If you’ve never experienced problems with your foundation before, then it can be quite difficult to identify specific issues that have begun to manifest. When coupled with the fact that you can’t exactly see your home’s base foundation without conducting an excavation, it’s not easy to figure out what, if anything, has gone amiss down below.
Thankfully, foundation damage tends to give itself away through several problem signs and symptoms. Bowing walls, for example, normally leave behind a trail of clues that you can use to figure out that something has gone wrong and that your home requires some foundation repair. If you have noticed some bowing walls problem signs in your home, then you will need to get in touch with a professional foundation repair service.
What Are Bowing Walls?
Bowing walls are walls that curve inward. This should never happen within a home, as it always indicates that something has gone wrong. Oftentimes, bowing walls in Charlotte, NC indicate that the structural supports of your foundation have been knocked out of alignment.
A wall can bow in a few different ways. For example, rather than bowing inward, the basement walls can tilt in one direction or another. The risks involved with bowing walls are essentially the same, no matter the underlying cause.
Even in circumstances where the bowing walls have a different cause, your foundation’s structural supports can begin to gradually shift out of place if the damage is not addressed for a prolonged period. Since the structural supports of your foundation are crucial to the stability of your house, allowing them to shift out of place can prove to be costly and dangerous.
Similarly, allowing bowing walls to persist without addressing the underlying problem can cause the concrete and drywall that make up your basement walls to slump. Both slumping concrete and unaligned structural supports can cause cracks and holes to develop in the concrete, which, in turn, can allow moisture to build up in the foundation with greater ease. This can lead to even more foundation damage.
If you like to stay on the safe side regarding the security and maintenance of your home, then you don’t need to wait for problem signs to appear before contacting a professional. Instead, by scheduling annual foundation inspections, you will have a better chance of noticing any foundation problems and preventing them before they get out of hand.
Problem Signs of Bowing Walls
In Charlotte, NC, most of the problem signs concerning bowing walls have to do with excess moisture, moisture accumulation, or moisture damage. It is important for every homeowner to understand these problem signs, as well as the risks involved. This will let you tackle the problem early and alleviate bowing walls before the issue gets out of hand.
These indicators should give you an idea of when the right time is to get in touch with a professional foundation repair service.
Sticking Doors and Windows
If you have noticed that your doors and windows appear to be stuck or jammed, then this may be a sign of bowing walls. Since bowing walls are usually caused by an excess of water accumulation, this also can cause your doors and windows to swell up and become jammed in the frame. Moreover, regularly sticking doors and windows are a sign that something has gone amiss with the structural stability of your home, which could potentially be caused by bowing, bulging, or tilting foundation walls.
Cracks Along Walls
When your foundation undergoes an unbalanced or extreme amount of stress, this tends to manifest as cracks in the walls. As such, one of the most common and easily identifiable problem signs of bowing walls is cracks in your basement walls. Cracks in the walls are indicators that your foundation’s structural stability might be off and that your house is undergoing structural stress.
If you find cracks in the walls of your home appearing, then this might be a sign that bowing walls are just around the corner. Conversely, it also may indicate that bowing walls are already a problem in your home. Either way, these cracks should be addressed as a problem sign of foundation damage to tackle any current or future issues.
There are many common types of cracks that you might see occurring in your home, with varying degrees of severity. Some of the most common types include:
- Horizontal Cracks
If your home’s internal or external supports encounter standing water or higher-than-average humidity levels, your wall may develop horizontal cracks.
- Diagonal cracks
While diagonal cracks tend to form for essentially the same reasons as horizontal cracks do, diagonal cracks tend to be larger on one side than the other. This indicates that unwanted moisture is having a greater relative effect on one part of your home.
- Vertical cracks
Vertical wall cracks are usually a direct indication that there is something wrong with the structural stability of your foundation.
- Stair-step cracks
Stair-step cracks usually form in brick-and-mortar walls. You can track down these cracks by following your mortar lines. Again, stair-step cracks normally appear in your home when moisture has accumulated in the walls’ structural supports.
