Causes of Foundation Damage | Fungus Rot and Insects

Causes of Foundation Damage and its  Prevention

In my earlier articles, we discussed one of the important causes of foundation damage “Erosion”. Getting a clarity on the subject helps you prevent your structure from further damage or any damage that might happen in future. We have also discussed “how analysis of foundation damage is to be carried out”.

In this article, we will discuss in detail the foundation damage occurring due to Rot and Insects. These elements are also responsible for foundation damage and if ignored or left unnoticed can cause severe damage resulting in structural failure.

Fungus rot causing Foundation damage
Fungus rot causing Foundation damage

Types of foundation damage can be classified as follows:


  1. Natural rock
  2. Brick



Moisture damage

  1. Frost wedging
  2. Salt bloom

Settlement in the ground

  1. Groundwater lowering
  2. Limited bearing capacity of the ground (land)
  3. Excavations performed below the foundations and poor quality of backfill
  4. Increased load on the ground leading to failure
  5. Damage to the neighbouring houses
  6. Increased load
  7. Damage (by removing) to the neighbouring houses
  8. Horizontal movement occurring in the ground

Frost heave/adfreezing

Alum shale

Let us move on with the discussion on Rot and Insects causing foundation damage.

Fungus Rot | Cause of Foundation Damage

Damage to wood is commonly caused by Fungus rot. There are certain nutrients in wood that fungus feeds on. That is the reason why fungus rot is bound to occur on wooden elements in a moist condition.

However fungus rot can be controlled with the help of regulating temperature.

Two main conditions responsible for the growth of fungus are:

  1. High temperature (30 to 40 degree Celsius)
  2. 20% of water in the wooden foundation elements with respect to its dry weight

Availability of oxygen is also responsible for the rotting of wooden foundation.

When raft and pile foundations are constructed out of wood, protecting them from moisture becomes incredibly difficult. The wooden foundations are attacked by the fungus rot when the water table sinks below the top of the foundations.

Insects | Cause of Foundation Damage

Wooden foundations are prone to damage by insects. Insects attack the wooden foundations above the ground level. Insects that can cause immense damage to the foundation include boring beetles and carpenter ants.

Prevention from the attack of insects can be done in two ways:

Analyze the region where wooden foundations are to be constructed. These insects types are not common in all parts of the country and hence usage of wood for foundations can be avoided in these areas.

The wooden foundations if used have to be coated with insecticidal material to prevent the foundation from attack of insects.

Also check out:

Repair and Maintenance of Old buildings guide

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