What is a Masonry Foundation?

Masonry foundation is a structural foundation created using masonry. Foundations composed of brick or stone are called masonry. 

In the past, this foundation style was frequently constructed out of bricks or dressed stone. It is now usual to use concrete masonry units (CMUs) as the building material of choice for new masonry foundations or for retrofitting existing foundations. While supporting a structure’s weight, brick foundations distribute the weight across subterranean layers and act as anchors to hold the structure in place.

Is there anything to consider when installing masonry foundations? 

The design and installation of masonry foundations involve many considerations, including size and design: 


For a structure to hold its weight, the foundation must be large and thorough enough to deal with difficulties like groundwater seepage. 


A brick foundation can be strengthened in many ways during its design phase.

Failing to use a well-designed foundation might result in major issues and hefty repair costs.

Features of Masonry Foundation


Concrete or masonry foundations begin with footings or “footers,” which are concrete pads that define where the foundation will sit.

In addition to the size of the house, the type of construction, and the load-bearing capabilities of the soil beneath, footings can be anywhere from 12 inches deep to more than 3 feet wide. The foundation’s footings help to distribute the weight and maintain its level.


Based on the structure’s size, the foundation’s depth varies. The foundations of high-rise buildings must be extremely deep and specialized in supporting the structure.

Smaller foundations and less strict design regulations are required for homes. A foundation can be jack-up and replaced much easier this way. In most cases, the structure can still be used while the foundation is being repaired, although the jacks that keep the house up may need to be protected.

Types of masonry foundations

Masonry strip foundation

Structural bearing walls are supported by strip masonry foundations made of brick masonry, block masonry, or stones. Acceptable soil quality is required to support this form of masonry construction.

The breadth steadily decreases at the bottom of the foundation until it reaches a certain point. Using this method will ensure that a big area is evenly distributed and prevent foundation damage at the wall’s perimeter. In clay or silt soils, the masonry units must be positioned in a mortar and all joints filled with mortar to ensure the integrity of the masonry strip. 

If the mortar is not used when masonry strips are built on clay and silt, groundwater will run through the seams and soften the clay. To put it another way, the brick foundation would be severely destabilized.

The strip footing dimension is determined based on a foundation’s location, load-bearing capacity, and building method.

Masonry spread (isolated) footing

Spread footings consist of high-quality bricks or stone. The bottom of an isolated footing is much wider than the load-bearing masonry wall above it. To distribute the applied load over a larger area and hence increase the stability of the building, this additional spread foundation is given. 

It is most commonly employed in building homes with basements, where masonry spread footing is used. The applied loads are the primary determinants of the design and layout of a masonry isolated footing. The foundation gets narrower and narrower until a certain point as you get further up.

Stepped masonry footing

Essentially, strip footings are the same as brick foundations (a special type of strip footing). Due to the horizontal vector, strip foundations tend to slip down on sloping terrain.

So vertical steps are added to prevent the horizontal vector from acting and cause the foundation to slide. There would be a significant reduction in horizontal vector activity if vertical steps were used to provide a horizontal bearing for the foundation. 

Stepped footing construction, especially with stone masonry, necessitates meticulous attention to detail to provide a strong link between the steps and the foundation. The length of the portions of the stepped foundation is critical.

Masonry inverted arch foundation

For an inverted arch built of brick or stone, the footing base is supported by masonry walls or piers. In modern construction, reinforced concrete footings have replaced wooden footings.

For an inverted arch built of brick or stone, the footing base is supported by masonry walls or piers. In modern construction, reinforced concrete footings have replaced wooden footings.

Constructed on soft terrain, inverted arch masonry footing was utilized to support the foundation of a multistory building. Consideration of inverted arch masonry presented the greatest challenge: constructing an inverted arch of sufficient strength, which required significant work and the expertise of a highly competent and experienced mason.

Frequently Asked Questions about Masonry Foundation 

What is the average lifespan of a masonry foundation?

As long as they are built with precision, concrete block and slab foundations can last for 80 to 100 years or more. Termite protection will last for 12 years as long as the chemical barriers are intact.

What are the causes of masonry foundation issues?

Water is the main cause of most damage. Moisture changes cause soil components to swell or shrink, causing foundation movement.

High clay content soils tend to be more susceptible, while soils with low clay content are the least affected. Although some areas move insignificantly, others experience quite pronounced movements.

Using unstable soils as a base causes movement in the foundation. Unlike soil movement, foundation movement is usually uneven.

Call an expert to know more about Masonry Foundation

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