A bowing basement wall is a serious sign that you need foundation repair. Luckily there are a few ways that basement walls can be repaired, and your foundation problems can be amended. However, the repair method and the type of foundation issue will impact overall costs. Let’s take a look into the specifics of what homeowners can expect when it comes to this foundation repair cost and how to ensure you fix the issue once and for all.
How Much Does it Cost to Repair Bowed Basement Walls?
The bowing basement wall repair costs will vary based on factors like the type of soil around your foundation wall, the severity of the bowing, the repair option you choose, and more. Here are some basic estimates of the cost per foot repair for your bowed basement walls.
|Brace Type||Cost Per Foot|
|Wall Anchors||$80 to $150|
|Steel/Carbon Fiber Straps||$85 to $275|
|Helical Tiebacks||$300 to $360|
|Wall Straightening||$335 to $550|
Average Cost to Repair Bowing Basement Walls
The average cost to repair bowing basement walls is between $75 and $400 per foot. There are several factors involved in this process, and the stabilization of the concrete foundation is a significant factor to consider before the bowing walls can be cosmetically or structurally repaired.
Bracing Cost Breakdown for Bowing Basement Walls
In each area of the country, contractors will offer services for bowing basement walls. Some of these contractors will handle the entire process from start to finish giving you a lump sum price. Others, however, will only handle the labor, and the permitting and structural engineer costs will be additional. It’s essential to understand the different parts of bowing basement wall costs so that you can accurately estimate the total cost of this project.
Code, Permits, and Safety Considerations
As we mentioned, most contractors would put permits and code regulation costs into the total cost for their project. However, you can expect that it will cost several hundred dollars for the permit to complete this project, especially if digging is concerned.
In addition to bowing, if you are seeing horizontal cracks or vertical cracks in the foundation walls, then a more permanent solution or foundation repair is likely necessary. Sometimes bracing the bowing wall won’t be enough.
Inspection and Report from a Structural Engineer
We would not recommend any type of work to a home’s foundation without a structural engineer’s report. There are situations where a simple bowing wall may be a greater sign of a sinking foundation or other large-scale issue. If this is the case, a larger fix may be necessary.
The inspection and report from a structural engineer are likely going to be in the $300 to $1,000 range, depending on your location and the firm that you hire.
Since this process could take a few days to do it correctly, many contractors will charge by the supplies and the day, not by the hour. It would likely not be a good idea to enter into a contract where you were being charged per hour for your bowing basement wall.
Instead, look for the labor costs to be given to you by foot. The helical tiebacks and wall straightening will be your most expensive labor, costing over $500 a foot in some situations.
Materials, Parts, and Components of the Braces
The materials used for your bowing basement wall repair will depend on what type of repair you do. Here are the four most common and the pricing that is associated with each. Remember that in some situations, you won’t have a choice as to which one to use; the condition of the wall will make this decision for you.
Wall Anchors ($80 to $150 per foot)
A wall anchor consists of a steel plate on the inside of your basement wall and one installed on the outside in the ground. There is then a steel shaft that is placed through the wall, and it is tightened to help secure the bowing basement wall.
Wall anchors have an average price between $80 and $150 per foot, and they typically need to be placed every five feet. This type of wall plate is a good solution for those with less than 2 inches of bowing of the basement wall. The national average for installing wall anchors will also vary based on your location and labor costs in the area.
Steel/Carbon Fiber Straps ($85 to $275 per foot)
A foundation repair contractor may also recommend using fiber straps instead of a wall anchor. The straps are made from steel or carbon fiber, and they range from $85 to $275 per foot. These fiber straps are anchored at the top and bottom of the wall and the general recommendation is that they are installed every four feet.
When installing wall anchors and fiber straps, it’s important to consider issues like a foundation leak and basement waterproofing solutions. The entire process of completing this project will likely be more extensive than just installing a strap on the concrete slab.
Helical Tiebacks ($300 to $360 per foot)
The helical tiebacks are used for a bit more of a durable and long-term solution. These helical tiebacks are often used to fix issues where bowing is more than two inches. This is a screw-like shaft drilled through your foundation wall and into the soil on the outside of the home. The helical tiebacks are carefully adjusted and twisted to achieve a certain amount of torque that helps to improve the bowing in the basement walls.
This is a unique process, and the service area is sometimes limited. In addition, the extent of the damage that you already have in place could impact the total cost of this project. It is recommended to install helical tiebacks every five feet to prevent further foundation crack repair costs.
Wall Straightening ($335 to $550 per foot)
Wall straightening seems like it would be the ultimate goal from the start of this project. However, until hydraulic piers, steel rods, support joists, or some other type of repair method is considered, it’s not possible to work on the wall straightening aspect. In fact, in some situations, wall straightening is not even part of this; homeowners simply support the bowing wall and prevent further damage but leave the wall bowed.
With the wall straightening process requiring a bit more labor and the carbon or steel fiber straps installed first, expect the cost to be $335 to $550 per foot. For some homeowners with minor cracks and bowing along an entire foundation wall, these costs can get to the $10,000 range rather quickly.
