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Old 07-01-2009, 04:26 PM  
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Default Cement porch wall repair help please!

Greetings all. My front porch is your standard "block and fill" concrete porch. While the block and top slab are holding up OK, I have one VERTICAL side wall that's crumbling, as seen in the attached pictures.

As you might note, it's quite thick--a good 1" to 1 1/2". You'll also note the "overhang" of the top slab. Now, I know I can go the easy route and simply tear off the old "facade", apply some cement plaster, and be done; but, then this side would look odd compared to the other 3 sides.

My brother in law, who's in construction, mentioned something about a styrofoam and cement plaster mix, but can't think of the brand name or name of this stuff. Any ideas?

Also, any other ideas or suggestions would be immensely appreciated!

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Old 07-06-2009, 06:03 AM  
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Default Well, I had to tear it all out...

As I was trying to carefully pull off the "veneer", the underlying cinder block was coming right out with it. Oh well, gotta yank it all now!

The water damage to the cinder block was incredible-it was literally crumbling in my hands. However, the part of the block against the fill (mostly sand) held up fairly well. So, I left this in for now, and "rebuilt" the bottom layer of block using a cement mix to provide a decent base to rebuild using regular block (8x8x16).

Now, some questions.

1--I expect to lose some of the sand fill when I remove the "inner" wall of the old block; any suggestions on keeping it in place while I rebuild the wall?

2--The top layer of original cinder block cannot be completely removed, as cement from the top slab (4" thick!) had filled some of the voids. Short of cutting the new blocks to fit as close as possible and patching/filling with cement mix, any ideas? Keep in mind that the slab overhangs the block by an inch or so.

3--This is going to be a short-term (5-8 years) fix, as I intend to eventually remove the old porch and rebuild using wood. While removing the cinder block walls will be relatively easy, I'm not thrilled with the prospect of breaking/cutting up the old's 19' x 6' x 4" thick, so you can imagine both the PITA of this, and the sheer weight of all that concrete...something I am NOT looking forward to. In your opinions, do you think a contractor would be willing to do the demolition work only for a reasonable price? If so, any thoughts or ideas (even guesstimates) on what they might charge for this? I do not expect them to remove all the fill, as the previous owner did that on the side porch, and they simply covered the old foundation with something resembling a tarp. Or, should I indeed have the whole kaboodle removed right to the ground and house foundation? Again, I can handle the rebuild of a new wood porch; just curious what y'all think I should do with the old one...

Thanks in advance for any thoughts and ideas!!


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Old 07-06-2009, 06:51 AM  
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Default huh

I guess I missed the first post, but someone else could have helped out?

Sounds like quite the project. This is a diy if you have the time and are ready to end up pretty sore.
I would call a couple companies out just to see what is entailed in the job. Sometimes talking to a professional will make your decision for you. As far as how much? Only someone in your area will give you that answer.But a wild a$$ guess would put it under 5000.
You also need to control the water issue, otherwise you end up with more of the same.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:39 AM  
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Thanks for the reply, InspectorD...I appreciate it. I think that my timing on my post (right before a holiday weekend) is probably why I haven't seen many other big deal.

Well, I just got done a little while ago this morning rebuilding the block wall. Of course, here in the northeast, we've had all that rain and clouds, and today is bright and sunny, so I had to work fast with the mortar...thanks Mother Nature! I had maybe six 5-gallon buckets' worth of sand fill spill out when I removed the "back" wall of the old block...not as bad as I thought. Built up 3 rows of block; gonna have to jerk around with cutting blocks for the 4th row, as I can't remove the old layer completely-it has lots of aggregate and cement in the voids from the top slab. Oh well...

Thanks for the info re: demolition. Even $2000-3000 is a tough nut to swallow... I found a calculator online, and determined that the slab alone weighs roughly 3+ tons, and with my 1/2 ton pickup, that's quite a few trips to the township dump with the junk, nevermind the beating this 45 yr old body will take sledging it apart! Guess I'm just gonna have to bite the bullet in a few years, since I won't be any younger...

Thanks again for your advice!!!!
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:44 AM  
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One more thing re: the water issue. The original owner passed away in 1999 (house was built in 1952), and I believe that his widow (who passed on in 2002) didn't notice the cracks. My wife and I bought the house because other than the porch issue, the house was in pristine, VERY well-kept condition. Given some of the other problems people here have had, I'd say I'm pretty lucky. Outside of replacing the windows and exterior doors with energy-efficient ones, I haven't had to spend a whole lot of money on "major" repairs.

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