What Are Bowing Walls & How Can I Fix Them?

What Are Bowing Walls?


Bowing walls are walls that curve inward. Bowing walls can indicate that your house may have deeper structural issues, and can have massive implications for the structural integrity of your home in its own right. We recommend that you schedule a free inspection with us as soon as possible, as bowing walls are a serious problem to the security of your home.

Important Symptoms of Bowing Walls to Look Out For

1. Sticking Doors and Windows
2. Wall Cracks
3. Higher Electricity Bills
4. Higher Water Bills
5. High Moisture Levels
6. Presence of Wet Clay Soil Among Damaged Walls
7. Increased Soil Pressure Around Your Home
8. Excess Hydrostatic Pressure

Top Causes of Bowing Walls

Foundation walls can bow for a variety of reasons, including water pressure, poor construction, and root penetration. These can exert pressure onto a wall that it cannot support, leading to the foundation wall buckling or bowing. Even foundation walls that are built correctly to support a structure’s weight can buckle when a force begins to build up against their side. Imagine if you were holding a heavy object above your head, and then somebody pokes you or begins to push against your side. As the foundation wall begins to tilt, the wall gradually loses its ability to support the force from above, which leads to more and more lateral (sideways) pressure, thus more bowing.

Bowing walls are especially harmful because your foundation’s structural supports can begin to gradually shift out of place if the damage is not addressed as early as possible. Since the structural supports of your foundation are crucial to the stability of your house, allowing them to shift out of place can prove to be costly and dangerous. 

Similarly, allowing bowing walls to persist without addressing the underlying problem can cause the concrete and drywall that make up your basement walls to slump. Both slumping concrete and unaligned structural supports can cause cracks and holes to develop in the concrete, which, in turn, can allow moisture to build up in the foundation with greater ease. This can lead to even more foundation damage. 

Water Pressure

Among the most common causes of a bowing concrete wall is water pressure, which can push upward or horizontally against the wall. Water pressure is typically caused by excessive moisture in the soil, which can be caused by a variety of factors: damaged or malfunctioning gutters, broken water pipes, a high water table, significantly high rainfall, or the dense clay soil around the Piedmont region that tends to retain water. RhinoLift recommends installing a sump pump and waterproofing your home’s foundation; this will limit the damaging effects of water on the foundation walls by preventing it from interacting in the first place. As always, we are happy to visit you for a free inspection!

How Can I Fix Bowing Walls?

Wall Anchors

When the bowing of your basement wall exceeds two inches, you have to consider using steel wall anchors to secure it. This method requires more labor and time to install than carbon fiber straps, as you or contractors need to work both inside and outside of the basement.

Installing wall anchors entails a certain amount of excavation of at least 10 feet outside the affected basement wall. This means that there should be enough accessible and usable space to safely and adequately place the steel plates into the ground. You would also need to think about the elements impacted by the digging, such as porches, decks, sidewalks, and other structures. Our team will work with you to consider our options.

With wall anchors, a steel shaft connects a steel plate or channel attached to the inside of your basement wall and the one buried outside in the ground. Tightening the rod pulls the inside anchor along with the wall towards the outer plate, creating tension and locking it in place.

RhinoLift normally places our anchors roughly 5 feet from each other along the bowing wall; this distributes weight most effectively.

Read more about Wall Anchors here!

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