Bowing and Cracked Basement Walls

Why a Bowing Basement Wall Requires an Urgent Fix

A bowing basement wall is more than just unsightly – it is a sign of a major problem with the stability of your homes foundation. Bowing basement walls are most often associated with the combination of horizontal and diagonal cracks in the wall. The reason this problem requires an urgent fix is that it will just continue to get worse, and your foundation wall could collapse.

If that happens, you will have to move out of your house during the rebuilding process. That could take weeks or months. Rebuilding a collapsed wall will be exponentially more expensive and take longer than if you were able to repair the problem with today’s carbon fiber and steel technology. That is why its imperative to take action when you first notice an issue.


Types of Foundation Cracks and What They Mean

What Causes a Bowing Basement Wall?

The most common reason for a bowing basement wall is something called hydrostatic pressure. Essentially, heavy rain and snowmelt saturate the soil outside your homes foundation. When enough water accumulates, it starts to exert pressure and push against your foundation walls. The water wants to expand into the space where your foundation is.

Bowing can also be caused by daily freeze-thaw cycles of the saturated soil that we get in the Mid-Atlantic region. This is not just mother natures temperature causing this cycle it is your home’s heating system thawing the soil next to your foundation.  On the cold nights, this soil freezes and expands, exerting pressure on your foundation walls. And when the soil thaws the next day next to your warm foundation, the excess water looks for a place to go starting the cycle all over again!

Since most foundation walls are made of some form of concrete, which is naturally porous, the water in the soil outside seeps into your walls. This will cause a musty smell, and perhaps water on the floor of your basement. If this goes on for too long, it will create cracks in the wall, and eventually bowing of the wall. 

Cracks are the first sign of bowing!  If you see noticeable cracks, bowing, or bulging of the wall, call in the professionals before it is too late!

How Do You Fix a Bowing Basement Wall?

First of all, fixing a bulging basement wall requires foundation repair expertise. Fixing the issue is not a DIY job or one for a handyman. Depending on the severity of the bowing and associated cracks, we will recommend custom solutions based on the problem. All these techniques stabilize basement walls.

Some of the options include the use or combination of: 

  • Steel Wall pins
  • Carbon fiber reinforcement strips
  • Torsion I-beams 
  • Helical piers or foundation underpinning
  • And other solutions designed specifically for your situation

The more severe the bowing, the more the repairs will cost. This is another reason to call for professional help as soon as you notice an issue with water in your basement – even before you see the first crack.

After Foundation Repair, You Need Basement Waterproofing

After stabilizing your foundation walls, it is important to help prevent the same issue from occurring again by protecting your home with basement waterproofing. By installing a French drain system and weeping your block foundation along with one or more sump pumps, you prevent the water in the soil outside your home from seeping into (and staying in) your walls.

Instead, the water drains into the French drain and then flows into the sump pit(s) where the pump sends it up the discharge pipe and outside of your home, far away from your foundation.


Basement Waterproofing Glossary – Terms You Need to Know

Basement Waterproofing Dos and Donts

Top Questions to Ask a Basement Waterproofing Contractor

Top Signs You Need Basement Waterproofing

Schedule Your FREE Basement Inspection

If you have noticeable bulging of one or more basement walls or cracks in the wall where water is seeping in, dont delay in scheduling your FREE basement inspection. Our experienced inspectors will thoroughly and carefully evaluate your basement walls and floor and make foundation repair and waterproofing recommendations that are customized for your basement. 

Foundation repair and basement waterproofing will help you protect the structural integrity of your home. To schedule your basement inspection, fill out the contact form or call us at (888) 768-2583. We serve homeowners in Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware, northern Virginia, the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

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