Causes of Foundation Damage | Moisture

Foundation Damage caused due to Moisture absorption

In my earlier articles, we discussed some of the important causes of foundation damage.

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 Moisture. This element is also responsible for foundation damage and if ignored or left unnoticed can cause severe damage resulting in structural failure.

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 damage caused by moisture to the foundations.

Moisture damage

In older buildings, the walls were covered with clay and lime as mortar. These building materials are moisture absorbent. The walls do not undergo severe damage as long as the lime and clay walls are not treated with any other building material.

For example:

In an old building where the plastering has been done using lime and clay suffers from some chipping and damage. This calls for locals repairs which are to be done to maintain the aesthetics of the structure.

Since, cement mortar is a modern material and is available in abundance, the repairs are done with Cement mortar.

Before initiating such tasks, it is to be remembered that the coefficient of expansion of different materials is different. When cement mortar is used as a repair material over lime mortar, due to different moisture absorption properties and coefficient of expansion, the combination does not work very well.

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