What Causes Bowing Walls?

When you notice bowing basement walls in your Illinois or Iowa home, there are a few reasons they may be attributed to. Usually, the soil around the foundation walls plays a major factor in if, when, and how your basement walls start bowing. 

When the soil around your foundation walls is saturated with water, it puts immense inward pressure—called hydrostatic pressure—on those walls and small cracks can start to form. When the soil dries, the walls might retract and the problem might look better, but in actuality, this movement inward and back, over time, chips away at the integrity of your wall. Soon, cracks will get larger and you may notice early symptoms of bowing walls, which we’ll explain more in depth below.

wall-anchor-retaining-wall-thm

Foundation wall anchors can repair many bowing wall problems. Soil anchors are placed in the ground outside.

Steel rods attached to soil anchors extend through the foundation wall and wall plates. Wall plates distribute clamping pressure. Tightening nuts on the threaded ends of the rods stabilizes the wall for a permanent solution.

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Identifying Symptoms of Foundation Wall Failure

Signs of basement wall failure and signs of foundation settlement can be very similar, so it’s best to have a professional inspector look at your space to provide the best repair option for your home. However, if you’ve noticed:

Block Wall Stair Step Crack

Diagonal cracks at the corners of poured concrete foundation walls

Stair Step Crack

Horizontal or stair-step cracks along seams of block foundation walls

Block Wall Crack

Inward bulging or bowing at any point in the wall

Basement Window Wall Crack

Walls leaning in at the top or sliding inward along the bottom

Block Wall Shearing

Walls that are severely damaged and soil in the basement 

Any of these could be a sign of foundation wall failure and require repair.

Dry Wet Clay

How Much Does Moisture Affect Clay Soils?

These two clay samples started out exactly the same in size, weight, and composition. The sample on the right was allowed to dry out, while the one on the left was kept moist.

If a small sample of clay can gain this much volume when it gets wet, just imagine how dramatic the changes are in the soil around your home!

Solutions for Bowing Basement Walls in Illinois and Iowa

The most common and permanent solution for bowing walls in Illinois and Iowa is a foundation wall anchor. Our warrantied Geo-Lock™ wall anchor systems are installed using a six-step process, proven for efficacy. 

    Installing Foundation Wall Anchors

    At MidAmerica Basement Systems, we recommend the Geo-Lock™ Wall Anchor System to stabilize failing foundation walls. Our contractors follow these six steps when installing our warrantied wall anchor system:

    Holes are dug for earth anchors: We will determine the optimal location in your yard to maximize system effectiveness. Then, our team will carefully remove the sod and place it aside before drilling a hole for the earth anchor.

    Augur Earth Anchor

    Once the outside hole has been excavated, our installation experts will core a small hole through the bowing basement wall and drive the steel anchor rod through the hole. It will extend below the soil all the way through your yard and into the hole we dug earlier.

    Foundation Wall

    The rod is attached to the earth anchor in the yard, and the entire piece is buried below grade using the same soil we removed earlier. Because all our wall anchor systems are made with premium galvanized steel, it won’t rust or deteriorate in your yard. Even so, every Geo-Lock™ earth anchor we install comes with a 25-year warranty against manufacturing defects, as well as our own in-house quality and performance warranty to ensure you get the protection your home deserves.

    Install Wall Anchor

    Once the exterior parts of the system are set in place, it’s time to place the wall plate inside. The rod we extended through the yard is situated in the center hole of the wall plate, and a large nut is screwed into place to stabilize your wall and anchor it in place.

    Mount Wall Plate

    Our team understands the importance of restoring not just the stability of your home, but its appearance as well. We make it a point to leave each property as we found it, which means restoring the sod we displaced earlier as well as any other landscaping that may have been disturbed.

    Landscaping

    Tightening wall anchors is an essential and ongoing part of our process. Geo-Lock wall anchors can do more than stop the inward movement of your walls. In some cases, they can actually straighten foundation walls over time, significantly repairing it or returning it to its original position.

    Tighten Wall Anchor
    Powerbrace beam

    Saving a wall with the PowerBrace™ system. This innovative system stabilizes bowing walls and can even straighten walls over time.

    PowerBrace™ System

    When foundation wall anchors aren't an option—whether there isn’t enough viable yard to work with or for any other reason—PowerBrace might be the solution to fit your needs. This interior bowing wall repair system uses a series of I-beams to brace and stabilize the basement walls against further inward movement, and it, like wall anchor systems, can help re-straighten walls over time in some cases.

    Contact Us for Bowing Wall Stabilization and Repair

    At MidAmerica Basement Systems, we're proud to provide warrantied solutions to permanently halt the inward progress of bowing, buckling foundation walls.

    Get your free, no-obligation foundation wall repair estimate in Illinois or Iowa by calling the location nearest you or filling out our online contact form.