is the water itself that applies the force against the walls, and once those walls begin to crack, that water will also likely find a way into your basement, creating even bigger headaches.
In other cases, it is the water’s effect on the soil that causes bowing basement walls.
Texas and the surrounding region has a lot of expansive clay soils. This type of soil tends to hold a lot of water, and when it does, as its name implies, the soil expands, pressing against the basement walls.
It then contracts as it dries, easing the pressure, only to apply it again the next time a storm rolls through the area. Each time the soil expands, it can cause more damage to your basement walls.
Repairing Bowing Basement Walls
The first key to stabilizing and fixing bowing basement walls is to fully assess the problem, learning what is causing the problem and how much damage has already been done.
Learn More About Basement Stabilization
For more information about repairing basement walls, see our Basement Stabilization page.
That is why at Childers Brothers, the first thing that we do before tackling a foundation problem is to give the home our free 27-point inspection.
It is impossible to know how best to correct a problem before knowing the specifics, and we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all solutions.
For basements where the bowing hasn’t hit a critical point, we generally focus on stabilizing the wall from the inside, avoiding more costly and intrusive excavations on the exterior portion of the wall.
If a wall has experienced too much damage, however, it will be necessary to excavate in order to properly straighten the structure.
Finding the right solution, not the easy one, is paramount to avoid the issue causing further structural damage.
Carbon Fiber Sheets
Imagine a basement wall repair solution that neither requires excavation to reach the exterior of the wall nor takes up any space in your basement.
Those are two of the advantages of one of our preferred methods of basement wall repair: carbon fiber sheets.
Carbon fiber sheets are thin, lightweight and extremely strong. They have even been scientifically proven to be stronger than even steel.
The sheets are attached, using an adhesive, to the affected bowing basement walls, providing the wall with additional strength to withstand the forces from the outside.
When it comes to a symbol of strength, it doesn’t get much more classic than steel beams. And for good reason.
We use H-beams to stabilize basement walls rather than the standard I-beams because they have a sturdier build, are heavier and are thicker in the middle.
The type of H-beam we use is paintable and rust-resistant, so they won’t corrode or become unsightly.
We custom-fit the H-beams, which run the length of the bowing basement walls, ensuring that they give the wall the stabilizing force it needs to counteract the pressure on the outside of the wall.
Our H-beams can also be tightened over time, further improving the structural integrity of the wall.
We Can Stabilize Your Bowing Basement Walls
At Childers Brothers, we practice Science-Based Solutions. We believe in fully diagnosing a problem before we determine a remedy. That allows us to ensure you get the RIGHT solution instead of just a solution.
Our 27-Point Analysis is free even if you choose not to move forward with us.