Bowing & Buckling Foundation Walls In Northwestern PA and Western NY

Identifying & repairing issues related to foundation wall failure

If your foundation walls are bowing, buckling or are showing signs of inward movement, repair work is a necessity. These symptoms are a sign of weakening walls and potentially serious damage.

If you've noticed these problems in your home, Total Foundation Solutions can provide you with a permanent solution. We handle all types of foundation repair problems in Warren, Erie, Edinboro and the nearby areas, and we can solve your problem. Call us today to get a free estimate!

Signs of bowing foundation walls

Foundation walls move inward primarily due to expansive soils and hydrostatic pressure on the walls from outside. However, foundation walls may also crack due to many other outside causes, including foundation settlement. Our foundation experts will accurately identify the cause of your home's foundation problems.

  • Horizontal or stair-step cracking along the foundation walls
  • Diagonal cracking at corners of poured concrete foundation walls
  • Inward bowing or bulging along the walls
  • Walls sliding inwards on the bottom
  • Walls leaning in at the top
  • Wet, clay soils around the home coupled with damaged walls
  • Expansive clay soils present around the structure

Below are images of several foundations that are showing damage from hydrostatic pressure and expansive soils outside the structure.

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Wall anchors can repair many bowing wall problems, including those that cause cracks, inward bulging and sliding.

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How we can fix it:

Install Total Foundation Solutions's Geo-Lock™ Wall Anchors along the bowing walls, and use the system's clamping pressure to stabilize and restore the wall. When space issues prohibit wall anchor installation, we recommend installing the PowerBrace™ Wall System or CarbonArmor® Wall Reinforcing System.

Soil anchors are placed in the ground outside the home. Steel rods attached to soil anchors extend through the foundation wall and wall plates. Wall plates distribute clamping pressure. Tightening nuts on the threaded ends of the rods stabilizes the wall for a permanent solution.

What causes cracked & bowing foundation walls?

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These two clay samples started out exactly the same in size, weight, and composition. The sample on the right was allowed to dry out, while the one on the left we kept moist.

If a small sample of clay can gain this much volume when it gets wet, just imagine how dramatic the changes are in the soil around your home!

The soils around your home can put enormous pressure on foundation walls. The amount of pressure they exert depends on four factors:

  1. The type of soil around the foundation
  2. The amount of moisture in the soil
  3. How far underground the foundation is
  4. The temperature conditions

There's constant pressure on your foundation walls from the outside, but the only thing holding up your foundation wall is the wall itself. Hydrostatic pressure, expansive clay soil, and frost can all exert enough pressure to cause walls to lean or even collapse.

Gutters and downspouts can also contribute significantly to foundation wall problems by allowing large volumes of water to collect in the soil around your structure.

If roof runoff is not directed away from your foundation, the soil around the foundation will become heavier and more expansive as it's saturated with water.

Installing foundation wall anchors

At Total Foundation Solutions, we recommend the Geo-Lock™ Wall Anchor System to stabilize failing foundation walls. Our contractors follow these six steps when installing our warrantied wall anchor system:

Warrantied Wall Anchor System Installation Steps

1) Digging holes for the earth anchors
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Before the installation, earth anchor locations will be determined to maximize system effectiveness. When the foundation contractors arrive, their proposal will show the location of each earth anchor in the yard outside your house.

At the beginning of each earth anchor installation, sod is carefully removed from your lawn and placed aside for later. A sheet is laid down to help protect your lawn and landscaping, and an earth anchor hole is made using a power auger.

2) Preparing the foundation wall
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Once the hole has been excavated, we will core a small hole through your basement wall. Then, a steel anchor rod will be driven through the wall and soil, extending through a hole in the center of the earth anchor.

One way our wall anchor system is superior to other methods is that the hole created in the foundation wall is very small - 1" in diameter. Other methods may require a large hole or section of concrete block to be removed during installation.

3) Attaching the earth anchor
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After securing the end of each anchor rod to its earth anchor, these assemblies are buried in the ground, using soil removed earlier. To resist corrosion damage, each of our earth anchor systems is designed with galvanized steel.

Each of the Geo-Lock™ Earth Anchors we install includes a 25-year warranty against manufacturing defects, as well as our own in-house quality and performance warranty.

4) Mounting the wall plate
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Once the earth anchors have been installed, our foundation repair experts will mount a wall plate over each anchor rod end that protrudes from the basement wall. Screwing a large nut to the threaded end of the anchor rod secures each wall plate and stabilizes the wall as the nut is tightened.

If your wall anchors are being installed in a finished basement, be sure to ask us about our Hide-A-Way® Wall Anchor Covers, which will help you conveniently conceal your wall anchor access points.

5) Restoring the landscaping
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At Total Foundation Solutions, we take pride in leaving each job clean, neat, and free of damage to existing landscaping. As part of our cleanup process, we fill holes completely with dirt saved earlier and tamp filled areas to ensure that depressed areas will not be created as the soils settle over time.

We will also replace all sod, carefully grooming it with a rake to help it to blend in with surrounding grass for a seamless landscaping restoration.

When foundation wall anchors won't work

In some cases, a wall anchor system can't be used to repair a bowing wall because the yard outside the house isn't accessible. When we at Total Foundation Solutions encounter this kind of problem, we suggest that you install our PowerBrace™ Foundation Wall System or CarbonArmor® Wall Reinforcing System.

The PowerBrace™ System

The PowerBrace™ is a patented foundation wall repair system designed to stabilize failing basement walls and also allow for potential straightening over time. This product is a great option when access to the yard outside of the home is not possible and bowing, buckling wall problems need to be solved.

The PowerBrace™ is an I-beam system that has several advantages over traditional "old school" systems. This includes its rust-resistant zinc coating and a design that makes it possible not only to stabilize bowing walls, but also to straighten these walls over a period of time. Installation of a PowerBrace™ system can be conducted quickly in your home, with no disruption to your lawn, gardens, foliage, or other landscaping.

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Saving a wall with the PowerBrace™ system. This innovative system stabilizes bowing walls and can even straighten walls over time.

CarbonArmor® stabilizes cracked & bowing foundation walls with high-tech carbon fiber

When soil pressure causes a foundation wall to bow inward and crack, one solution is to stabilize and strengthen the wall using CarbonArmor® bracing technology. The CarbonArmor® Wall Reinforcing System relies on the exceptional strength of carbon fiber fabric – 10 times stronger than steel.

Concrete is strong in compression, enabling a foundation wall to withstand extreme downward pressure. But concrete is weak in tension. A foundation wall can't stretch or bend in response to sideways soil pressure, so cracking and bowing problems sometimes develop.

When installed against a foundation wall with special structural epoxy, CarbonArmor® fabric is exceptionally strong in tension. This reinforcement treatment enables a cracked or bowed foundation to withstand soil pressure without sustaining further damage. CarbonArmor® repairs can be made quickly and affordably, and this low-profile repair is easily hidden with a coat of paint.

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Strips add strength. When epoxied to the foundation wall, strips of carbon fiber fabric provide reinforcement that's 10 times stronger than steel.

Looking for foundation wall repair experts in Pennsylvania and New York?

At Total Foundation Solutions, we're proud to provide warrantied solutions that will permanently solve issues with bowing, buckling foundation walls. We provide free, no-obligation foundation wall repair estimates to homeowners throughout our Pennsylvania and New York service area. Each estimate is made in person, on site, and is presented in writing.

Our service area includes Warren, Erie, Edinboro, Fredonia, Meadville, Olean, Jamestown, Harborcreek, Hermitage, Du Bois and throughout the surrounding areas. Call or e-mail us today!