Serving Greater Pittsburgh, Cranberry Township, McKeesport, Bethel Park

Bowing Walls

Bowing & Buckling Foundation Walls In Greater Pittsburgh

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, Keystone Basement Systems can provide you with a permanent solution. We handle all types of foundation repair problems in Pittsburgh, Cranberry Township, McKeesport 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.

(Click each photo to enlarge.)

A cracked foundation wall near a window in a Glenshaw home Foundation wall separating from the floor in Greensburg home A buckling foundation wall in a White home. Rusted, corroded i-beams found with a failing foundation in a Saint Clairsville home.
A diagonal stair-step crack found along a foundation wall in a Steubenville home A diagonal stair step crack along the foundation wall of a Fairmont home A foundation showing severe inward buckling along the windows in a Johnstown home. Severe foundation damage from a long crack in a bucking wall of a West Mifflin home.

How we can fix it:

Keystone Basement Systems recommends installing the PowerBrace™ Wall System or CarbonArmor® Wall Reinforcing System.

  • CarbonArmor® Wall Reinforcing System: A state-of-the-art solution for bowing and cracking foundation walls. Using the same technology the Army Corps of Engineers developed to reinforce bomb shelters, skyscrapers, and bridges, we use CarbonArmor┬« to stabilize your basement walls.
  • PowerBrace™ Wall System: This system consists of steel I-beams that are secured to the joists above the wall with steel brackets. It is easily adjustable, allowing for tightening of the brace to attempt to raise the wall back to its original position. This system doesn't involve any exterior excavation and installs quickly with minimal disruption to your basement space.
  • What causes cracked & bowing foundation walls?

    wet and dry clay soil samples, with the dry one shrunken and cracked

    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.

    The PowerBrace™ System

    Graphic render of an installed i-beam system home.

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

    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.

    CarbonArmor® stabilizes cracked & bowing foundation walls

    CarbonArmor® carbon fiber foundation wall reinforcement

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

    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.

    Looking for foundation wall repair experts in Western PA, Northern West Virginia, and Eastern Ohio?

    At Keystone Basement Systems, 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 Western PA, Northern West Virginia, and Eastern Ohio service area. Each estimate is made in person, on site, and is presented in writing.

    Our service area includes Pittsburgh, Cranberry Township, McKeesport, Bethel Park, Morgantown, Monroeville, Wheeling, Gibsonia, Allison Park, New Castle and throughout the surrounding areas. Call or e-mail us today!

    Looking for a price? Get a no cost, no obligation free estimate.

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Keystone Basement Systems
205 31st St
McKeesport, PA 15132
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