Does Your Home Have Bowing Foundation Walls?
Unfortunately, our South Eastern Michigan and Detroit basements are very prone to water damage, as the whole Great Lakes Region is surrounded by water. For those of us with cinder block foundations, ground water can be especially troubling. With more potential weak points in the wall (mortar joints), you have a greater chance of having bowing foundation walls.
Bowing foundation walls are a serious structural issue that should not be ignored. Having said that, there is a simple way that you can measure your walls to make sure their structural integrity is not being compromised.
How to Measure Bowing Foundation Walls
What you’re going to want to do is measure the distance between the farthest part that’s bowed out, and the bottom of the wall (where the wall meets the floor). To do this you will need to purchase or construct a “plumb bob.” You can either buy one at your local hardware store for about $10 bucks, or make your own by tying string to a quarter.
Note: Make sure the string will reach from the bowed area, all the way to the bottom of the wall.
What you’re going to want to do his hold the top of the string firmly against the farthest part of the bow, while allowing the weight to gradually rest vertically, about 1/4″ above the floor. Once the weight is completely still, mark that spot on the floor.
Next, simply measure the space between your mark and the wall. Generally, anything greater than 1/2″-1″ bow may require an inspection by a foundation professional. Anything over 2″ or 3″ may indicate a serious structural problem, and may require the advice of a structural engineer in addition to a foundation professional.
In either case, don’t wait until it’s too late, take a look at your basement or crawl space foundations today!