What Causes a Wall to Lean or Bow?
Have you noticed walls in your home that don’t seem to stand straight anymore? Perhaps your basement walls are bulging in the middle—this is called bowing. Or maybe you’ve spotted gaps between your walls and their cornices or stepped cracks in your brickwork—all signs of leaning walls. If walls in your home lean and bow, you likely have a need for foundation repairs.
Whether the bowing and leaning is obvious or an issue you’re just beginning to suspect, finding the root of the problem and getting it fixed by a qualified foundation repair contractor is a top priority. Not only do these cracks and slants affect the value of your home, left untreated they can cause costly and unsafe structural damage.
Most Common Causes of Leaning & Bowing Walls
The good news is, leaning and bowing walls can be repaired using wall beams or other professional interventions. The best solution depends on the nature of the problem, which usually stems from one of these common causes.
Over time, the earth beneath our feet and homes shifts naturally. After a long enough period, the constant motion of soil, clay, and rock mixed with rainwater and other environmental movements can cause pockets of air to develop underground. When your home’s foundations begin to shift in this aerated underground environment, your walls may begin to slip into those pockets, ultimately creating lean.
Broken Wall Ties
Even if you’ve never heard of cavity wall ties, you’ve benefited from their support. These unseen metal rods or strips hold your inner and outer walls together from the inside, providing crucial stability to your home. Though these cavity wall ties should be coated with an anti-corrosive material that protects from rust and other types of corrosion, that protection can only last so long. If these ties fail and break, walls will bow—and eventually buckle.
Incomplete Soil Compaction
When a house is being built in Michigan, contractors should thoroughly compact, or tamp down, the soil underneath and surrounding the foundation. Loose soil could be the result of a job done poorly during construction. More likely, though, the soil has been disturbed by other causes, such as additional nearby construction or plant roots sinking into the foundation. However it happens, improperly compacted soil can exert more pressure on walls, causing them to bow or lean.
Excess Moisture or Inadequate Drainage
Water is one of the most prominent causes of leaning or bowing walls. Homes without gutters or homes with poor drainage systems that allow water to flow toward the foundations are at much higher risk of bowing and leaning walls. Poor drainage causes hydrostatic pressure, which is when the soil surrounding your foundations becomes waterlogged—this heavy, bulky soil adds more pressure to the walls.
Level Up with Professional Foundation Repair
If you notice leaning or bowing walls anywhere in your home, don’t wait—you certainly don’t want the wall to buckle or fall before you take action, putting you and your family at risk. Instead, address the issue with a qualified contractor as soon as possible. If caught in the early stages, foundation repairs can be made quickly and more cost effectively, and a professional will know the right fix for your situation with the least amount of stress.
Foundation Solutions 360, Proudly Serving Michigan for 20+ Years
Foundation Solutions 360 is a veteran owned and operated foundation, basement, and crawl space repair company serving Metro Detroit, Southern Michigan, and Northern Ohio. If you suspect your walls are leaning or bowing, call us at 855-532-5360 or contact us here for a free consultation with a certified inspector.