Bowing Basement Wall Repair Cost

Bowing Basement Wall Repair Cost

Bowing walls are basement or retaining walls that curve inward.

When looking at a cross-section of a wall, if we draw a vertical line through the midpoint between the two sides of the wall, it will not be centered within the width of the wall when measured perpendicular to the length of the wall. In bowed walls, the line drawn across the width of the wall will not be aligned with the height of the wall. It means that it will be either above or below the median line but not within the middle third itself.

Stabilizing and securing a bowed basement wall does not necessarily entail fixing it back into position. The objective of the repair is to stabilize and secure it in its current state.

All the rest of the stuff in the house rests directly or indirectly upon your foundation walls. If one of these walls sags, then they compromise the structural integrity of the whole building. Large cracks, bowing, and bulging are signs that indicate serious damage that needs immediate attention.

These kinds of cracks may be able to open and close depending on whether they’re exposed to rain or not. They may open during rainstorms, but they may not stay open for long after the storm passes. Or vice versa.

Bowing Basement Wall Repair Cost

customers paid an average of $5500-$6500 for these services.  Three things will influence the overall cost of repairs to your home: how far has it bowed, what is outside of the wall, and how long the wall is.  Each of these is contingent on which repair option you choose to use.

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Expect prices between $700 and $15,000 to fix a bowing structure, depending on how many walls are affected and how badly. Bowing walls are caused by shifting soil, sinking, or water damage. The most common method of repairing structures that are less than 2’’ bowed is by using carbon fiber strips that are applied to the wall with epoxy to strengthen the structure. Another solution is to reinforce them with a wall anchor that uses anchor plates and connected steel rods attached to a wall plate and inserted inside the wall. The rods are tightened over time, helping the walls stay straight. If the issue is more severe, you may need to have piers installed to support them as well, depending on how badly they have bowed.

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Bowing basement walls can be fixed by using carbon fiber or steel reinforcement strips for $350 to $1,000 per strip. This type of damage is a sign of poor soil conditions caused by expansive clay, weak fill, or insufficient drainage. You want to catch this right away because it lowers your home value and can cause your house to settle. You’ll also need to assess the soil to solve the initial problem.

Bowing Basement Wall Repair Cost With Wall Anchors

The primary reason for a bowed or leaning basement wall is an excess of lateral force applied to its outer surface. As soon as the pressure becomes too great for the wall to withstand, it begins to buckle, crease, or even tear. As it goes on longer, the wall starts to erode from below.

Wall anchors relieve the stress from the wall by distributing its weight evenly across the ground. It prevents the wall from moving further into the room. Wall anchors come in three different varieties: C channel wall anchors, Helical tie-back wall anchors, and Wall Plate Anchors.

C-Channel Wall Anchors Cost 

C-channel anchors are typically used when there is “shearing” at the bottom of the wall. They are placed on the wall approximately every 4-5′, on center. (The term ‘’on center’’ means the distance from the middle of one wall anchor – or any other element – to the middle of the next.)

The average C-channel job costs around $7,500, and takes 1-2 days to complete. Our C-channel wall anchors cost approximately $820 each.

Helical Tie-Back Wall Anchors Cost

Helical tie backs are often used when a wall is leaning severely, tipping inward, or if a lot of recovery is trying to be achieved. They are placed on the wall approximately every 4-5′, on center. Helical tie backs usually require removing soil from the exterior of the house in order to take the pressure off the wall.

The average helical tie back job costs around $18,000 and takes about 3-4 days to complete. Our helical tie backs cost approximately $1,950 each.

Wall Plate Anchor System Cost

Wall plate anchors are placed on the wall approximately every 5′, on center. In our service area, the average wall plate anchor system costs around $7,000 and takes about 1-2 days to complete. Wall plate anchors cost approximately $725 each.

Bowing Basement Wall Causes

Hydrostatic Pressure

Soils that are saturated with water outside your foundation cause hydrostatic pressure that strains against the wall.

A common cause for bowed walls is hydrostatic pressure. When the ground near your home becomes wet from rain or snowmelt, the soil swells up and exerts force on your home’s foundation. In addition, when a heavy downpour occurs, water can seep into basements through cracks in foundations and walls.

These situations are prevalent snowfall melting and summertime showers, but may also be caused by inadequate drainage around your property.

We recommend that whenever you clean your guttering, you evaluate it and your downspouts.  These should be kept in good condition, because they’re the first line of defense against rainwater.  Downspouts should drain at least 10 feet from your home.  If they don’t, rainwater may be collecting around your foundation and contributing to the problem.  If your guttering and downspouts “pass inspection,” you may need to install water drainage in your basement (in addition to repairing the bowing wall).  

This is not something we suggest to make you spend more money.  If you have significant water intrusion, only repairing the bowing wall is treating the symptom and ignoring the disease.  If you don’t address the hydrostatic pressure, your home will continue to be vulnerable to its effects.  

