Many homes in Knoxville, TN are in need of basement waterproofing and foundation repair. The amount of rainfall East Tennessee receives puts a major amount of water around the foundation of basements and crawl spaces which may create cracked or bowing walls. Wet basements and wet crawl spaces can cause problems like mold, wood rot and are a major attraction for termites. Another problem wet basements and crawl spaces face are bowing walls. Fixing a bowing wall in a basement or crawl space is a great investment to ensure further foundation problems won't occur.

What Causes Bowing Walls?

There can be many causes to a bowing wall. Hydro-static pressure from the surrounding soil and water intrusion seem to be the most common causes of bowing walls in Knoxville and the surrounding counties. Knoxville is full of clay and water does not move through clay soil easily. When it rains gutters and downspouts along with improper sloping of areas around the foundation will pool water. All that pooled water is trying to leach into the soil. Over time the foundation drains become clogged so they won't move water away as intended. All this leads to the path of least resistance, your basement wall. Many homes in East Tennessee are built with cinder block walls. It is much easier for water to travel through cinder block and into your basement or crawl space than clay soil.

Hydro-static pressure is worse in a tall basement or crawl space wall. The taller the stem wall the more water pressure in the soil. The water will push into your basement. Outside footer drains are many times placed on top of the footer. They should be installed beside the footer. Since the footer is made of concrete a properly installed footer drain uses the concrete footer to keep water around the pipe. If the footer drain is placed on a footer. The surrounding cinder block allows water into the open air cavities of the block. Water will make its way into your basement or crawl space.

French Drains

French drains divert water around the home. Installing them correctly is a great way to keep your basement and crawl space dry. Poor installation of a french drain can magnify the problem and waste money. French drains are also placed inside basements and crawl spaces. If you are looking at a french drain system always make sure it is flowing down hill. I know that seems like a dumb thing to say but I've seen them flowing uphill.


Installing an interior waterproofing system may help prevent bowing walls. The No Water Basement Waterproofing System moves water from the foundation. Hydro-static pressure is a contributor to bowing walls and other foundation problems. Eliminating the water pressure eliminates the risk of a flooded basement or crawl space.

How to Stop Bowing Basement Walls

There are many products available that can help you correct a bowing basement wall. One of the products we use for a bowing wall is the Reinforcer. The Reinforcer is an economical way to address bowing walls that are not in need of more extreme measures of correction. The Reinforcer is a Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) made of carbon fibers. It in an epoxy resin matrix specifically designed for strengthening and repairing concrete, masonry walls and foundations.

How does The Reinforcer work to keep basement walls from cracking?

When THE REINFORCER is applied to foundation walls it counteracts further wall buckling from outside pressure on the wall. Taking the tension force (or tensile load) that the basement wall cannot.

For every increase in pressure on the foundation wall, THE REINFORCER supplies an equal and opposite resistant force. This makes the wall stronger. It helps repair expanding, buckling, bowing, and cracking walls. Carbon fiber is great to strengthen walls.

Benefits of the Reinforcer

  • NO HEAVY EQUIPMENT - The Reinforcer is a patented state-of-the-art system developed by professional engineers. A combination of space-age polymers and carbon fibers have been processed into a material that is virtually impossible to stretch. It is a perfect material to use to repair basement foundation walls to resist outside pressure that cause basement foundation cracks and wall buckling.
  • NO MESSY CONCRETE - You no longer need invasive measures (such as breaking through concrete floors or making structural changes to floor joists) to stabilize foundation walls. THE REINFORCER foundation reinforcement is simply applied directly to existing walls. You no longer have to worry about the look of boxy, ugly steel beam reinforcement. This makes basement finishing much easier by providing a smooth structure for the interior walls.
  • NO INVASIVE MEASURES - THE REINFORCER carbon fiber repair brace has a tensile strength that has proven to be eight to ten times stronger than steel AND works on concrete block or poured concrete to secure and repair cracking, bowing or buckling foundation walls.

About Michael Church

Michael Church has been involved with indoor air quality since 2005 and feels the unhealthy crawl space is one of the major problems causing poor indoor air quality.

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