Understanding Causes And Risks Associated With Horizontal Cracks

Continue reading to learn about the causes and risks of horizontal cracks

Cracks of different sizes and shapes can appear near the longer sections of the foundation including windows, walls, or floors. Different types of cracks require different repair techniques. Knowing what you are dealing with can help you fix it before the damage becomes worse. This article provides information about horizontal cracks, their causes, and their effects on the foundation.

Horizontal Cracks

  • Horizontal cracks in the foundation are a serious issue as they can cause the foundation to bow inwards and eventually leads to water leaks. These cracks need immediate attention and should be permanently repaired. Poor drainage systems during the rainy season are a threat to the foundation cracks and cause the wall to cave in. Horizontal cracks are more damaging than vertical cracks and affect a home’s structural integrity.

Horizontal cracks can develop in both concrete blocks and poured foundations. Knowing the difference between the cracks that are a cause of concern and the cracks that do not need fixing can save your house and money. Large horizontal cracks are particularly alarming as they can cause the entire structure to crumble down in no time. Horizontal cracks are a sign of foundation problems and need to be inspected by foundation experts right away.

Causes Of Horizontal Cracks

  • The causes of horizontal cracks vary depending on the property’s structure, construction type, and the surrounding location. Sometimes, the failure of an element within the wall or the foundation can lead to the formation of horizontal cracks.

Foundation movements are the major factor behind cracks in brick or concrete walls. Alterations in the soil conditions can cause the foundation soil to shift, thereby leading to wall cracking. The cracks are a safety concern depending on their severity.

Here are the most common causes of horizontal cracks in the basement wall.

Hydrostatic Pressure

  • Build up of excess water in the soil around your foundation can lead to the formation of cracks in the basement wall. When the water is not drained it builds up hydrostatic pressure that starts pushing against the basement wall.

The basement walls cannot stand the constant pressure and therefore cave in and crack. Horizontal cracks in the basement that are caused by hydrostatic pressure often develop halfway between the top of the dirt on the outside of a wall and the bottom of the wall.

Expansion Of The Soil

  • Soils with higher clay content have a greater tendency to absorb moisture. When the enriched clay soil dries out, it contracts and shrinks. As a result, a gradual decrease in soil volume occurs.

This constant expansion and contraction of soil saturated with water exert pressure on the foundation walls. Thus, eventually causing it to bow and crack. Maturing vegetation and trees can also absorb moisture from the soil and cause drying out of the foundation soil.

Freeze And Thaw Cycle

  • horizontal cracksHomes built in cold regions are liable to horizontal foundation cracks because of the freeze and thaw cycle. When soil freezes it expands and pushes against the foundation wall, over time leading to the formation of cracks. The freezing and thawing cycle creates unbalanced pressure which is also responsible for creating a horizontal crack in the wall. Another thing that can lead to crack formation is parking heavy vehicles such as a big trucks next to the home.

Let our experts from Crack-X take a look at your cracked foundation. We include a 10-year, transferrable warranty on most wall crack repairs. Crack-X is a structural repair company located in Maine and New Hampshire. Call us at 877-727-2259 to get started.

Scroll to Top