Wall Painting and Drywall Installation
Sometimes wall painting and drywall installation will be included in the total cost of your project; other times, they are additional. Drywall costs are usually around $2 per square foot, and painting can range from $2 to $8 per square foot.
While you are considering wall painting and drywall installation on the inside, remember that there may be landscaping damage on the outside of the home. If significant digging was done for some of these foundation repair fixes, there could be plants that need to be replaced as well as grass.
Factors to Consider for Bowling Basement Wall Bowing Repairs
Now that you have a more general idea as to how much the bowing basement wall will cost to repair, it’s important to learn the impact that your decisions and situation can make on the total price. There are some things you will have control of, like choosing a certain contractor, and others that you will be a bit more limited on. Here are some of the things to consider.
Type of Bowing Repair Chosen
The type of bowing repair chosen will have a major impact on the cost of the project. Something like helical piers or additional underpinning or mudjacking will significantly increase the cost of the project. The wall anchors are the most affordable solution, but they aren’t secured with epoxy the way carbon straps are to create a more long-term solution.
If you have the choice and want to keep the costs of your home improvement project down, the wall anchors will be the best choice. As a side note, it makes sense to call a contractor about any type of damage or structural problems at the very first sign. If you are not smart about this, the total costs will go up as some of the less expensive options will no longer be an option.
The Deflection of the Bowing
How much is your wall bowing? In most situations, the range is around zero to two inches for a more affordable and easier repair. If the bowing extends beyond the two-inch range and is closer to four inches, expect that your total out-of-pocket costs will be considerably higher.
A structural engineer will also explain to you that there are both inward and outward bowing issues, and each will need to be dealt with uniquely.
Exterior Wall Condition and Accessibility
The condition of your exterior wall will play into this total cost to repair. If the wall is strong and accessible, there should be minimal additional costs. However, in some areas, the soil is more like expansive clay, and access to the foundation walls is complicated. In these situations, it’s essential to expect higher costs.
Size of the Bowed Wall
As you noticed, the majority of bowing basement wall repair costs are calculated as a price per foot. The size of the bowed wall will typically be at least ten feet long, and therefore you can multiply each of those numbers by ten. If the bowing expands one of the large walls of the foundation, expect an even greater out-of-pocket cost.
Costs to Repair Bowing Basement Walls: DIY vs. Professional
With the relatively high costs of repairing a bowing basement wall, you may be tempted to fix the problem on your own. Although we can certainly understand this, it’s a much larger undertaking than most homeowners are ready to take on.
Equipment such as jacks and machines to test hydrostatic pressure are not likely things that you will have lying around the house. We do recommend saving some money on the final steps of this process of installing the drywall and repainting after the fact.
Installation and Repair of the Wall
Save the installation and repair of the wall for the professionals. This is not something that you can put a bandaid on and hope that it will get better. The installation and repair of any bowing basement wall is a major process and will require a professional.
Repainting Basement Walls After the Repair
Painting costs can be between $2 and $7 per square foot. These costs can completely be avoided if you decide to do it yourself. Expect to save a few hundred dollars. If you are short on time and your contractor has done a nice job, compare whether or not it makes sense to have them complete this process.
Drywall is around $2 to $5 per square foot to install. You will need a friend to help you complete this process as someone typically needs to hold the drywall in place while another secures it. It’s important to also consider the tape and spackle costs that will be necessary to get the wall smooth.
Key Takeaways: Bowing Basement Wall Repair Costs
A bowing basement wall is an unfortunate problem to have and one that will likely cost you several thousand dollars to fix. The key takeaway here is to get in touch with a contractor as soon as possible, as your options will be much more extensive if you have just a few inches in bowing. In addition, you can save a bit of money by completing finished work on your own. Do everything you can to protect your foundation by having a solid drainage system in place that keeps this bowing from starting in the first place.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to fix bowing basement walls?
Two of the best and most affordable ways to fix bowing basement walls are wall anchors and steel or carbon fiber straps. These solutions do not need nearly as much major digging or engineering to fix, but they are typically saved for the less extensive basement wall repairs.
What causes a bowed basement wall?
Bowed basement walls are caused by foundation issues and sometimes even structural damage. One of the most common areas where you will see a bowed basement wall is where water is coming down from the ground level. If you have downspouts that are not pushing water away from the house and instead having it flow towards the house, expect some bowing in the walls.
Should you buy a house with bowing walls?
Buying a house with bowing walls is an option for some, but it won’t pass the home inspection phase. If you purchase a house with bowed walls, try to get the seller to finance some of the costs of the repair. The problem for many homeowners is that the extent of the damage is hard to see until repairs have begun, typically after the deal has closed.
How many inches of bowing in a wall is too much?
Most of the time, bowing beyond four inches is a major issue that could mean a serious foundational repair needs to be completed. Bowing under two inches can be fixed with a more simplified solution.
Can you fix a bowed basement wall without digging?
Yes, a solution like carbon fiber straps does not require digging and can therefore be used to repair the foundation without having to excavate. This makes the straps a popular solution for many homeowners.