Residential Structural Issues

What Causes House Foundations to Crack & Move Inward?

Normally, a temporary lateral soil pressure overload on the exterior side of the basement side wall causes inward movement and cracking. A temporary overload condition can result from a variety of different reasons, such as expansive soils, poor drainage behind the wall, or loads on adjacent areas due to equipment and/or parked vehicles for lots with driveways near the edge of the house. For every house location, there is a natural level of groundwater in the supporting soil layers below the foundation. Over the lifetime of a house, the groundwater level fluctuates up and down based on the natural weather cycles, precipitation, and change of seasons. Poor drainage materials behind the wall combined with relatively level surface grading allows water to collect behind the wall after a heavy rain. As the water level in the retained soil continues to rise, the water pressure increases the structural, inward pressure on the wall.

All of these factors can exert tremendous pressure along the outside of the foundation wall, and they can result in various propagation crack patterns and inward wall movement, leaning, or bulging. Most foundation contractors develop and market their own proprietary methods, procedures, and system design for stabilizing or bracing foundation walls. All the various contractors present in the market today offer a collection of different systems, but all systems essentially focus on similar engineering concepts and philosophies.

Clayzen Consulting is a structural engineering consulting firm in Cincinnati focusing on evaluations, assessments, and inspections for residential projects and situations. We can help explain the various systems and strategies on the market today and provide a third party, non-biased recommendation on what makes the most sense for your situation.

Your first step is to visit our website at and send us an email so we can provide you more information regarding our fee structure and normal scope of services, along with list of our upcoming availability.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s