Basements can have a myriad number of problems but leaking is the most prevalent and bowed walls would be right up there on the list. To protect your most valuable asset get professional help! Call a contractor!
A leak in a basement can be caused by a number of issues such as having a negative grade toward your house where the dirt and grass slant down toward the foundation. In heavy rain the water will naturally seek the lowest point and will run in your basement if you have a negative grade. Clearly this is rather easy to correct by changing the grade next to your house so that you have a slight hill going up to your basement which is then seeded with grass.
A leak in a basement can also be traced to gutters that are not correctly attached, cleaned or positioned to force water away from the house. You should clean your gutters at least twice a year, once in the spring and then again in the fall. You want them to be free of debris so water will travel easily down to the downspouts and then channeled away from the house by at least several feet. Some gutters have screen covers on them to keep stuff out of the actual gutters and this is an option as well. However you have to be certain that the debris caught in the screen coverings is cleared away too as nothing makes for better potting soil for tree seeds. Before you know it you will have dozens of young saplings growing straight up from the screen material.
Leaks in a basement can wreck havoc on your basement from destroying drywall to carpeting, causing masonry material to deteriorate into sand that falls on the floor. Any time you have a leaky basement you should attend to it immediately in order to protect your most valuable asset, your home.
If you have bowed basement walls you have a major cause for concern. Bowed basement walls typically mean that water is pushing in from the outside of your home and that the pressure is tremendous enough to actually move the basement walls. This is a problem you should call a contractor or two about immediately; do some research and get on the ball on this one.
If you have ever seen homes affected by floods, flood water has such pressure against exterior walls that the pressure can actually push in the basement walls and cause them to collapse. Having such a repair done can be upwards of $12,000 to $15,000 when the whole wall has to be rebuilt.
When you have bowed basement walls, the walls appear to be moving and have not yet collapsed in, there are methods of putting up steel I-beams against the walls, holding them in against giant screw and plate systems. Typically in a basement where the walls have begun to bow, you want to get to this job right away to stop any movement of the walls that is currently happening. The contractors put these in at about 4′ to 6′ intervals so you may need half a dozen or more of them in your basement. The cost on these systems runs from a low of about $6000 on up depending on the severity of the bowing. These I-beams act as foundation reinforcement as well because after they are installed there should be no movement in the walls.
Basements are a serious issue and should be taken as such in your home. Call a good contractor for opinions on what you should do to correct any problems you may have in your basement. In the long-run the advice of a professional could save you thousands of dollars to say nothing of the worry and stress.