How Serious Are Horizontal Foundation Cracks?
There are many things that can go wrong with a home, and one of the most serious problems is when the foundation starts to crack. If you’re seeing horizontal foundation cracks in your home, it’s important to take action right away.
In this guide, we will discuss what causes horizontal foundation cracks, and how serious they are. We will also provide tips on how to fix them.
What are Horizontal Foundation Cracks?
Horizontal foundation cracks are cracks that run parallel to the ground. They can be caused by a number of things, and can be very serious.
This is because horizontal foundation cracks can indicate that the foundation is shifting or settling. If you’re seeing horizontal foundation cracks in your home, it’s important to take action right away.
How Serious are Horizontal Foundation Cracks?
Horizontal cracks can be extremely serious. They can indicate that the foundation is shifting or settling, which can lead to a number of problems.
Some of these problems include:
Damage to the home's structure
When the foundation starts to shift or settle, it can cause damage to the home’s structure. This includes the walls, roof, and windows.
Poor home appearance
A home with horizontal foundation cracks can look very unappealing. It can make the home difficult to sell or rent.
This is the most serious consequence of horizontal foundation cracks. If the foundation continues to shift or settle, it can lead to structural failure, and the home could collapse.
Misalignment of doors and windows
Horizontal foundation cracks can also cause doors and windows to become misaligned. This can be very costly to fix.
Water can seep into the home through the cracks in the foundation. This can cause damage to the home’s interior, and lead to mold growth.
So, if you’re seeing horizontal foundation cracks in your home, it’s important to take action right away. The sooner you address the issue, the less damage it will cause.
What Causes Horizontal Foundation Cracks?
There can be a number of causes for horizontal foundation cracks, but the most common is settlement or shifting of the foundation. One factor is the type of home foundation you have. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as:
Poor soil conditions
Poor soil conditions in the home can cause horizontal foundation cracks. If your home is resting on expansive clay soils, for example, they will shrink and swell as the moisture content changes, putting stress on the foundation walls.
Settlement of the home over time can also cause these types of cracks. When the soil supporting a foundation dries out, it can shrink and pull away from the foundation, which can then lead to cracking.
If there are large rocks or boulders near the foundation, they can put pressure on the walls and cause cracks. This is particularly common in rural areas, where the bedrock is close to the surface.
Trees planted too close to a home can also cause foundation damage. The roots of the tree can grow under the foundation and push it up, or they can wrap around and strangle the foundation walls.
Improper construction techniques can also lead to horizontal foundation cracks. If the footings or foundations are not properly compacted, for example, they can settle and cause the walls to crack.
Excessive weight on the foundation
Excessive weight on the foundation, such as from a large addition or a heavy roof, can also cause cracks.
Concrete shrinkage cracks can also cause horizontal foundation cracks. When concrete dries, it contracts slightly, which can put stress on the foundation walls.
Foundation cracks can be caused by many different things, but most of them are due to problems with the soil. Poor soil conditions, settlement of the home over time, rocks near the foundation, or even trees being planted too close can all cause damage to your foundation, so it’s important to be aware of all these factors.
How to Fix Horizontal Foundation Cracks
If you have noticed horizontal foundation cracks in your home, it is important to determine how serious they are, and take appropriate action. In most cases, these foundation cracks can be repaired without too much trouble, but if they are left untreated, they could lead to more significant damage.
Here are some steps to take to fix horizontal foundation cracks:
Identify the source of the problem
The first step is to identify the source of the problem. This can be done by inspecting the cracks, and looking for any signs of water infiltration. Once you have identified the source, you can take steps to fix it.
Clean and dry the area
Once you have identified and fixed the source of the problem, you need to clean and dry the area. This will help ensure that the repair is effective.
Apply a sealant
After cleaning and drying the area, you can apply a sealant to the cracks. This will help prevent water infiltration, and will protect the foundation from further damage.
If you have horizontal foundation cracks, it is important to take steps to fix them as soon as possible. Ignoring the problem could lead to more significant damage down the road. If you are not comfortable with tackling the repairs on your own, however, you can always contact a professional for assistance.
How Big Can a Horizontal Foundation Crack Be Before it is Considered Bad?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as the seriousness of a horizontal foundation crack will depend on a variety of factors.
However, in general, if a horizontal foundation crack is wider than ¼ inch, it should be addressed as soon as possible. Wider cracks can lead to water infiltration and structural damage.
How Do You Know if a Horizontal Foundation Crack is Serious?
If the crack is more than a quarter-inch wide, it is likely that the foundation has shifted and should be repaired.
If the crack is growing, it is also likely that the foundation needs to be fixed. However, even if a horizontal foundation crack is not serious, it should still be repaired to prevent future water damage and further erosion of the soil.
How to Prevent Horizontal Foundation Cracks
Horizontal foundation cracks can be a major problem for your home. Not only are they unsightly, they can also lead to water infiltration and structural damage. If you notice horizontal foundation cracks in your home, it’s important to take action to prevent them from getting worse.
Here are a few tips on how to prevent horizontal foundation cracks:
If you’re having trouble preventing horizontal foundation cracks, it may be time to call in a professional. A qualified contractor can assess the condition of your foundation and offer solutions to prevent further damage.
Which is Worse: Vertical Cracks or Horizontal Cracks?
The severity of foundation wall cracks is usually determined by how deep and wide the crack is. However, the direction of the crack can also be a factor in determining how serious it is.
Horizontal foundation cracks are typically considered more serious than vertical cracks, although this isn’t always the case.
Types of Foundation Cracks
There are three main types of foundation cracks: vertical, horizontal, and diagonal.
Vertical foundation cracks
Vertical foundation cracks are the most common type of crack, and are usually caused by the settlement or movement of the foundation.
Horizontal foundation cracks
Horizontal foundation cracks are less common than vertical cracks, but they can be a sign of a more serious problem. Horizontal foundation cracks can be caused by water infiltration, soil instability, or structural damage.
Diagonal foundation cracks
Diagonal foundation cracks are the least common type of crack and are usually caused by structural damage or settling of the foundation.
If you’re not sure what type of foundation crack you have, it’s best to consult a professional. A contractor can help determine the cause of the crack, and offer solutions for repairing it. It could also be serious if you see ceiling cracks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do hairline cracks and diagonal cracks mean the same thing?
No, hairline cracks and diagonal cracks are two different types of foundation cracks. Hairline cracks are very thin, and typically not a cause for concern. Diagonal cracks, however, occur when the foundation shifts and can be a sign of more serious damage.
Should I worry about a small horizontal crack?
No, a small horizontal crack is typically not a cause for concern. However, it’s still important to have it repaired to prevent further damage.
When should I be concerned about foundation cracks?
You should be concerned about foundation cracks when they start to grow in size and number. If you notice that the cracks are getting worse, it’s time to take action. Foundation cracks can lead to serious structural damage if left untreated.