An Unexpected Connection: Leaky Basements and Bowing Walls

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014


An Unexpected Connection: Leaky Basements and Bowing Walls

If your home’s walls have begun to bow, crack or lean, there is a very good chance that your home’s basement also has a moisture problem. Tar Heel Basement Systems has seen too much of this problematic pairing over its 11 years in the home improvement industry to blame it on coincidence. One problem will begin to fuel the development of the other problem and continue that process until a professional intervenes and halts the damage.

While there are a number of potential causes of cracked and bowing foundation walls, the most common reason is pressure from the soil near the outside wall. When clay soils get wet, they expand and put pressure on the wall. When that force becomes too much for the wall, it cracks or bows.

With changing seasons comes changing environmental conditions, putting the soil through a constant cycle of extremes. The ground freezes then thaws, snow falls and then melts, and heavy rains saturate the ground then dry up; as this wetting cycle is repeated, this causes further weakening and inward movement of foundation walls.

attempt at stopping walls from bowing any further

Yesterday the marketing team visited a home in Winston-Salem that was experiencing this exact pair of problems. The cinder block basement wall had begun to crack and bow in due to the severe and ever changing North Carolina weather. There was also water around the entire interior perimeter of the basement indicating that the soil directly outside of the home was holding a good amount of moisture and causing hydrostatic pressure to push against the exterior of the foundation wall.

Not only does the pressure eventually exceed the strength of the wall, causing it to crack and bow, but it also allows for quite a bit of water to make its way into the basement.

The drainage system already in place was installed by another contractor and was doing no good at all. This nearly useless water control system was installed directly on top of the basement floor and only collects water from the floor-wall joint, which allowed water from anywhere else make its way past of the drain channel and onto the basement floor.

In order for an interior basement waterproofing system to function correctly, it must have the capabilities to collect water from the joints, walls and below the slab. Additionally, it needs to have a slope for the water to drain properly to a sump pump.

damage from leaky basement

If your home has bowing walls, moisture problems or both, it is time to have an expert take a good look. Letting issues such as these continue to worsen will only lower the home’s value and make it an uncomfortable and unsafe environment to live.

Tar Heel Basement Systems specializes in problems exactly like these and offers free, no obligation estimates to any curious homeowner.

If you are interested in having one of our systems design specialists pay you a visit and find a solution, contact us today!