Can the bowing in this foundation wall really be fixed with a brace?

We had a home inspection done on a 1924 house. Inspector noticed the foundation wall is bowed in. I want to say it’s bowed in <2", though it’s not written in the report and the pictures are unfortunately not that great. The inspector told us he wasn’t too concerned with this finding in such a old home - because it’s old, it’s probably been this way for a long time, so, he doesn’t consider it a “major” problem.

In the report, the inspector only suggested getting a foundation specialist’s input. My husband is concerned these companies are scammy/will try to sell an expensive solutions. As an alternative, I wanted to get a structural engineer’s assessment. However, my husband thinks this is going to cost the same as the solution itself. He is essentially trusting the inspector’s opinion.

This was not disclosed by the seller, and I suspect they knew about it. For one, they have a small, lighted wood working station 6 inches away from this wall. Secondly, they finished part of the basement themselves, and they put up a new wall (the “tv lounge”) instead of finishing this one. This portion with the bowing/cracking is also painted white while the rest of the wall, which isn’t visibly bowing, is not.

The inspector identified an issue and provided his recommendation. Do some research on local foundation contractors and read their reviews.

Foundation contractors may have a structural engineer on staff to evaluate and design a repair.
An independent structural engineer can evaluate and design a repair as well but you will still need a foundation contractor.

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Can the bowing in this foundation wall really be fixed with a brace?

Can a broken leg be fixed with a band-aid?

Depending on where you are located, a structural engineer’s site visit and report would probably be a few hundred bucks.

Same as above contact a few and get an order of magnitude on the cost before having them out.


You should be able to get a structural engineer to inspect the foundation for $500 or less. Foundation repair companies will try and talk you into strengthening all four walls by installing wall braces every 5 to 6 foot at $800 to $1000 per brace. The structural engineer doesn’t have a dog in this fight and would only suggest repairs where needed. I would not trust a structural engineer that works for the repair company.


UPDATE: As part of negotiations, our real estate agent tried to see if the seller would be willing to fix the issue. Unfortunately there aren’t any reputable foundation companies available, at least not for the non-homeowners. The current homeowner’s counteroffer is to provide a letter from a foundation company saying the wall is stable.

I called around, and found a structural engineer who is able to come by for $250. We’re still waiting on results for a different issue, so if the the results for that, I’ll definitely get his opinion before proceeding.

Thanks all!

So, what are you going to do if you purchase the home? Live with the problem?