Higher Electricity Bills
If you have noticed that your home’s electricity bills are higher than usual (and have ruled out most of the other reasons why this could be happening), then this may be a problem sign of bowing walls. If your home’s foundation and structural supports are under stress due to excess water accumulation, then this will put an extra strain on your home’s HVAC system to remove the excess moisture and humidity.
Higher Water Bills
Bowing walls could be caused by an excess of standing water in your home’s foundation or structural supports. This water could have resulted from an internal pipe leak or seepage from your underground water tank. Not only will this cause extra damage around your basement, crawl space, and the foundation itself, but also it could lead to your water bill skyrocketing, even when your habits and lifestyle remain the same.
Unusually High Moisture Levels in Your Home
Bowing, buckling, bulging, or tilting foundation walls are usually caused by water seepage and standing water in your foundation and home’s structural supports. This will cause the moisture or humidity levels in your home to remain unusually high for no apparent reason.
Foundation Sliding Near the Bottom of Walls
If left unaddressed, then bowing foundation walls can cause the structural supports of your foundation to become misaligned over time. One of the consequences of this is that your basement walls may slide near the bottom of the wall due to the uneven stress being carried by the structural supports.
Leaning at the Top of Foundation Walls
Over time, unaddressed bowing walls can cause the structural supports of your foundation to become misaligned. As a consequence, you may find that your basement walls are leaning towards the top of the walls due to the uneven stress being carried by the structural supports.
Presence of Wet Clay Soil Along Damaged Walls
The chief cause of bowing, bulging, buckling, or tilting foundation walls is the accumulation of standing water and moisture in your foundation’s structural supports. If your foundation has become subject to standing water, then one of the most common problem signs to go along with this is the presence of wet clay soil along the walls of your home.
If you find wet clay soil near the walls of your home, then this is a sign that there is standing water affecting the foundation and structural supports of your home. If left unaddressed, then this excessive water could lead to bowing foundation walls.
Increased Pressure in the Soil Around Your Home
One of the chief problem signs of the accumulation of water in your home’s foundation and structural supports is that water will make its presence known in a variety of ways. If there is an excess of water in your home’s foundation, then this water will also accumulate in the subsoil around your home. Over time, this water will even reach the upper layers of the soil and will manifest as unusually high pressure in the soil.
If you have noticed that the soil around your home has become unusually firm, dense, and high in pressure, then this may be a sign of bowing foundation walls being caused by standing water in your foundation.
Excess Hydrostatic Pressure
If the soil around your basement is continuously becoming even a little flooded with seepage water, then this could be an indicator that there is a dangerous amount of water pressure pushing against your home’s foundation.
An increase in hydrostatic pressure in the ground around your home is likely to be the underlying cause behind this. Regardless, excess hydrostatic pressure will make itself known in a variety of ways and can easily cause cracking of basement walls and bowing of foundation walls.
What Do I Do About Bowing Walls?
Unfortunately, conclusions can’t be made from whether the above signs are symptoms of bowing walls. In other words, no single problem sign can be a sure-fire indicator of any single issue.
For this reason, if you notice any one or more of these problem signs manifesting in or around your home, be sure to contact a professional foundation repair service or foundation specialist to look at your home and draw the right conclusions. If you live in Charlotte, NC and have been noticing the above bowing walls problem signs, then Dry Pro Foundation and Crawlspace Specialists can inspect your home. We offer free inspections, and after investigating the problem signs in your home, we will suggest top-of-the-line solutions for foundation damage.
Making Mistakes During Installation
If you attempt to repair your own foundation walls, then there is a high chance that you won’t be able to access the same industry gear and equipment used to work on these projects. Even if you can, these solutions often require a great deal of experience to install properly. The most knowledgeable laymen can still make an honest mistake, and, in the realm of foundation damage, this can be catastrophic.
