Do You Notice That Your Walls Are Bowing? Milwaukee, WI
Bowed basement walls may be an indication of serious foundation and basement problems, but can in some cases be difficult to detect. Basement walls often curve inwards due to hydrostatic pressure and expansive soils, both of which exert sustained pressure on your foundation or basement and crawlspace walls. The pressure causes walls to buckle, curve, or swell inwards.
How to determine if your walls are in need of repair
As noted above, detecting bowed basement walls is not always easy, but you should be concerned if you see any of the following signs:
- Stair step or horizontal cracks in the foundation and basement walls – These types of cracks indicate that the structural integrity of the basement or foundation walls has been significantly compromised. This can be due to foundation settlement or other issues.
- Signs of basement and foundation walls not being straight, curving inwards, or bulging
- Presence of expansive clay soil around your building
- Evidence of hydrostatic pressure, especially during the rainy season
If you see any of the above signs, you should let a professional basement repair company assess the damage and carry out the repair that may be required.
What are the causes of bowed basement walls?
Even as you work with an expert to repair your bowed basement walls, you need to understand the reasons why the walls are bowing. When you identify the cause of the damage to the basement, you will be able to find a lasting repair solution.
In most cases, basement wall bowing is caused by unstable soil. Soils that absorb too much water or expand significantly are likely to put notable pressure on the basement walls and cause them to bow. Some of the soil conditions that can lead to basement wall bowing include:
- Oversaturation or excess moisture: Poor drainage or defective gutters and downspouts can cause water to accumulate in the soil that surrounds the basement walls.
- Expansive clay soils: Such soils expand when wet and shrink during the dry season. Poor drainage around the basement walls will cause such soils to exert a lot of pressure on the walls during the rainy season.
- Frost heaving: During winter, very low temperature can cause ice structures to form on the soil. These structures cause the soil to move, and this results in foundation shifting.
How to repair bowed basement walls
Your basement repair technician will use methods such as steel bracing and basement waterproofing to straighten bowing walls and prevent further damage by water or moisture.