Water penetration does irreparable damages to the building. Efflorescence and swelling of walls, lamination of colors, dirt absorption and contamination, formation of moulds and fungi, reduced concrete resistance, and ironware corrosion are among superficial and structural damages done to the building.

I am looking for an alternative for do in do damage for the above paragraph, as I feel it doesn't look much natural but nothing more appropriate hits my mind. I thought of impose but I am not sure. Oxford also uses do. I didn't find any specific example over the Internet on how to mean "make sb/sth suffer through a damage". Please note I don't want to use the verb "damage", but the noun.

  • 2
    "Damage" can come with "cause" and/or "suffer", but I have a hard time figuring out why you would want a replacement. ...I feel it doesn't look much natural. Try this to see how common it is to use "do" with "damage".
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 17:53
  • I would add that the entire paragraph sounds odd and parts of it do not make sense. I am not sure if any suggestions I would make would constitute proofreading.
    – Gary
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 18:02
  • @Gary for example? Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 18:03
  • Can I send you an answer in an hour? I am just about to leave my desk.
    – Gary
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 18:04
  • @Gary, sure. no problem. Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 18:05

2 Answers 2


Although your original question was about the use of damage as a noun, there are other issues with the paragraph.

Damaged Nouns

To use "damage" as a noun, just change the first sentence to:

"Water [penetration / infiltration] does irreparable damage to [the / a] building."


" Water [penetration / infiltration] into a building causes irreparable damage."


"Efflorescence ... structural damage that occur when water infiltrates a building."

Instead of trying to use "do" as a verb, try using another verb that gives more information to the reader and that removes the need of the prepositional phrase "...on the building". Also, it may be "a building" if you are speaking of a generic building or buildings in general. However, if you are speaking of a specific building, then the definite article would be necessary. In any case, there isn't enough context in your paragraph to tell which one would be appropriate.

I also inserted the two words [penetration and infiltration] in brackets because they are sometimes used as synonyms, but the processes are not the same. Water that penetrates is water that creates an opening in a building. Water infiltration is water that enters a building through variety of methods, including through permeable surfaces, cracks and small openings.

… The Rest

Your original sentence has some phrases and use of words that may not make sense to a native-English speaker, especially one who is a building professional. The first thing is that in this context, you don't need to make "damage" plural. Looking at the rest of you paragraph as parts::

"Efflorescence and swelling of walls [?],"

I know what efflorescence is. What do you mean by "swelling of walls"?

"lamination of colors,"

This does not make sense as lamination or any of its derivatives are not a characteristic property of colors.

"dirt absorption and contamination,"

Are you saying that the dirt gets absorbed and contaminated or that something absorbs dirt and that thing is contaminated by the dirt?

", formation of moulds and fungi,"

Moulds (or "molds" in the US) are in the family of fungi. So you can use one or the other, but in the topic of buildings, the former is appropriate.

", reduced concrete resistance, "

The concrete is less resistant to what? This sentence refers to a quality of the concrete being affected, but you never made a direct link as to how this effect occurred or what is being affected. If you mean that the concrete loses strength, then you should just mention that specifically.

",and ironware corrosion are among superficial and structural damages done to the building."

I am not sure what you mean by "ironware". If you mean 'structural steel", then use that. Iron is no longer used as a structural element in buildings.

Your List of the Kinds of Damage

Form your list of the types of damage, you didn't denote which ones are superficial and which ones are structural. Instead of having just one list, why not have two- one of the types of superficial damage and another of the types of structural damage? (NOTE: I didn't read anything that would specifically be a structural damage.) Moreover, some of the items in your list are not specifically "damage", but things that happen when water enters a building. You also use the word "irreparable". This means, "unable to repair", which is not the case with most of the items on your list.

Another problem is that your list cites items, but it is not clear as to how water penetration causes the damage. This may be explained in other paragraphs, but the reader can't tell. For example instead of:

"Efflorescence and swelling of walls, lamination of colors, dirt absorption and contamination, formation of moulds and fungi,"

How about:

"Water infiltration of buildings causes irreparable damage. It may cause efflorescence when it seeps into brick walls; the swelling of walls when it saturates drywall; mold growth when it enters interior walls and is not dried properly; ....

These are just notes as to what I see. However, much of this may not matter depending on your audience. I could post a reconstructed sentence depending on your answers to the issues I outlines above.

  • By swelling of walls I mean drum-like projection of walls caused by moisture. I don't know if a technical term for it exists. By dirt absorption ... I mean part of a building attracts much dirt and becomes contaminated. Also, mold is the better term to be used as you said given I'm using US English in construction context. Ironwork is meant by ironware, as used in door frames, roofs, posts, etc. but, is it the case that steel is used in all of these and iron no longer used? You might have seen wall color separated in slices due to humidity. I use lamination for it. Wrong? Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 23:27
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    The swelling is called 'warped/warping'- when water enters a wall, dries, and leaves walls misshapen. Same thing happens with wood when it get wet and dries. Your phrase about the dirt was ambiguous. This is why I recommend phrases instead of the list. Iron is not used for structural/interior work. You can use "metal", but steel is used in all the applications you listed- including posts (vertical structural support members less that 6x6) and columns (members that are greater than 6x6). Wall slices: is this what you mean: houseremedies.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/P1010051.jpg
    – Gary
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 23:50
  • Yep. that is exactly it (the slices you linked). Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 0:14
  • 1
    That is called 'peeling paint'. Something can delaminate, if it is actually a laminate material. Everything else "peels off"- paint, wallpaper, other wall coverings, etc.
    – Gary
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 0:34
  • inflicted upon the building
  • wrought on the building
  • effected on the building
  • given to the building
  • made on the building

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