Causes of Wall Failure

Causes of Wall Failure - Image 1


It may sound shocking, but the soil around your home puts a lot of pressure on your foundation walls. The amount of pressure varies depending on the type of soil around the home, the amount of moisture in the soil and how deep the foundation is under the ground. When you think about it, there is nothing on the inside of the basement walls pushing back to counter that pressure.

 The reasons for wall failure vary from home to home, the most common are these:


Expansive Clay Soil:

Clay expands and contracts as the amount of moisture in the ground increases and decreases. Whenever you see dirt that’s dried and cracked, that’s happened because clay soil shrinks when it’s dry. When it’s wet, it expands. As clay soil expands, it puts a lot of pressure on your foundation walls, when the pressure becomes more than your wall can handle, the wall will begin to push inward.


In places with colder climates, like Canada, frost can put pressure on a wall and cause it to fail especially if the basement is unheated. Frost forces can be so powerful that they lift shallow foundations up out of the ground, causing significant damage to your home.

Hydrostatic Pressure:

Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure exerted by a fluid due to the force of gravity. Simply put, as water saturates the backfill soils around your foundation, the water exerts pressure against your walls.


So if your walls are bowing inwards and you're not sure of the root cause, it's best to have a professional take a look. This way, you will know exactly WHAT is causing your walls to bow, and you will know which solutions are best suited for your home.


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