ASeveral things can occur for your basement walls to become bowed.
1. Hydrostatic Pressure (Water Pressure)
The most common cause of bowing/buckling basement walls are hydrostatic pressure and expansive soils, especially in colder climates because moisture in the soil can freeze. The soil freezing can put tremendous pressure on the wall, that pressure, is what can cause the cracks to form. As the temperature fluctuates throughout the year, it results in your wall starting to shift.
2. Tree Roots
Some trees and plants may have roots that extend to the foundation of a building. When this occurs, it results in pressure being placed on the walls.
3. Heavy Soils
When soil shifts it results in pressure being exerted on your basement walls causing them to become bowed or cracked.
4. Poor Building Process
The way in which the walls were constructed can also be a factor in the pressure being put on them. The environment where the basement was built may not have been ideal, resulting in a poor structure. Issues with the walls may not show up right away, but in the future there could be problems.
As time goes on, your basement walls may start to break down. The average basement can last up to 100 years. Along with that, your basement walls could encounter shifting and other outside pressures over an extended period of time.
The area that your foundation is sitting on (the footer), could be sitting on materials that aren’t secure. Settling can occur due to the heavy weight that is sitting on top if it. Your basement may have been built in an area that has soil that moves.
The coating that is on basement walls can break down as time goes on, causing water to come in contact with the concrete. The water can then lower the strength and durability of the wall. You may start to notice discolorations, water, cracks, or the walls becoming bowed.
Shrinking comes from the curing of concrete. Cracks develop as the concrete shrinks and once a crack is formed, the cracked wall is less stable than the surrounding walls. Pressure from outside of the wall may cause it to bow.
BWhen dealing with bowed or cracked basement walls, there are several different scenarios that can take place. Below are some of the main issues that you may encounter if your basement walls are cracked or bowed.
1. Cracked Block Foundation
When you notice a situation like this, it means that there is lateral pressure on your basement walls.
2. Cracks in Poured Concrete
This is something that may occur about 30 days after the concrete curing process has reached completion.
3. Cracks in Brick Facing
Foundation movement is a serious issue and cracks can be a sign of it. It is best to contact a foundation repair specialist so the cause and future condition of the walls can be determined.
4. Chimney Cracking or Leaning
Most of the time chimneys are built upon footers, any cracking or leaning could be a sign of movement in the footer. Having your foundation specialist look at the cracking or leaning can determine the extent of the problem.
5. Drywall Cracks
Physical damage can take place if your foundation is shifting. Commonly, these cracks can appear around windows, doors, and/or corners.
6. Uneven Doors and Windows
This occurs when your foundation is shifting. Signs of this include windows or doors that are not opening or closing properly.
7. Sinking Foundation
This is a serious issue that should be checked out by your foundation specialist as soon as possible. A sinking foundation occurs when there is a separation that has been created by the building structure and foundation. If not resolved, walls may start to collapse.