Should I Buy a House with Bowling Basement Walls? Learn In Detail


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Basement walls that are bowing may indicate major structural issues in your property. Therefore, it’s critical to respond promptly if one or more of your basement walls begin to bow inward before the damage spreads. Let’s find out the question answer “Should I buy a house with bowling basement walls or not?

Should I Buy a House with Bowling Basement Walls?

Should I Buy a House with Bowling Basement Walls

House is old (most likely built-in in the ’30s or before). Buying a house means a compromise. You may not find the house in the basement you want or within your budget. But in the end, you may miss some of these things because there is enough of what you want in the house, and you need it to be worth it.

One of the features you may not be in the mood to compromise is buying a house with problems with the foundation. In the end, start-up problems usually mean that major repairs are needed. No homeowner wants to get stuck on spending more on a house than he expected or wanted. If you are considering buying a new home, there are some indications that you should be aware of the potential problems with setting up before buying.

If you consider buying a house with more bowing walls, call an experienced foundation repair contractor or civil engineer and ask for an inspection. They will be able to tell you what is wrong and how to fix it. The foundation repair contractor will also provide you with an estimate of how much the repair will cost. Then you can include it in your design.

Remember that bowing walls are a sign of structural damage. Never buy a house with bowing basement walls unless an experienced technician checks the problem.  

Factors Causing Basement Wall Bowing

Factors Causing Basement Wall Bowing

Leaks in the water supply

Uncontrolled leaks in the pipes near the basement wall can saturate the soil with water. This increases the hydrostatic pressure on the basement walls, which can cause them to clamp.

Heavy rain

Heavy rain can suddenly cause water to saturate the soil surrounding the basement wall. As a result, the hydrostatic pressure exerted by the earth on the basement walls suddenly increases, causing them to bend.

Large roots

Large roots can also put pressure on basement walls as they grow and expand.

Frost lift

Frost lift causes the ground adjacent to the basement walls to swell. As the soil takes up more spaces, it puts pressure on the cellar walls, causing them to bend inwards.

Poorly shaped terrain 

Soil with poor or no slopes can lead to runoff toward your home. Over time, water can cause your basement walls to bend.

Damaged or misplaced gutters and downspouts

Damaged or improperly installed gutters and downspouts can drain water from the roof next to the foundation. This saturates the soil with water and increases the hydrostatic pressure on the cellar walls. For example, if we install helical piers on a settling foundation, there’s a small chance (2-3%) that the foundation will need additional piers.

What to do Before Buying a House with Bowing Basement Walls

What to do Before Buying a House with Bowing Basement Walls

Checking the Foundation

It is essential that potential homeowners visually inspect the foundation of the house before making a purchase decision. So how do you know you’re having trouble setting up? Most homes usually have small cracks in the foundations caused by the normal decline of the house. You probably shouldn’t worry about cracks smaller than a quarter of an inch. However, larger cracks suggest that the condition of the foundation may be more severe.

Get a professional opinion

If a visual inspection of the house reveals signs of more serious damage to the foundations, it is important to hire a civil engineer to assess the extent of the damage. The average home inspector will not tell you as much about the damage to the foundations as the engineer. Even if it costs more money, it is worth knowing exactly what you will get into before buying a house.


If the engineer reveals bad news about the house’s foundations, it does not necessarily mean the breakdown of the agreement, but you will have to decide. Most likely, you will need to repair the damage immediately, so you should negotiate with the seller and ask for a lower price. Houses with foundation problems tend to sell an average of 20-25 percent less, while renovations usually cost about 10 percent of the house’s value. Repairing home foundation problems also means fixing any home problems that may have caused foundation damage.

Find out what you’re getting into

Buying a home with start-up problems may seem like a risky business, but if you know exactly what you’re getting into, these problems can be solved. You can even spend less than expected. What’s more, working with a qualified foundation repair contractor will provide you with the home you love without having to compromise on these foundation problems. Unfortunately, while all of the above solutions are designed to straighten bowed walls, we cannot guarantee 100% recovery. 

