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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
How to Evaluate and Diagnose Horizontal Foundation Movement by Type & Location of Cracks or Shift in Foundation Walls.Horizontal foundation wall movement may be caused by earth pressure, vehicles driving too close to a building wall, water and frost, and even footing movement or foundation wall creep on hillsides.
We distinguish among vertical movement, horizontal movement, leaning, tipping, bending, differential and uniform settlement, earthquake and storm damage, and other foundation damage patterns. 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.
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Horizontal foundation wall movement includes leaning, tipping, or bulging foundation walls as well as movement of an entire wall in a single direction such as hillside slippage or creep. Knowing just how a foundation wall is moving and just what is causing damage are important in deciding on how to repair the damaged foundation wall and how to prevent further foundation movement. Typical causes of horizontal foundation movement include:
How Soil Pressure vs. Frost & Water Pressure Cause Different Damage to a Foundation Wall
Two Cases Where Frost Heave is Unlikely - Foundations on Bedrock & Well-drained Soils
How Lateral or Horizontal Foundation Pressure Shows Up as Damage
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:
We illustrate horizontal foundation wall movement patterns below.
These articles explain How to Evaluate and Diagnose Horizontal Foundation Movement by Type & Location of Cracks, Bends, Leans, or Shift in Foundation Walls: How to recognize foundation impact damage; How to recognize foundation creep or footing movement
Also see FOUNDATION CRACK EVALUATION for a discussion of the diagnosis of specific crack patterns in masonry foundations, and see FOUNDATION BULGE or LEAN MEASUREMENTS which explains a simple method for determining how much bulge or lean is present in a foundation or wall, then see FOUNDATION MOVEMENT ACTIVE vs. STATIC which helps determine if the foundation movement is ongoing, and see FOUNDATION DAMAGE SEVERITY for a discussion of just how much foundation movement is likely to be a concern.
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. Photographs of types of foundation cracks and other foundation damage: we have a large library of photographs which we're in process of adding to this document. Pending completion of that work, contact the author if assistance is required.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the diagnosis & repair of horizontal foundation movement
Questions & answers or comments about the causes of horizontal foundation movement & the types of crack patterns formed. .
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Technical Reviewers & References
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