What is a Freemasonry Foundation? (with photos)

Masonry foundations must be large and strong enough to support the weight of a structure.

A masonry foundation is a structural foundation made of masonry. Historically, polished bricks or stone were often used to create this type of foundation. Today, concrete masonry units (CMUs) are a common choice of building material for a new masonry foundation or a retrofit foundation. The purpose of a masonry foundation is to support the weight of a structure while distributing the weight among the subsurface strata and to act as an anchor to hold the structure in place.

Foundations can crack over time due to settling.

Masonry foundations are laid in the form of perimeter or pier foundations. A perimeter foundation follows the footprint of the structure, with the weight being transferred evenly across the perimeter. The pier foundations consist of a series of masonry pillars spread along the footprint to support the weight, which is normally transferred by posts. Perimeter foundations are generally preferred in new construction.

Today, concrete masonry units are often used for foundations of structures.

A number of considerations go into the design and installation of a masonry foundation. It is important to make sure the foundation is large and designed enough to support the weight of the structure and to address issues such as groundwater seepage. A masonry foundation is at risk for a number of issues that can be addressed during the design phase to make the foundation more stable. A poorly designed foundation can fail, causing serious problems and leading to expensive repair bills.

Dough boards can be used to keep the base square while the masonry is being placed.

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A common problem is the settlement and movement of the ground. Over time, the soil settles naturally, which causes houses to tip over. In extreme cases, houses can even split in two as a result of settlement. Ground movement caused by earthquakes, landslides, and other events can also be a problem, as can frost, which occurs in cold climates. Water intrusion is also an issue, especially when a house is built on a hillside, in which case water runoff will tend to erode the foundation.

The depth of a foundation varies, depending on the size of the structure. Skyscrapers need very specialized foundations that penetrate deep into the ground to anchor and support the structure. Homes need much smaller foundations and have less stringent design requirements. It is also much easier to overhaul the foundation of a house, with the house simply being erected while the foundation is replaced. While the foundation is being renovated, it is generally possible for people to continue using the structure, although they may need to be careful to avoid disturbing the jacks used to support the house.

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