For example, wall anchors are difficult to install properly. If you install a wall anchor only halfway, then you might leave assuming that your home is safe from further foundation damage, when, it is not. Foundation damage that is allowed to fester will only get worse over time. If you make mistakes during the DIY foundation repairs, then in a few months time, you might be looking at more serious problem of foundation sinking.
Repairing damaged foundation walls or structural supports on your own is a very costly endeavor. It involves getting your hands on effective wall anchors or braces, having the correct tools to install them, and having the correct materials to repair cracks and leakages that could be compounding the problem.
The lack of industry connections on the part of the average homeowner means that repairing foundation damage on your own can turn out to be much more costly than having a professional service do the job for you. Moreover, if you make mistakes during your DIY repairs that lead to even more serious issues, you will have to hire a professional service to first fix your DIY repairs and then install repairs of their own. This might compound the costs to much more than it would have been had you avoided DIY repairs altogether.
Repairing damaged foundation walls can be an expensive project to undertake. However, given the fact that undertaking such repairs are necessary for the future structural integrity of your home, you will have to put aside an adequate budget for foundation wall repair.
You can start shrinking those costs by taking advantage of free service quotes like the ones we offer here at DryPro. This will give you a solid idea of what the total cost will look like and the kind of repairs you’ll need, without needing to put money down up-front. Here is other budgeting considerations that you can take into account:
Repairing Your Foundation
A specialist will make it clear to you that your first job should be to repair and eliminate sources of damage that could be plaguing your foundation and contributing to bowing walls. Leaving even the smallest source of foundation damage unaddressed will only mean that you’re calling on the specialists again after a few months.
Therefore, your foundation repair budget should include the cost of repairing and eliminating all cracks, leaks, water accumulation, and other sources of foundation damage. This, of course, may include foundation excavation as well.
Anchor Installation and Waterproofing
After repairs are complete, a specialist will suggest that you undertake the installation of wall anchors or waterproofing procedures to maintain the structural integrity of your foundation for many years to come. The cost of wall anchors tends to be quite consistent. Depending on the severity of foundation damage, you can expect your contractor to install wall anchors between every six to eight feet along the bowing wall.
On the other hand, the cost of waterproofing tends to fluctuate quite a bit. While basic waterproofing of your foundation walls is not too costly, if your home needs more waterproofing measures, such as sump pumps or gutter drains, this can add a few extra hundred dollars to the ticket.
Once your foundation wall repairs have been completed, you will want to start considering how to protect your foundation in the future. This is crucial to prevent destabilizing factors, such as moisture, from ever becoming a fundamental problem for your home again. Make sure you ask your professional contractor what means you can invest in to further protect your foundation walls in the future.
Invest in Regular Home Inspections
An inspection can take under an hour if your home receives annual check-ups, or it may take several hours during your first inspection. This allows the expert to fully check over your foundation, the surrounding area, your basement and crawl space, and other areas of your home. They will be looking for problem signs and subtle indicators of stress on your foundation. This lets them catch problems early and apply small fixes to keep your home in top condition.
Waterproofing Your Basement
If you have undertaken and completed foundation repairs for bowing walls in your home, then investing in adequate waterproofing measures is crucial to further protecting your foundation walls. This also has the double advantage of increasing the lifespan of the newly installed wall anchors.
Both sump pumps and dehumidifiers used in conjunction with one another after foundation repairs are a great (and common) way to protect your foundation walls. These also can be used in conjunction with interior drainage systems to carry unwanted water away from your foundation walls.
Choose The Right Foundation Repair in Charlotte, NC
If your home in Charlotte, NC is experiencing foundation damage such as bowing or tilting walls, then you can trust Dry Pro Foundation and Crawlspace Specialists to help you out. This professional foundation repair service offers Charlotte homeowners a free inspection and a service quote for necessary repairs.
The safety and wellbeing of Charlotte homeowners and the integrity and longevity of their homes is the top priority of professional contractors at Dry Pro. Therefore, you can rely on us to figure out the best foundation repair strategy for your home and to implement it to completion. Schedule an appointment today or contact us for more information.