When Do Basement Bowing Walls Need Repair?

Have you noticed any anomalies in the faces of your foundation walls showing signs of leaning or bowing? It is a common occurrence in homes all across Middle Tennessee and throughout the country.

Whether your basement walls are bowed due to waterlogged soil or frozen ground, it is crucial to repair them before they continue to deteriorate. The best time to repair these walls is during the warmest months of the year, which for most areas are June through September. However, if you notice severe water damage, you should repair the affected walls as soon as possible. The cost of repairing basement walls will vary, depending on the severity of the problem and the location of your home. This makes seeking an evaluation from a professional company an essential part of the process to ensure you move forward as efficiently as possible. 

Signs of Bowed Walls

A bowed basement wall can signal serious structural trouble underneath your home. It’s important to know that the most common cause of this problem is excess moisture in the soil around the foundation of your home. Natural groundwater can place unexpected pressure on a foundation, and improper drainage can increase moisture levels and stress vulnerable areas of the foundation. Regardless of the material used to build your home, you should always contact a professional for inspection and repair.

Another common cause of bowed walls is poor drainage. When the soil holding up your foundation becomes saturated, the walls begin to bulge and curve inward. While you don’t always need to replace bowed basement walls, you should consider getting a new or more effective drainage system. However, if your basement walls are bowed, and you are not certain, call a professional for an inspection!

Cracks are the most obvious sign of bowed basement walls, but they’re not necessarily a primary indicator of bowing basement walls. When concrete or drywall is bowed, cracks are often visible on the exterior of the foundation. Cracks that are visible on the outside of a basement wall indicate damage and can grow more intense depending on the severity of the bowing. 

Did you know bowed walls can also be caused by other problems, such as mold? A damp basement is a perfect breeding ground for mold. Damp conditions are also perfect for pest infestations, including mice, termites, and cockroaches. Some types of mold can actually draw in these pests and cause damage to your foundation and joists. A variety of structural problems can also cause bowed basement walls, so it’s essential to take the time to address them as soon as possible.

When bowed walls are present, they usually indicate the presence of hydrostatic pressure in the foundation. This problem, in severe cases, is dangerous and requires immediate attention. Bowed walls should be fixed right away, especially if you plan to refinish the basement. While these signs might be minor in nature, they grow more serious as they worsen over time. The sooner you get in touch with a professional, the less costly your repairs will be (in contrast to letting the problems continue to impost more and more damage on your home!).

Fixing Bowed Basement Walls

If you have noticed these common signs of bowing basement walls, you may need to consider having them repaired. The first step to take is to remove anything covering the surfaces of the walls so that you can inspect them better. Cracks in basement walls should be addressed right away and need immediate attention. There are various methods to repair bowed walls, depending on the severity of the damage and the type of material used in building the basement wall.

It is highly recommended to hire an expert for the job. While you can attempt the repairs on your own, it’s best to have a professional assess the problem before you try any DIY methods. Attempting DIY repairs may not only result in a poorly done job, but they may actually worsen the problem. Heavy machinery and excavation equipment are necessary to perform the repairs correctly.

While repairing bowed basement walls yourself may sound like a simple process, it can be costly. The price depends on the extent of the problem. Some types of repairs can cost less than a thousand dollars, while others can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Also, keep in mind that this may not be the most convenient option for you if you live in a large city. For example, you’ll need a crew with heavy tools to work on the walls in your basement. 

Carbon fiber straps are a commonly used option for repairing bowed basement walls. These are made of high-tensile carbon fibers and are connected to the foundation of the basement wall as well as the sill plate above it. This way, the carbon fiber straps can hold your basement walls together while distributing stress evenly. This method is most effective for bowed walls with less than two inches of bowing.

Methods of Repair

There are several methods for the repair of bowed walls in a basement. While bowed walls don’t have to cost much to repair, it is important to note that the more severe the bowing is, the more expensive the repair will be. The best way to avoid further damage is to take action as soon as you notice any signs of damage. Consulting a professional will ensure you receive the most accurate and efficient solutions for addressing the problems.

One of the most basic repair methods is the installation of wall anchors. These anchors are installed by digging away soil at a 20-degree angle to the wall. Steel plates are then secured to the basement wall at the end of the anchor. This will prevent further wall movement caused by outside soil. The steel plate that pushes against the wall cancels the hydrostatic pressure that causes the wall to bow inward.

An alternative method for basement wall repair involves installing carbon fiber straps. These straps are made from high-tensile carbon fibers and are connected to the basement wall’s foundation and the sill plate above. These straps will distribute the stress of the bowed wall evenly. They will provide a permanent fix for the problem. The repair can also be easily hidden by painting the basement walls. There are other ways of repairing basement bowing walls, but carbon fiber is the most popular method, known for its resiliency and strength.

In addition to repairing bowed basement walls, you can also prevent such damage by improving the drainage of water near the foundation. If you have a leaky pipe or drainage system, these can eventually cause the basement walls to bow. When you find this type of damage, the first thing you should do is consult with a professional. Having a professional do the repair is the best way to guarantee that it is done properly and safely.

Cost of Repairs

If your foundation wall is bowing inward more than half an inch, it’s time to contact a foundation repair specialist to determine what needs to be done to repair it. They can inspect the walls and determine if any work is necessary. A professional will be able to offer you a quote based on the severity of the damage.

When considering the cost of home maintenance, be sure to factor in the cost of foundation repairs, as these repairs can lead to devastating consequences if they are put off for a long period of time. If you suspect that your basement foundation is bowing, you can choose from two different types of repairs: steel reinforcement strips or carbon fiber reinforcement strips. 

The former can cost you up to one thousand dollars per panel. Both methods will involve the installation of reinforcement strips and finishing. However, you should be aware that the latter will require hydraulic piers. The cost of basement bowing wall repairs will depend on the extent of the damage. Soil tests will determine what causes the bowing problem and whether extensive foundational repairs are necessary. A professional will be able to determine which type of material is best for your home.


Don’t let bowing basement walls get you beat! If you are concerned about the state of your home’s foundation, give BARRIER Waterproofing Systems a call today at . Schedule a FREE evaluation of your property and rest peacefully knowing you have made an investment in the safety and wellbeing of your family’s home that will last for years to come.