Concrete block foundation wall with thick CONCRETE repair lamination © Daniel Friedman at InspectApedia.comHow to Identify Building Foundation Construction Methods, Materials, Type, Sequence

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Foundation types:

This article explains how to identify types of foundation construction, methods, materials as an aid to diagnosing foundation damage. Understanding what foundation materials were used, how a foundation was constructed, and the sequence of construction steps are key elements in accurate diagnosis of foundation cracks, bowing, collapse or other problems as well as in planning for foundation repair.

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.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

Foundation Construction Materials & Methods: How to Identify Foundation Construction Type, Materials, Sequence

Damage to foundation during construction © Daniel Friedman at

The photo above shows a concrete block foundation wall which had been damaged by water and frost, exacerbated by construction very close to bedrock which sloped to the foundation wall from the surface, trapping roof runoff against the building.

A thick concrete laminate wall has been added inside to stabilize the wall (but no proper steps had been taken outdoors to redirect water away.)

At this website we explain how it is sometimes possible to be confident about the cause of foundation damage which in turn helps assess the risk presented to the building.

Photographs of types of foundation cracks and other foundation damage: we have a large library of photographs which continually add to this website. Pending completion of that work, contact the author if assistance is required.

Foundation Construction Types

Schematic of a supported slab on grade (C) Carson Dunlop AssociatesThe type of foundation construction affects how a foundation may be damaged, cracked, settled, or moved.

Photos of slab on grade foundations and floor slabs are included in the following article series:

Monolithic slab on grade construction diagram (C) Carson Dunlop Associates
Floating slab on grade schematic (C) Carson Dunlop Associates

Also see  Three Types of Poured Concrete Slab Floors - Different Implications of Cracks & Movement found at CONCRETE SLAB CRACK EVALUATION.

Foundation Construction Materials

The type of foundation materials (listed below) affects how a foundation may be damaged, cracked, settled, or moved and significantly, the foundation material must be considered in understanding pattern, location, size, and significance of cracks or other signs of foundation movement. The same crack location size may have different significance in different foundation materials.

Poured concrete foundation © Daniel Friedman at

Our photo at left shows a poured concrete foundation wall.


Watch out: As we introduce at our home page for this topic,
, since certain masonry structure defects, such as

even slightly-bulged structural brick masonry walls (above or below ground level - BRICK FOUNDATIONS & WALLS

or severely bulged below-ground masonry block or stone foundations, BULGED vs. LEANING FOUNDATIONS

can lead to sudden precipitous and catastrophic building collapse, dangerous conditions may be present at some properties.

Foundation Construction Sequence Considerations

Foundation collapse, after reconstruction (C) Daniel FriedmanOur photo at left shows a reconstructed concrete block foundation after a collapse.

The original construction included in-slope grade at the rear of this building, combined with poorly-drained soils and runoff which was trapped against the building.

The concrete block foundation collapse at this building occurred more than twenty years after construction and might have been avoided by proper handling of roof runoff, the immediate failure cause, but the site shape and failure to provide proper surface and subsurface drainage were important factors in this foundation failure too.


Below we list site factors to be considered when evaluating foundation damage of this type. See FOUNDATION INSPECTION METHODS for details.


Continue reading at FOUNDATION FAILURES by TYPE & MATERIAL or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


Suggested citation for this web page

FOUNDATION CONSTRUCTION TYPES at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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