Serving Mid, Western and Northern Michigan,
Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Wednesday, May 29th, 2019 by Amanda Waldmann
If you have a bowing wall, there’s a good chance your Google search history is full of questions about it. How does it happen? How much can it bow before it’s dangerous? How can you fix it?
The bad news is, there are a lot of different answers for the first two questions, and you can’t fix it yourself. The good news is that now you have us, and we have both answers and solutions.
How Bowing Walls Happen
When a wall begins to bow or lean, soil is the most likely culprit. Sometimes it washes out below the footing of the foundation, leading the foundation to sink and the wall to bow as a result. Often, pressure from surrounding soil pushes in on foundation walls as the soil freezes and thaws. This results in the wall bowing and, in severe cases, even collapsing.
The “Safe Zone” for Bowing Walls
Unfortunately, the safe zone doesn’t exist. If you’ve been searching, you’ve probably found many conflicting numbers of what a “safe” amount of leaning/bowing is for a wall. The numbers conflict because there actually isn’t any safe amount. We’ve seen walls that bow 3-4” and have been that way for years without any problems, and we’ve seen walls leaning only half an inch that are in imminent danger of collapsing.
There are so many variables at play other than how much the wall is presently bowed that we can’t declare any amount a safe amount. If your wall is bowing, it should be inspected.
How You Can Fix It
We love telling homeowners how they can make small changes/improvements to their homes, but this isn’t an area where you can DIY a solution. Bowing foundation walls threaten the structural integrity of your entire home. The best thing you can do when you discover a problem with your foundation walls is to call us. The sooner we can address it, the less invasive and less expensive a solution will be - wall problems are the poster child of “only gets worse over time” and you want them solved as early as possible.
Bowing walls are scary, but you can’t, and don’t, have to deal with them alone. Call us today to schedule your free inspection.