Bowing Basement Walls
Bowing walls occur when a home’s foundation walls curve inward, forming a “bow.” The most common cause of a bowing or leaning wall is excessive lateral pressure on the exterior. When the pressure becomes too much for the wall to handle, it starts to bow, crack, or even break.
In fact, basement walls are under constant pressure from the dirt and rock that surround them, like a submarine under water. Combine this with the constant freeze and thaw cycles of our climate zone and you get a continual battle of shifting forces pressing in against your basement.
Common causes of bowing walls include:
Expansive clay soils are common in our part of the country. These soils readily expand and contract as the moisture in the ground increases and decreases.
Hydrostatic pressure is an accumulation of water in the soil surrounding the foundation wall that exerts pressure against the walls. The ground around your foundation may seem solid, but it is in fact saturated with water depending on the weather.
Frost can also lead to bowing walls as the soil against the wall freezes, expands and applies pressure.
*It’s important to remember that damaged foundation walls are an indication of a very serious problem for the home.
Some helpful FAQs that can help you make your decision.
Homeowners insurance typically does not cover basement leaks or bowing walls unless there was another cause.
Water seeps through basement walls in a poured foundation due to cracks in the wall. Water seeps through block walls because of deterioration in the mortar joints.
The necessity of foundation repair depends on the extent of damage. A foundation crack is serious when it is structural in nature.