Do your basement walls lean or bow? Are they cracked? If so, you may be in need of basement wall repair. Properly installed basement wall repair can make your basement walls stable and prevent them from worsening.
Basement walls weaken and eventually fail when they have an external pressure put on them that goes beyond their ability to defy. This pressure will sooner or later cause the walls to tilt inward at the top, bow in at the middle, and/or slide in at the bottom.
The external pressure that causes these basement wall problems is 90% of the time due to unstable soils. These soils are usually unstable due to the presence of expansive clay or just not being properly compressed when used as fill around the foundation of a new home.
Expansive clay soil is soil that has the ability to swell or shrink based on water content levels. These water levels usually rise and fall during the more rainy times of the year.
When the soil fills up with water and expands, the pressure is exerted onto the basement walls at a rate of as much as several tons per square foot. This pushing in on basement walls with lateral loads of pressure is what produces bowing of the basement walls. These soils are also the reason for foundational cracking and settlement and cause the foundation to have unbalanced support.
Another common reason for weakened basement walls is improper drainage. Too little a slope or inadequate drainage around a house or can cause surface water to stand against the foundation and not drain away fast enough. This causes the water levels to rise in the soil next to the foundation creating a water pressure called ‘hydrostatic pressure’ next to the basement walls. This pressure will also cause cracking, leaning and bowing of basement walls.
You can help to reduce the effects of insufficient drainage systems by having the soils re-graded around the foundation. This improves the drainage of surface water and helps prevent it from standing. Also, extend your downspouts to at least six feet away from the house and keeping gutters clean and functional.
Not only are disfigured basement walls unsightly, they can leave a basement unlivable and negatively affect the overall safety and value of your home. Many times, damage of this kind will only worsen over time as the foundational walls will continue to bulge or collapse under the pressure.
It is a good idea economically as well to deal with this type of required basement wall repair early on. Any basement wall or structural damage should always be professionally inspected as soon as possible.