Here is a comprehensive guide to repairing bowed basement walls
A valuable living space can be added to a home by making a few upgrades in a clean and dry basement. However, bowed walls can make it hard to finish a basement or turn it into a living space. In most instances, bowed walls need professional attention and repairs. This article provides comprehensive information about bowed basement walls’ causes and repair methods.
What Are Bowed Basement Walls?
- Masonry walls that curve inwards are referred to as bowed basement walls. Horizontal or vertical cracks are usually present in bowed basement walls. The cracks may expand in the rainy season and contract in the dry season. These cracks allow moisture to seep in. As a result, bowed basement walls become stained with water, mold, or white efflorescence due to mineral deposits from water leaks.
What Causes Bowed Basement Walls?
Here are some common causes of bowed basement walls that every homeowner should be aware of.
- There are many reasons why basement walls might bow, but the most common culprit is hydrostatic pressure. During rainy seasons, the soil adjacent to the basement wall becomes saturated with water.
As a result, the waterlogged soil outside the basement walls becomes heavy. As it expands, it pushes against the wall from the outside. This problem is more common in expansive soils that are rich in clay. Sandy soil drains well and is not expansive.
- Another factor that causes the bowing of the basement wall is frozen soil. When the temperature drops below freezing point, the soil freezes and expands. The frozen sections of the soil adjacent to a basement wall exert pressure on the upper section of the wall, causing it to bow.
- When cumbersome items are placed on the ground next to the basement wall, they can push down the soil. This causes the soil to push outward. This usually isn’t a problem with ordinary exterior items like decks, but it can be an issue with heavy machinery or vehicles parked for an extended period.
Repairing Bowed Basement Walls
Professionals use three common ways to fix bowed basement walls. These include basement wall braces, anchor system, and basement wall replacement.
Basement Wall Braces
This is the commonly used method and involves the following steps:
- In this method, carbon fiber straps are placed on the inner side of the basement wall. About every 4 feet along the wall, carbon fiber straps run vertically from the top to the bottom of the basement wall.
This method does not involve any digging. The straps adhere to the basement wall with epoxy and can be covered or painted. Straps alone do not correct the bowed walls. Straps are ideal for stabilizing bowed basement walls when combined with water mitigation measures.
Straightening And Strapping
- Sometimes the carbon fiber straps are installed after correcting the bowed basement walls. This is done by excavating the soil from the outside and pushing the basement walls outwards with the help of hydraulic jacks. Once the bowing is corrected, the walls are then strapped.
- Spaced at every four feet, the steel beams run vertically along the basement wall. The beams are bolted into the floor at the bottom, while at the top, they are bolted to the house’s joists. Steel beams are attached in combination with the exterior wall soil excavation. This allows the wall to be pushed back to correct it. This method is suitable for unfinished basements.
If you have any issues regarding your basement or foundation, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with Crack X. We ensure your basement is waterproofed and in optimum condition before starting your finishing project. Our specialists will inspect your property and give you the best solution regarding basement finishing. Call us at 877-727-2259. We are a civil structures repair company operating in Maine and New Hampshire.