When you notice that your walls are bowing or leaning, your first thought might be to panic. Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. Bowing or leaning walls may seem like they’ll be a huge expense, take up a lot of time, and make your home unsalable in the future. While the severity of the bowing or leaning will dictate this in some cases, in most, you can get your home back to normal pretty quickly with only a little strain on your wallet.
Foundation walls can bow or lean for a number a reasons. The biggest reason is hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is when soil surrounding your foundation is permeated with water. The soil gets heavier and bulkier and it starts to press against the foundation walls. Pressure on foundation walls is never a good thing because it can cause cracks and eventual bowing. Cracks can lead to water problems in your crawlspace or basement. Additionally, the pressure may not be even along the foundation wall, with more in one spot than another. This can cause damage as well.
If the bowing or leaning walls are your first floor walls, it could be a multitude of problems. Vegetation like vines on the walls or tree roots sinking into the foundation or actual first floor walls can cause bowing or leaning. Additionally, structural and foundation problems can cause the walls above to bow or lean. Old age is also a factor. When homes get older and are not given the proper upkeep, they tend to sag inwards just because the materials are old and well worn. In any case, bowing or leaning walls are quite common and they are not the end of the world.
Each year, or a few times each year, you should do a simple inspection of your home, foundation, driveway, etc. and see if there are any issues that you need to take note of. This will keep you on top of small problems that could turn into big cash later. Take a walk around and look for cracks, moisture problems, leaks, broken pipes, leaning or bowing walls or chimney, settling foundation, steps pulling away from the home, gaps between windows or doors and the frame, and more. Anything that is out of the ordinary from the usual should be taken note of.
Bowing or leaning walls are fairly easy to spot if you’re in the later stages or the walls are bowing or leaning in an extreme fashion. However, if they’re only slightly bowing or leaning it may be harder to spot. Things to look for if you think the wall might be bowing or leaning are cracks or moisture around that area, problem areas on the outside of the home or large trees with big roots beside the home, or any drainage problems in that area. These signs could give you a better idea on whether or not the wall is leaning. However, it’s always wise to call a professional foundation repair company to come out and take a look at your foundation. At Custom Concrete & Foundation Specialists, we offer a free project estimate that will help you get an idea of what’s going on and what your options are going forward.
There are several options for solving bowing or leaning walls including wall anchors, helical piers, push piers, or carbon fiber repair. Whichever option you are recommended will be based on the specific kind of problem that you’re experiencing and where at. This is important because each of the underpinning or carbon fiber methods will be slightly based on where the problem is happening, what’s going on, and how much it needs to hold to get the home stable again.
Wall anchors will be the most common for bowing or leaning walls, and these will be installed in the surrounding soil around your foundation and then attached to a plate inside the wall and tightened. Gradually the wall will become straight and stable again. Wall anchors are most commonly used because they can be used in a variety of situations and are fairly easy to install.
If you think you have bowing or leaning walls in your foundation or home, it’s time to give Custom Concrete & Foundation Specialists a call. We can offer you a free estimate at your convenience to set your mind at ease. We will also work to advise you on the best options for your specific problem, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call today for more information on how to get a free estimate or how to get started on bowing or leaning wall repair.