Signs that Basement Walls have bowed

Sometimes bowed basement walls can be difficult to spot. First, however, you should look for any signs that might indicate that your basement walls are bowing. Here are some signs.

Horizontal cracks:

Horizontal cracks are common as a result of the bowing of the walls. In addition, when the soil around the basement produces a lot of lateral strain on the basement walls, the walls can tilt and develop horizontal cracks.

Stair treads or diagonal cracks:

As a general rule of thumb, when a wall is bowing or tilting inward more than 50% of its thickness – For example, an 8″ thick wall bowing in more than 4″ – the wall almost always needs to be demolished and replaced. When the bow wall is tilted inward, these cracks can appear. In addition, parts of the basement walls are expanding due to increased external pressure, as shown by stairwell cracks and diagonal cracks.

Walls that bulge or bow inward: You may also notice that basement walls are bulging or bowing inward. This is a clear sign that the walls are being pressed in by the soil that surrounds them. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much bow is acceptable for basement walls?

In general, concrete blocks should be straightened if the bend is greater than 2 inches inward. The wall should also be straightened if the blocks in the wall split or if the block moves more than 1 inch to the side. Again, a professional and licensed supplier must inspect your cellar.

How much does it cost to repair a bowing foundation wall?

The national average cost for foundation repair is $4,033, according to HomeAdvisor. Expect the cost of repairing a curved structure between $700 and $15,000, depending on how many walls are damaged and how much. The collapse of the wall is caused by soil movement, subsidence, or water damage. My suggestion is to add at least 25% to the foundation repair cost as mitigation to the problems that will come from the foundation repair.

How to properly repair a bowing basement wall?

You can straighten the curved basement wall yourself if the distance from the wall is less than two inches. Both hydraulic cement and carbon fiber strapping can be used to self-straighten the basement wall. Both solutions can remove cracks and sags due to moisture penetration and precipitation in the home.

How far can a wall tilt without falling?

Generally speaking, you should be concerned about any distortion greater than 25 mm, as this will reduce the wall’s stability. In addition, a general rule, known as rule V3, requires that the center of gravity of the walls be taken into account.

How to repair a curved inner wall?

Usually, the contractor can install carbon fiber strips if your wall bends by 2 inches or less. Then, Accu level’s carbon straps are constructed; restoring structural stability to your property is correctly secured. And while we can’t speak for every home repair contractor, we firmly believe that any foundation we’ve repaired is 100% stable and secure.

How much does it cost to repair the sloping walls of the basement?

For a general crack in the foundation from a home settling over the years, repair cost could run up to $10,000 though many inspectors will tell you that if the crack is less than a half-inch, it’s likely not much of an issue.

This type of damage is a sign of poor soil condition caused by expansive clay, poor filling, or insufficient drainage.

Can a basement wall collapse?

I’m not trying to be cynical, just realistic; over 70% of businesses fail within the first ten years. A collapsed wall in the basement can split the floor, break beams and beams break plasterboard, breakwater pipes – potential damage is extensive and far-reaching. Late phase – the wall bent inwards and began to bulge.

How much do basement anchors cost?

Wall anchors cost about $790 to $950. (Material and labor are included with this pricing.)

Along a sloping wall, the anchor should be put every 5 feet or so. For example, a 24-foot basement wall will require four anchors, which will cost between $3,160 and $3,800. 


But according to Jerin Harper, from Harper Certified Appraisals in Oregon with ten years of experience: “It is wise for a seller to educate themselves on any foundation issues and to get at least three bids from licensed contractors,” Harper said. 

If you notice any traces of bowed basement walls, you should contact a professional contractor right once to have them inspected and repaired. If not repaired, the deflection of the basement wall may continue and cause visible damage to the structure.

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