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Bowing Foundation Wall - Why and How to fix it

Friday, March 8th, 2019 by Maintenance Blizzard


Bowing foundation wall is more common on the cinder block foundation but also occurs on a poured concrete foundation as well.

Concrete blocks and poured concrete foundations have a strong resistance to compression (live weight on top of foundation) but poor resistance at lateral pressures (sideway pressure) unless appropriately built. For a cinder block foundation, the only thing that holds the blocks together is the mortar between them. Most of the time cinder block foundations are built without rebar reinforcement, and no poured concrete in their voids. It is a cheaper way to build a foundation with cinder blocks, but you get what you have for the money.

On the other hand, in perfect conditions many cinder Block foundations perform well and will last a long time but there is to be a problem to be, this type of foundation is more likely to suffer. Poured concrete foundations are stronger and offer more resistance to the outside elements and pressure. The reason is that they are made entirely of concrete with no void. When built correctly, a poured concrete foundation will have horizontal and vertical rebar reinforcement that makes the foundation stronger.

Bowing Foundation walls

So, what will cause a foundation to bow?

Many factors may cause a foundation bowing, but mostly it is the lateral pressures pressed upon the foundation that will make it bend.

Structural reasons:

  • Poor construction quality of cinder block wall with no rebar or concrete reinforcement.
  • No rebar reinforcement.
  • Concrete mix that has low PSI at pouring or a lousy ratio of cement, aggregate sand, and water or concrete installed in adverse conditions such as freezing or improper cure time.

External reasons:

  • Pressure caused by the driveway beside the house where cars are parked creating ongoing soil compaction.
  • Ground freezing and tawing of clay soil or soil with substantial water content.
  • Snow removal around the foundation area allowing freeze to go deeper.
  • Foundation exposed to ground movement from a steep hill nearby.
  • Heavy motor vehicle traffic close to the foundation.
  • Mechanical compaction close to the foundation.

Bowing Foundation

How to fix a foundation that has bowed?

Most of the bowed foundations can be repaired and have to be corrected in order to regain the value of your home or building.

You can fix your bowed foundation in several different ways from bulletproof to acceptable repair, and it goes with the investment you put in it.

1. Depending on the gravity of the bowing sometimes the best thing to do is to do a foundation remodel, meaning remove the existing foundation and replace it with a new one.

That is the bulletproof solution. It allows you to install as well as proper drainage, waterproofing and exterior insulation at the same time. Not only you correct the foundation problem, but you are fixing the cause of it preventing future damage.


Bowing Foundation

2. Foundation wall stabilization with inside poured foundation against existing bowing wall.

This approach would be the second-best for it gives you the rigidity of a new concrete foundation with steel reinforcement and also a better look of a straight concrete wall with no deformation.

The day you sell your house you will find the value of such a repair.


Steel I Beam Wall Brace

3. Steel I beam wall brace

This technique consists of installing Steel beams vertically and bolted to the floor and joist and spaced every 4 to 6 feet apart. It is a stable install and will give you the support needed to prevent future bowing. It works well for a bowing wall that is not too deformed or damaged by the outside pressure. If esthetic is of no concern to you that might be a good choice.


Wall Anchor Installation

4. Foundation wall anchor system

That system is a technique that uses an anchor in the ground with rods and plates to hold in place your bowing wall. It involves excavating in front of the foundation wall where the anchor needs to be installed. Works well and will do the job you expect to. It is a little less invasive from the inside perspective.

There are ways to solve those problems and to be done with it once and for all. Give us a call today for a free estimate.

Aspen Foundation Repair LLC has 20 plus years of experience in foundation repair and offers you the peace of mind of a job done right the first time. We are serving Grand Junction area, Montrose, Delta, Paonia, Silt, Rifle, Glenwood, Vail, Avon, and Aspen Area.

our service area

We serve the following areas

  • Almont
  • Aspen
  • Avon
  • Basalt
  • Bond
  • Burns
  • Carbondale
  • Chromo
  • Cimarron
  • Clark
  • Collbran
  • Craig
  • Crawford
  • Creede
  • Crested Butte
  • Eagle
  • Edwards
  • Frisco
  • Glenwood Springs
  • Gunnison
  • Gypsum
  • Hamilton
  • Hayden
  • Hotchkiss
  • Lake City
  • Mc Coy
  • Meeker
  • Meredith
  • Minturn
  • New Castle
  • Oak Creek
  • Ohio City
  • Pagosa Springs
  • Paonia
  • Parlin
  • Phippsburg
  • Pitkin
  • Powderhorn
  • Red Cliff
  • Silt
  • Slater
  • Snowmass
  • Snowmass Village
  • Somerset
  • Steamboat Springs
  • Toponas
  • Vail
  • Wolcott
  • Woody Creek
  • Yampa
Our Locations:

Aspen Foundation Repairs
732 Buckhorn Dr Unit B
Rifle, CO 81650
1-970-414-2583
Aspen Foundation Repairs service area
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