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KasperCurmudgeon 10-20-2013 11:48 AM

[images] Basement Cinder Block Repair: Loose Joints & Rusted Nails
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Hi all,

I'm getting ready to re-remodel my basement.

I've got a lot of rusted masonry nails and loose mortar joints in my cinder block basement walls. The nails used to hold nailers to the wall for paneling. But over a couple decades the dirt and patio slabs around the foundation settled and pitched toward the house, and water permeated the walls and rusted the nails. The paneling and previous finishing has been removed/gutted now due to a flood a few years back. That's when the signs of years of moisture damage, due to water trapped behind paneling & plastic sheeting, became apparent. I think I've fixed the main water issues by re-pitching the dirt around the foundation and running eaves tile out to a ditch.

I want to get rid of these nails and paint the walls, but when I yank with a hammer, some bust out the bricks or mortar. When I consider grinding them off, and although I think I've mostly fixed my water problem, I worry that they'll just keep rusting and expanding and maybe causing cracking/bustouts anyway. Also, if I leave the walls exposed but painted and the nails rust through the paint, that wouldn't be great.

As seen in the photos, there are loose mortar joints. I don't know if these need to be repointed before painting? Or is it good enough to squirt masonry caulk in there? Or something else?

The reason I'm not wanting to repoint if unnecessary is because I've just spent a couple months cleaning and vacuuming all the concrete/brick dust off everything in the basement from a perimeter tile and egress window project, it gets old to create a ton of dust and then clean it all up.

Any thoughts?

For larger image files:

nealtw 10-20-2013 10:23 PM

I think you have a good question about the nails and I don't have a good answer. But I do want to question your work on the wall. So you put an interior drain in instead of exterior so the outside of the wall is not waterproofed? Did you drill drain holes in the bottom of the waal to let water into the drain system?
Perhaps a small diamond coring bit for the nails. Drill Bit

KasperCurmudgeon 10-21-2013 11:47 AM

That perimeter tile was a professional job done last year. They went around and drilled a 3/8" hole in every void so it can weep into that plastic channel tile and make its way over to my sump hole.

I did some more reading on the nails yesterday. I think I'm going to borrow a pry bar and get more leverage, and the blocks/mortar that bust out will be filled later with soft mortar, I think? As for the ones that snap off or won't come, I'll have to check out your drill bit idea or maybe just leave them flush and hope they can't rust to the point that they crack out the mortar or create a weep hole or rust bleed-through.

I'm still concerned about the mortar though. Trying to research that on Google, it seems lots of companies offer products and how to videos for VERTICAL cracks, but they figure if it's horizontal, it means the whole house is going to fall down. I don't think that's my problem as when I look down the wall, there's very little bowing, if any. But I'm concerned on if this should be sealed for water reasons - is this a potential leak area? And if I should seal all the cracks better before painting, what's the way to do it where Best Practice meets Easy?

nealtw 10-21-2013 05:53 PM

There are people here that should be able to help with right product for the block repairs, they will be along soon.

gottodo1 10-22-2013 09:41 AM

I had a friend with this problem, drain tile wasn't sufficient to fix it for him. He had a professional come in with some stuff that looked like a skim coat but with a fancier name and redo all his walls. He let it sit for a year to make sure it wouldn't leak and it hasn't leaked yet. I think they also make paint on waterproofers... some say they are specifically for B&M applications. Might want to consider that but I don't know if this is a good application for that as this is the one area my current house hasn't had problems!

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