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Is Winter Causing Bowing Walls?

bow and arrow bowing wall

What are bowing walls?

Before we dive into what winter can do to cause bowing walls, what does “bowing wall” mean?

Imagine an archery bow. These have a slight curve to them, then the further you pull the chord, the more curve the bow gets. This is the same concept with a bowing wall.

When pressure is put on the wall from the ground around it, the walls start to get a curve, this curve is what is referred to as a bowing wall. The more pressure, the more the wall will bow. The wall will proceed to bow until one of two things happens.

The wall can only bend so much until it breaks. You do not want this to occur. The two things that could happen is 1) you repair your bowing walls or 2) the wall will cave in. 

Is winter causing my walls to bow? 

The general cause of bowing walls is excess pressure from the soil surrounding your foundation. This is especially common throughout seasonal weather changes.

The transition from Fall to Winter is a particularly rough time on your foundation. In a lot of areas throughout the US, Fall can be very rainy and wet. Then, when winter comes, the temperature drops and the ground freezes. This causes the water within the ground to freeze.

What happens when water freezes? If you don’t already know, when water freezes, it expands. This expansion causes pressure on the soil around it.

how to tell if your walls are bowing

How can I tell if my basement walls are bowing?

Some foundations issues are very obvious. You can see large cracks, but what about a bowing wall?

Not every bowing wall gets to the point where you can for sure tell. A good way to check is to get anything with a stiff straight edge, like a ruler, and place it against your way.

It’s important to get an object that won’t bend with your wall. If your straight edge aligns with the wall, then you are good.

If the straight edge comes out from the wall, like in the image, this is a sign that your walls are starting to bow.

If this is occurring in your home or business, it is important to contact a contractor today to have a professional evaluate your foundation damage being caused by bowing walls. 

Contact a contractor today!

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