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STRUCTURAL INSPECTIONS & DEFECTS
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
BRICK FOUNDATIONS & WALLS
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
COLD POUR JOINTS, CONCRETE
COLUMNS & POSTS, DEFECTS
DISASTER BUILDING INSPECTION & REPAIR
EARTHQUAKE DAMAGED FOUNDATIONS
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOOD DAMAGE TO FOUNDATIONS
FOOTING & FOUNDATION DRAINS
FOOTINGS EXPOSED, Repair Methods
FOUNDATION BULGE or LEAN MEASUREMENTS
FOUNDATION CONSTRUCTION TYPES
FOUNDATION CONTRACTORS, ENGINEERS
FOUNDATION CRACKS & DAMAGE GUIDE
FRAMING DAMAGE, INSPECTION, REPAIR
GRADING, DRAINAGE & SITE WORK
GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS
INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE
MOBILE HOMES, DOUBLEWIDES, TRAILERS
MODULAR HOME CONSTRUCTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
RETAINING WALL DESIGNS, TYPES, DAMAGE
RETAINING WALL GUARD RAILINGS
STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION
STRUCTURAL DAMAGE PROBING
STRUCTURAL WOOD ASSESSMENT
THERMAL EXPANSION of MATERIALS
TIMBER FRAMING, ROT
WATER BARRIERS, EXTERIOR BUILDING
WATER ENTRY in BUILDINGS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Types of foundation movement: this article discusses how to evaluate and diagnose foundation cracks and movement classified by the type of movement that is occurring: horizontal movement, vertical movement, bulging or bowing walls, leaning or tipping foundation walls, and other forms of foundation settlement or heaving.
This chapter of the "Foundation Crack Bible" discusses in detail the recognition of different types and causes of building foundation movement and foundation damage. We distinguish among vertical movement, horizontal movement, leaning, tipping, bending, differential and uniform settlement, earthquake and storm damage, and other foundation damage patterns.
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This article series describes how to recognize and diagnose various types of foundation failure or damage, such as foundation cracks, masonry foundation crack patterns, and moving, leaning, bulging, or bowing building foundation walls. To be used properly, this information must be combined with specific on-site observations at the particular building in order to form a reliable opinion about the condition of that building's foundation.
Anyone having concern regarding the structural stability, safety, or damage of a building, foundation or other components, should consult a qualified expert.
Detailed articles on types of foundation movement are listed just below. The sketch is courtesy Carson Dunlop Associates
Strategy for Building Foundation or Floor or Slab Crack, Damage, or Movement Assessment
To understand the cause, effect, and remedy for all types of building foundation or masonry wall damage or movement we have categorized foundation damage into these broad categories:
Vertical movement in foundations, in the most general cases, is caused by downwards movement of the wall or wall footings such as when a wall footing sinks in soft soil, or by an up and down movement of the wall or wall footings such as when a wall is disturbed by frost in a freezing climate or by expansive clay soils which expand or shrink as their water content increases or decreases.
Horizontal movement in building foundations or walls is generally caused by an external lateral or "sideways" force applied to some portion of the wall. Depending on the construction materials used and the strength of a foundation wall, a force applied to the wall can cause it to move in any of several ways which we discuss in detail at HORIZONTAL MOVEMENT IN FOUNDATIONS.
We discuss the inspection and analysis of foundation damage which shows a combination of different movement directions, forces, or crack patterns in detail at COMBINATIONS OF FOUNDATION MOVEMENT including the following examples of combination foundation damage:
How to distinguish between a "bulged" foundation wall and a "leaning" foundation wall, and why we care
Understanding the location and pattern of foundation wall cracking or movement may help us diagnose its cause and thus may help us understand what actions are needed to stop further foundation movement. We discuss how and why we make this distinction between bulging and leaning foundations in detail at BULGED vs. LEANING FOUNDATIONS.
Even a concrete wall which is bulged is likely to be cracked horizontally, though perhaps not in such a straight line.
But a bulged reinforced concrete wall would be very rare unless perhaps the concrete wall bulged, or its forms bulged, during the time that the concrete was being poured and was still wet. It's more likely that a reinforced concrete wall will be caused to lean or to shift horizontally while a masonry unit wall or stone wall is likely to be bulged and cracked by the same external forces.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the detection of foundation movement
Questions & answers or comments about diagnosing different types of foundation movement: settlement, heaving, leaning, bulging, bowing, vertical or horizontal shifting.
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Technical Reviewers & References
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