Foundation Wall Failure: Identifying the Issue and Cause
Have you ever heard the phrase, “It feels like the walls are closing in on me” ? If your foundation walls are bowing, buckling or are showing signs of inward movement, you may be experiencing that very situation.
Telltale Signs of Foundation Wall Failure:
- Horizontal or stair-step cracking along foundation walls
- Diagonal cracking at corners of poured concrete foundation walls
- Inward bowing or bulging along the walls
- Walls sliding inwards on the bottom
- Walls leaning in at the top
- Wet, clay soils around the home coupled with damaged walls
Signs Of Bowing Foundation Walls
Foundation walls move inward primarily due to expansive soils and hydrostatic pressure on the walls from outside. However, foundation walls may also crack due to many other outside causes, including foundation settlement. Our foundation experts will accurately identify the cause of your home’s foundation problems.
What Causes Foundation Walls to Crack, Bow and Buckle?
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 we 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!
The soils around your home can put enormous pressure on foundation walls. The amount of pressure they exert depends on four factors:
- The type of soil around the foundation
- The amount of moisture in the soil
- How far underground the foundation is
- The temperature conditions
There’s constant pressure on your foundation walls from the outside, but the only thing hold up your foundation wall is the wall itself. Hydrostatic pressure, expansive clay soil, and frost can all exert enough pressure to cause walls to lean or even collapse. Gutters and downspouts can also contribute significantly to foundation problems. If roof runoff is not directed away from your foundation, the soil around the foundation will become heavier and more expansive as it’s saturated with water.
The SettleStop IntelliBrace™ System
At Aquaguard, we often use wall anchors to repair walls, but in some cases, a wall anchor system can’t be used to repair a bowing wall because the yard outside the house isn’t accessible. When we encounter this kind of problem, we suggest our SettleStop IntelliBrace™ Foundation Wall System.
The SettleStop IntelliBrace™ is a patented foundation wall repair system designed to stabilize failing basement walls and also allows for potential straightening over time. This product is a great option when access to the yard outside of the home is not possible and bowing, buckling wall problems need to be solved. The SettleStop IntelliBrace™ is an I-beam system that has several advantages over traditional “old school” systems. This includes its rust-resistant zinc coating and a design that makes it possible not only to stabilize bowing walls, but also to straighten these walls over a period of time.