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Bowing basement walls

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Jun 19, 2014, 03:36 PM
Sam Hines
Bowing basement walls
How do you fix a bowing basement wall? I need help ASAP.
Jun 19, 2014, 05:53 PM
You have a problem that is serious. The bow is caused by the wall not having enough structural strength to withstand the pressure behind it. The pressure behind the wall depends on numerous factors: the depth to which the walls are backfilled, the type of soil, and, primarily, hydraulic pressure from water. Lack of a french drain at the base of the wall will increase this pressure. What you need is a stronger wall and/or relieving the pressure pushing in. This is no easy job and not one for a person without special skills. What you really need is to have an engineer to evaluate the situation and design a remedy. What you also will need is a lot of money.
Jun 19, 2014, 06:28 PM
Sam, did you just recently purchase this house? From the urgency of your post I get the impression that you've just recently discovered this situation. No criticism here, just an inquiry.

I was thinking that if the house was a recent purchase and the bowing wall issue wasn't disclosed, you might have recourse against the former owner.
Jun 19, 2014, 06:33 PM
But definitely not a DIY project. Time to call in a pro and get an idea of what you are in for.

Jun 19, 2014, 06:49 PM
there's a lot of biblical rain falling around here. if you are in the same situation, the foundation could cave in.

there is an ugly way to save it, proven in tons of Fargo floods. plastic over the floor and sink drains, sandbags on top of that... and then... pull the power, shut off the gas, and flood the basement with clean water.


wrecks the contents just as thoroughly, but saves the basement and likely the house. that's a theoretical 50 grand in your pocket, or more.

in any event, you need a pro now. might be able to rebuild just one wall after the ground conditions are taken care of that caused the fail in the first place.

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Jun 19, 2014, 10:12 PM
I would very strongly recommend you purchase some lolly columns and some made up beams to support the load above. This will give you some safety until you figure it out.