Bowing Walls: What Do I Do? Columbus, OH

Bowed basement walls result from too much pressure pushing up against basement walls. The pressure can build up from any number of factors including heavy rain, poor drainage in the soils surrounding the basement walls, buildup of underground water or inadequate grading of the basement walls.

When soil absorbs water, it expands. The same applies to the soil surrounding your basement walls. The expanding soil therefore presses against the foundation walls resulting in the buildup of pressure on the walls.

If the pressure continues unchecked, the walls will begin to cave in. Damage on the walls may begin as a horizontal crack or a leak in the foundation joints. If the problem is left unaddressed, the walls will begin to bow inward. These walls will eventually collapse causing your home to become unstable.

What You Shouldn’t Do

First of all, it is important to remember that fixing bowed walls is not a ’Do-It-Yourself’ job. It is something that you ought to leave to a professional foundation repair contractor. A professional will have the right training, skills, experience and equipment to repair bowing walls.

Trying to fix your own walls is dangerous and may end in a catastrophe for you and your home. Professionals are trained and understand the safety measures to take to ensure that there are no accidents.

It is also important to remember that quick fixes will not address the underlying problem with your foundation. So ensure that you have a long-term solution to save your foundation and your home. Applying quick fixes will only result in a more expensive problem as the damage continues to get worse.

What You Should Do

If you notice that you have bowing walls, contact a professional foundation repair contractor in your area as soon as possible. The contractor will come to your home and inspect the foundation walls. Then he will provide you with an estimate of how much it would cost to repair the wall.

Avoid using a contractor who gives you a quotation for the job without examining your foundation. A thorough examination of the foundation is the only way to identify the underlying problem and determine the best solution for the basement wall repair.

It is important to begin your search for foundation repair contractors as early as possible. This will ensure that you can shop around and compare prices and services. You will find a reliable contractor when you have enough time to look for one.

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Techniques for Bowing Foundation Wall Repair

Bowing Foundation Wall Repair

When you see cracks forming on your foundation wall, the first thing you should do is to call the experts. Foundation cracks are often a sign of the need for foundation repair. This isn’t a unique problem. Foundations, like any other part of the home, need maintenance.

Why You Need a Pro

You may be wondering why you should spend money and time calling a professional for only a few cracks on the wall. You’re not alone. Many homeowners will either ignore or seek do-it-yourself solutions to the cracks in an attempt to avoid what they think would be an unnecessary expense.

The problem with this is that foundation cracks often indicate a problem with the foundation, which if not properly repaired is likely to become a structural problem for the entire home. There’s also the problem of water seepage. Even cracks that aren’t allowing water through at the moment are likely to start leaking over time. You’ll end up with a wet basement that will result in further problems including damage of property as well as the growth of mold.

Repairing a Bowing Foundation Wall

Foundation cracks are often the first thing you’ll notice when your foundation is in danger. They are one of the first signs of a bowing foundation wall. In this situation, even the strongest sealants will not protect your wall from further damage.

The bowing occurs as a result of high pressure from the soils surrounding the foundation wall. It is important to not only relieve this pressure but also to provide more support for the wall. The following are two popular ways of providing support for foundation walls.

  1. Re-bracing walls

This is one of the most popular methods of repairing bowing walls. Re-bracing the walls involves reinforcing the walls. The reinforcement may be in the form of carbon fiber strips or steel beams. This provides long term support to the wall ensuring that it will not shift under pressure from the outside.

  1. Anchors

Foundation anchors are installed in a bowing foundation wall to counteract the pressure that is exerted against the foundation wall. The anchors can be installed either on the inside or the outside of the foundation wall. They are installed under the foundation wall. Modern anchors can be installed in the earth without the need for excavation.

If you have bowing foundation walls, have a chat with a professional contractor about the different options available to you.

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Invest in Professional Bowing Foundation Wall Systems

Bowing Foundation Wall

Have you spotted cracks on your foundation walls? Do your walls seem to be bulging inward? You may be dealing with a bowing foundation wall. While you may be tempted to ignore these signs, they are only bound to get worse. You’re not only endangering your family but also reducing the value of your home. According to the National Realtors Association (NRA), bowing foundation walls result in a 50% loss in home value at the least.

If it’s any consolation, this type of foundation problem is not uncommon. The Concrete Foundations Association’s (CFA) data shows that 59% of foundation repairs have to do with bowing walls. One of the major causes is unstable soils. Other causes include hydrostatic pressure and poor construction.

Professional Systems

The good news is that there are various contemporary solutions that professionals can provide you with. A professional inspection of your foundation must be carried out first. This ensures that the underlying cause of the bowing is determined. The contractor is therefore able to apply the right solution.

Some common contemporary solutions for a bowing foundation wall include:

  • Installation of carbon fiber sheets or strips

This is one of the most effective and easiest ways to repair bowing foundation walls. The carbon fiber offers 10 times the strength and resistance of steel beams. Installing these steel beams is easy and noninvasive. Work can be completed in a matter of hours.

