Poured CONCRETE foundation with settlement cracks due to blasting (C) Daniel FriedmanBuilding Foundation Damage by Foundation Material

  • FOUNDATION FAILURES by TYPE & MATERIAL - CONTENTS: Foundation defects of occurrence: things that happen that cause damage to building foundation walls or slabs. Types of foundation damage organized by foundation materials. Poured Concrete Foundation Defects listed, described & explained. Pre-Cast Concrete Foundation Defects listed, described & explained. Stone Foundation Defects, Brick Foundation Defects, Masonry block Defects listed, described & explained. Wood Foundation Defects listed, described & explained. Photographs of foundation damage patterns and types
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about the types of damage that occur for various types of foundation materials & construction methods
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This article explains foundation defects of occurrence:

Foundation failures due to an outside force, organized by foundation type and material of construction such as concrete, masonry block, brick, stone, wood foundation failures and how each foundation material will show damage due to impact, settlement, frost or water damage, and other causes.

Our page top photo shows significant settlement cracking in a two year old poured concrete foundation. Cracks occurred following blasting at an adjoining construction site. Steel reinforcement may also have been omitted from this wall.

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Common Foundation Damage Organized by Type of Foundation Material Used in Construction

Photograph of - bowed foundation wall, probably from frost cracking. Drop a plumb line to measure total inwards bulging of this block foundation wall.By "defects of occurrence" we mean things that happen to a building foundation (or masonry wall) after it has been built and which result in damage that might need repair or other further action.

Foundation movement, resulting in foundation bulge, foundation cracks, leaning, tipping, shifting or other damage are examples of potentially important occurrences that merit a careful diagnosis.

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:

  1. FOUNDATION FAILURES by MOVEMENT TYPE: is the movement active or not, how is the foundation moving: bulging, leaning, settling, etc. ?
  2. FOUNDATION FAILURES by TYPE & MATERIAL: how does damage show up in different types of foundation material & what are the implications for collapse risk or repair need?
  3. FOUNDATION CRACK DICTIONARY, what is the severity of foundation damage, what is its effect on the stability of the structure, and how urgently are foundation repairs needed?
  4. FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS discusses alternative ways to fix a damaged foundation or floor slab crack or movement

Types of foundation cracks, crack patterns, differences in the meaning of cracks in different foundation materials, site conditions, building history, and other evidence of building movement and damage are described to assist in recognizing foundation defects and to help the inspector separate cosmetic or low-risk conditions from those likely to be important and potentially costly to repair.

List of foundation failures of occurrence - things happening to the foundation

Foundation inspectors and engineers need to agree on what terms are used to describe various foundation conditions. Articles throughout this website use and illustrate the foundation damage or failure terms listed below.

Note: use of plumb lines, levels, laser levels, & simple measurements of amount by which a wall is out of level or plumb, or of crack widths and patterns are beyond ASHI Scope but are common simple tools and procedures used by masons, carpenters, builders, as well as foundation experts and engineers.

Articles that provide detail for each type of foundation and foundation material demonstrate that each foundation material and type has its own, sometimes unique, signs of damage and failure. For example, a horizontal crack in one type of foundation material may be much more serious than in another. Just below are some articles that offer additional foundation damage analysis methods.Photograph of a bulged leaning stone wall


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


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