Global Manufacturer of Foundation Repair Products

What Causes Shearing Walls?

Graphic illustration of concrete blocks showing foundation shearing.
Shearing occurs when the upper part of a wall moves, but the lowest block stays in place.

Shearing walls indicate an urgent need for foundation repair, but what are shearing walls?

How Does Shearing Occur?

A “shear” is a structural break caused by strain. In basements made of concrete blocks, it’s caused when hydrostatic (water) pressure in the soil puts force on a wall.

A shear is a structural break caused by strain

The pressure moves the blocks inwards. However, the bottom block is often embedded into the flooring concrete. As a result, it’s less moveable than the blocks above it.

When one block doesn’t want to move, but the rest are in motion, the pressure breaks the mortar bond between the bottom block and the one above it.

This results in part of the wall hanging over the bottom block. It also creates stair-step cracks and visible water damage.

How Bad Are Shearing Walls?

If the wall continues to move inward, it could eventually collapse causing serious structural damage.

A shearing foundation wall is a very serious issue and will require a professional to repair. Fixing a shearing wall is not something a homeowner should attempt.

Depending upon the severity of the damage, an expert might recommend procedures such as mudjacking, plate anchors or the installation of helical piers.

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