  • Helical anchors

Helical anchors are used where damage is the result of instability. The anchors provide stability to foundation. These anchors are installed beneath the foundation where they offer the same stability as if the foundation was set on bedrock.

The installation process is minimally invasive. The anchors are sunk into the ground without causing a lot of disturbance to the surface of the soil. They are easy to conceal and offer a long term solution to bowing and instability.

  • Steel wall braces

These are designed to provide support to walls that are bowing inward. They consist of steel beams that are fitted onto walls. They can be tightened as time goes and are therefore a great choice for walls that have bowed extensively. They can be used to restore a bowing foundation wall back to its original position over time.

It is important to talk to your contractor and determine the best solution for your bowing foundation wall. Choose a solution that will provide you with long term benefits.

4 Essential Factors You Need to Know about Bowed Basement Walls

A few years after moving into your new home, it is improbable to contemplate any danger to this precious investment. After so many sacrifices this feeling is understandable but unfortunately, professionals in the building sector have a different view.

They say knowledge is power and to protect your home remember these facts about dealing with bowed basement walls:

  1. Shocking Foundation Problem Figures

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posits that over 56% of new homes experience foundation problems within the first ten years of construction. The Concrete Foundations Association (CFA) adds that over 60% of these problems involve bowed basement walls.

Yes, you must be shaking your head because this is an invisible problem which makes things even worse. Indeed, the National Association of Realtors ® reports that over 97% of homeowners are not aware of problems festering in their home’s foundations.

  1. Causes of Bowed Basement Walls

You can only deal with construction problems if you know the cause. One major culprit is lateral and hydrostatic pressure caused by moisture. After construction a lot of virgin soil is used around your foundation and when it floods water pressure pushes against the wall.

Natural settling of your house due to weight adds to this pressure and with time bowing of these walls occurs. Other problems include poor construction, soil fatigue, and structural damage to the foundation among others. Your professional foundation contractor will help identify the main cause of the bowing before remedying it.

  1. Leveraging Professional Expertise

Forget your DIY experience because only a certified contractor has prerequisite skills, resources, and equipment to work on your foundation. This is your most expensive investment and if you try tampering with its foundation you risk a cave-in which would be devastating. These experts also offer advice on caring for your foundation to avoid further damage.

  1. Effective Solutions to Bowing Foundation Walls

Once a contractor has examined the bowing walls, he will identify the main cause and formulate a way to deal with further foundation damage. Contemporary solutions include but are not limited to:

  1. CARBON FIBER: These strips are less costly than steel but provide unbreakable support for your walls.
  2. Helical anchors: These involve drilling of holes in the basement wall into the soil beyond before driving in anchors and holding the wall with metal plates.
  3. Steel beams reinforcement: This involves jack hammering the floor along the foundation walls where these beams will be laid.

There are many other wall anchorage systems available for bowed basement walls but you will not have to worry about the best. A professional contractor has it all covered for you.

How to Deal with a Bowing Foundation

Are your basement walls cracked? Do you notice your basement walls curving more and more inward?

Concrete foundations are quite strong. However, they are under tremendous pressure from supporting the home and the soil that surrounds them. This pressure gets even worse when the soil expands as a result of absorbing water. The soil pushes against the basement wall. This normally occurs when there has been heavy rainfall.

The build-up of pressure against the foundation walls can be a greater problem when the grading of the ground around the foundation is inadequate. Water will tend to accumulate near the foundation and cause the soil to expand and exert pressure on the foundation walls.

The continued pressure exerted by the foundation walls will eventually result in a bowing foundation. This damage is normally first manifested as a horizontal crack in the foundation walls. Water may come through this crack and cause various moisture problems to the home.

Many home owners react to cracks in foundation walls by applying crack filing solutions. However, if the underlying problem is not dealt with adequately, further damage will occur. The pressure on the wall will continue and the bowed foundation wall is likely to collapse.

Repairing a bowing foundation

If you’ve attempted to carry out various projects around the home on your own, you probably feel like you can do just about anything if you learn more about it. However, foundations are not just any other part of the home. They are the part of the home that ensures that the rest of the structure is safe. It is, therefore, important to ensure that repair of a foundation is done well. You, therefore, need the assistance of a professional contractor.

There are two main ways of repairing a bowing foundation. Both of these methods involve retaining or bracing the walls. They are:

  1. Using steel bracing: This is an old method for fixing bowed walls. Steel beams known as channel beams are used to brace the wall. The beams are anchored to the foundation and the top is attached to the floor joist. The channel is tightened against the wall using a screw jack.
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  3. Carbon fiber: This is a super strong and super light material. It is used in the construction of commercial aircrafts and automobiles. It has recently taken the construction world by storm and is currently replacing steel in various applications.

Strips of carbon fiber can be placed vertically at predetermined intervals to provide support to a bowing foundation.