Causes of Deterioration in Building Structures

Building deterioration is something that happens as time passes by. Simple exposure to natural elements will gradually cause deterioration, particularly in its appearance. While maintenance can hasten this, it is important for owners to know the different causes not only to have knowledge of them but also to do preventive maintenance when necessary.


Corrosion is one of the main causes why many buildings deteriorate. Buildings which were built in the 20th century are among the structures which are probably undergoing this process. The concrete parts of buildings can undergo general corrosion due to exposure to carbon while exposure to chloride ions make them undergo pitting corrosion.

General corrosion, over prolonged periods, will eventually cause the concrete to crack. The chloride content of water which may be leaking from the water pipes of buildings will soon cause the paint to peel. Additionally, acid rain also adds as a corrosive element.


The freezing weather during winter when snow and hail are the prevalent elements can cause frosting. Buildings which are made from frost-susceptible stones are subject to this deteriorating factor. The frost can damage the stones especially those which have smaller pores.

Organism Growth

Another deteriorating factor to buildings is actually caused by the growth of organisms in buildings. What we typically think of as aesthetic additions to buildings might eventually bring damage. For instance, roots of plants and trees may grow bigger and crawl underneath building structures and may cause floors to bulge and crack.

Microorganisms like bacteria and fungi can also thrive on building parts. With the aid of weather and chemicals, they can weaken the structure which may soon cause decay.

Human Activities

The deterioration of many building structures are not only caused by weather and other organisms. In fact, there are many cases of building degradation due to human carelessness.

Vandalism is one of the most common human activity that may cause buildings to deteriorate. The graffiti and other scribbles on walls of many buildings may look artistic to many but they actually are causing structures to deteriorate.

Vandalism may also refer to human activities in buildings that directly cause damages to the structures or parts thereof. For instance, when a man directly destroy a window building, throw stones on walls, or scratch building floors – these are all acts of vandalism.

Building deterioration can be prevented by doing measures like regular maintenance. When paint on walls are observed to be peeling off due to corrosion, then it is necessary to repaint the surface. When cracks are seen on floors and other parts, it may be high time to do some concealing procedures.