These conditions are common during snow melts and spring rains, but can also be caused by poor drainage around your house.  If your downspouts are emptying rainwater to close to the home, or if you live in a high water table, you may need some basement water drainage in addition to wall repairs.

Frozen Soil

When the ground freezes, it expands and as a result, puts pressure on the wall.

Expansive Soils

there are many different types of soil, and not all of them are similar. Expansive soils are ones that are able to expand by absorbing water and contract by evaporating water. Soil expansion during the wet season exerts strain on the retaining wall, which may cause bending over time.

Importance Of A Quick Action

I know, I know- no one likes an alarmist, but a bowing wall will not fix itself.  Nor can you trust it to hold fast against increasing external pressure. Left on its own, a damaged wall will deteriorate until it collapses.  At that point, the structure of your house is compromised, and staying there could endanger your family.  

You may have to move out until it’s rebuilt, which can take weeks or months, depending on the severity of the destruction.  A collapsing basement wall can split flooring, snap beams and joists, crack drywall, break water pipes- the potential damage is extensive and far-reaching.

If you fix it promptly, you avert these disastrous circumstances.  A cracked or slightly bowing wall can be repaired with minimally invasive methods.  If the wall has progressed to significant bowing or bulging, the repairs will cost more money and create more mess- but it will still be much less than the wreckage of a collapsed wall.The important part is that you take action while it can still be repaired.

How To Repair A Bowing Basement Wall

Bowing walls are not an area for a DIY repair; the methods and equipment required are well beyond the scope of a homeowner, no matter how skilled.   

There are several ways to fix a wall before it collapses.  The best method for your home will depend on how extensive the damage is.  If a wall is only cracked, or bowing less than 2 inches, carbon fiber straps are the ideal solutions.  If the wall is bowing or bulging more significantly, you’ll want to review wall anchors and helical tiebacks. 

Procedures Available

Carbon Fiber Straps

Carbon Fiber Straps are our preferred method for repairing a bowing basement wall.  They are the least invasive to install and usually the least expensive.  However, these are best used for walls that are bowing inward 2 inches or less. 

These straps are epoxy-sealed directly to the wall and secured at the top and bottom.  Generally speaking, we need to place a strap every 4 feet along the wall.  The installation can be done entirely from the inside of the basement, with no excavation required.  Once the installation is complete, you can even paint over the straps if you’d like.  

Wall Anchors

If your wall is bowing more than 2 inches, we consider wall anchors instead.  These cost more than straps for two reasons.  First, they require some excavation outside your home (to place the anchor).  Second, anchors use steel components which are more expensive than straps.  

You’ll need at least 10 feet of usable ground outside the basement to install an anchor.  A steel plate or channel is attached to the basement wall.  Another plate is buried in the yard, and the two are connected by a steel shaft.  

As the steel rod is tightened, it exerts pull on the wall and the anchor in the yard holds it fast.  Anchors should be placed about every 5 feet along the bowing wall.

Helical Tiebacks

If your wall is bowing too much for straps, and the property arrangement doesn’t allow for anchors, helical tiebacks are the best option.  These are the most secure method, but also the most expensive. A steel shaft with helical (screw-like) plates on the end is drilled at an angle through the earth outside of your foundation.  

The shaft is secured to the inside of the basement wall with a large steel plate or channel, then twisted to a specific torque that holds it tight.  Usually, tiebacks are 14-21 feet long, but in certain cases, longer lengths are required to get the proper “grip” on the soil.

Wall Straightening

We mentioned earlier that repairing a bowed wall does not mean returning it to plumb.  However, if you would prefer to have your previously bowed wall returned to its pre-bowing state, wall straightening is an option.  For us at Acculevel, it is not a standard service because it is more invasive to your home and property, as well as being more expensive.  

In order to straighten the wall, a contractor will excavate outside of your foundation to access the exterior of the wall.  This alleviates the pressure on the foundation. Then using hydraulic jacks inside the basement, they’ll push the bowing wall back into position.  

Once straightened, it is secured, usually by carbon fiber straps.    Straightening the wall does not negate the need for straps- if the wall has failed once, it is likely to do so again at a later date if there’s no reinforcement to strengthen it.   

Want to see how this process works? One of our customers recently had their wall straightened, so that they could install an egress window in it.  (They also needed waterproofing.) 

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Author M. Kogan

Hello, I am Marcio. I am an architect and designer, alma mater is Mackenzie. Retired in theory, but an architect never retires completely. Along with architectural projects, I am a filmmaker and have completed some short documentaries. Filmmaking and design are my passions. In HomeQN I write about home decoration and foundations. The goal is to teach homeowners to DYI as much as possible, and when this is not possible, enable them through knowledge, to evaluate service quotations and choose the best service technicians.

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