How To Measure Basement Walls That Are Bowed or Leaning Inward
Do you have basement walls that have bowed or started to lean inward? If so, it could a sign that your home’s foundation has sustained substantial damage.
The severity of damage to foundation walls will influence the types of repairs available, as well as the cost. Before getting an estimate from a foundation repair company, follow the steps below to calculate how much your walls are bowing or leaning inward, or download the PDF that includes a Record of Measurements so you can track movement over time.
What You’ll Need
- Tape measure
- Pen or pencil (for weight)
- Piece of string
- Nail or screw
- Step 1 - Estimate the point at which the wall being evaluated is bulging inwards the most (left-to-right).
- Step 2 - Measure and record the distance from your ceiling or joists to your floor directly in front of that section of wall. (This can be used as a reference for future measurements.)
- Step 3 - Cut your piece of string at least 3” longer than the distance from your ceiling to your floor. (Note: This creates your plum line, which is a perfectly vertically line with a “weight” at one end.)
- Step 4 - Tie one end of the string around your nail and the other around your pen or pencil.
- Step 5 - Nail your string into the joist nearest the section of wall being measured and let the pen rest on the floor.(Note: Let your string hang down a few inches away from, and without touching the wall.)
Measuring The Wall
- Step 6 - Measure 1” up from the floor to the bottom of the wall and use your chalk to mark the spot with an “X”. (Note: This is used for your base measurement. The bottom of foundation walls rarely move inwards due to the concrete floors often found in basements. It will also ensure consistency in future measurements.)
- Step 7 - Measure the distance from your string to the “X” you marked at the bottom of the wall and record the number. (This is your base measurement.)
- Step 8 - From the floor, measure up to what you estimate is the most inward-bowed section of the wall, use your chalk to mark the spot with an “A” and record the distance from the floor to Point A.
- Step 9 - Measure the distance from your string to Point A and record the number as Measurement A. (Note: You may need to take additional measurements at various heights of the wall to ensure the most inward-bowed section has been found. For each additional measurement, repeat steps 7 and 8 and label each in alphabetical order as they’re being measured; Point B, Point C, etc. This indicates the amount of inward bulge of your wall.)
- Step 10 - Measure the distance from your string to the top of the wall, directly below the sill and record the number. (Note: Using your chalk, mark that spot with an “X” to ensure consistency in future measurements. This is your top measurement, and indicates the inward lean of your wall.)
Calculating The Results
- Step 11 - Subtract Point A from your base measurement and record the number.
- Step 12 - Subtract your top measurement from your base measurement and record the number.
- Step 13 - Repeat step 11 as many times as required to record all measurement points.
Walls that have bowed or leaned inward less than 2 inches can often be repaired in one day, while walls that are bowing or leaning inward more than 2 inches may require multiple types of foundation repair.
If your basement walls are bowing or leaning inward, but you are not having the walls repaired at this time, be sure to keep a record of all measurements and the date(s) you took them.Get Pre-Approved