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Top 3 Causes a Bowed Basement Wall


by Darlene Waters

The 3 main causes why homes sustain bowed basement walls:

 

1)   One of the most common causes is hydrostatic pressure caused by (negative pitch) soil slopes toward your home. During the winter months the ground freezes, the expanding water in the soil     will press the soil against basement walls. In the spring and summer month’s soil will lose water and shrink. This freezing and thawing causes inward and outward movement on basement walls.

2)   Tree roots are another common cause, tree roots can exert massive amounts of pressure against basement walls as their roots spread out in search of water.

3)   Age of a home and the area in which your foundation is sitting (footer) can be inadequate for the weight of the home.

 

By the time you’ve begun to notice bowing or buckling in your basement walls, there’s a good chance that this situation has been present for a long time.

 

Bowing walls occur most often due to the force of hydrostatic pressure.  Hydrostatic pressure occurs by (negative pitch) soil slopes toward your home and water presses against the basement walls, causing the weight against the walls to exceed their capacity. Walls can also bow and fail when expansive clays or frost cause expansion of the soils to fatigue and damage the wall.  During the winter months the ground freezes, and the expanding water in the soil will press the soil against basement walls.  In the spring and summer month’s, soil will lose water and shrink.  This freezing and thawing causes inward and outward movement on basement walls.

Other common causes Include: Tree roots are another common cause, tree roots can exert massive amounts of pressure against basement walls as their roots spread out in search of water.

Age of a home and the area in which your foundation is sitting (footer) can be inadequate for the weight of the home.

Your foundation may be setting on soil that is not secure. The lack of secure soil (swamp land is one example) causes settling under the footer which can also cause a wall to crack and bow.

Your basement may be placed in an area that has soil that moves.

Heavy soils (like clay) are considered a shifting soil which exerts a lot of pressure on your basement walls.

Sinking foundation or foundation movement is a serious issue that should be checked out by a foundation specialist as soon as possible.

 

Signs of this are as follows:

 

Uneven Doors and Windows

Cracks in Brick Facing

Chimney Cracking or Leaning

Drywall Cracks