What Do Horizontal Cracks Mean?

Have you noticed horizontal cracks in your home’s foundation?

Do you want to learn everything you can about what they may mean? As long as they appear on the exterior of your foundation, they’re usually nothing to be too concerned about and can be fixed easily.

Before you start any home foundation repair projects, you should learn all you can about what horizontal foundation cracks mean. Know how they may affect the integrity of your home. Knowing the signs can help you prepare before needing a repair.

Read on to learn more about the horizontal cracks you discovered and what they mean for your home.

horizontal crack

Understanding Horizontal Foundation Cracks

Horizontal foundation cracks are a common sign of foundation damage. These cracks can range from hairline cracks to cracks of up to several inches wide and from imperceptible to severe. They often extend across the entire length and width of the wall.

Although some horizontal cracks may not be a major structural concern, others can signal the need for professional repair. Regular checks of foundation walls can allow for the early detection of any cracks.

Homeowners can take steps to repair the cracks before they worsen. Financial damages and worse can be incurred if the foundation isn’t properly repaired.

Prevention is key to minimizing the damage in the long run. It’s best to contact qualified structural repair contractors to perform a thorough inspection and get the proper repair. Proper knowledge and understanding of how to detect horizontal foundation cracks is the first step.

Knowing the Causes of Cracks

Cracking foundation is caused by several different factors. These cracks can cause serious damage to the foundation over time, leading to costly repairs. Below are the main causes of cracks:

Cracks in bricks

Impact of Soil Type on Cracking

Different soil types have variable properties that can have an impact on how much movement the soils cause on the foundation walls. For instance, soils with high clay content allow much more water absorption than sand. This can cause soil heaving and can create pressure on the foundation walls that leads to horizontal cracks.

Unusual Activity

Horizontal foundation cracks can be caused by a variety of unusual activities taking place on or near the property.  Poor construction techniques will often result in shifting foundations, which can cause horizontal cracks to appear. In rare cases, earthquake activity or sinkholes can cause cracks in the foundation.

Horizontal cracks from a sinkhole

Excess Moisture

Excess moisture is a common cause of horizontal foundation cracks. Moisture can come from poor drainage systems, leaking water pipes, inadequate waterproofing, and high humidity. All of these factors can cause the soil to become saturated, forcing water into the foundation and resulting in a horizontal crack.

Avoiding Cracks

It is possible to prevent horizontal foundation cracks from occurring in a home or building. To begin, ensure the soil around the property is properly compacted prior to construction. During construction, ensure all weight-bearing posts and footings are strong and properly supported.

Inspect gutters and downspouts at least once a year to ensure they are draining properly away from the foundation. Lastly, any moisture issues should be addressed quickly to prevent moisture from pooling near the foundation.

Have a Qualified Inspection Expert Today

Overall, horizontal foundation cracks can be a troubling sign of significant structural damage. It is always best to have a qualified inspection expert inspect for damage and offer a repair and maintenance plan.

Don’t put off taking care of your home. Act now to ensure the integrity of your home for years to come.

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