foundation crumbling

Discussion in 'Bricks, Masonry and Concrete' started by head-first, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. Jul 20, 2010 #1

    head-first

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    Hello all, this is my first post.

    I have an issue... the block foundation/basement wall around my house is starting to crumble here and there and leaving craters on the external surface. For reference, the home was built in the early/mid 50's and these craters were there when I bought it last September... I imagine that they have been there for awhile. Here is a pic:

    [​IMG]

    I would like to know a long-term solution for filling in these craters. I want to repaint the wall once they are filled. The wall already does have paint on it and I am not sure if I need to remove the existing paint first or not.

    I am new to the home repair game, and everything I have researched about the issue so far has left me unsatisfied and I still cannot decide what plan of action to take. And help/advice is appreciated.
     
  2. Jul 21, 2010 #2

    head-first

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    I've been searching, but still haven't found a similar thread here. Somebody out there has to have had this issue before.
     
  3. Jul 21, 2010 #3

    oldognewtrick

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    Usually when you see things like that it is from moisture getting in there and causing, spa-ling. Remove the moisture, remove the problem, fix the problem. You have to fix the moisture problem before you fix the result of moisture problems.

    Post a pic of the area above this spot.
     
  4. Jul 21, 2010 #4

    head-first

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    The area above all the crumbling spots is just vinyl siding, nothing too peculiar (you can see the bottom of the siding in the pic). The crumbling spots are sporadic with no pattern in relation to any other structures (e.g. windows, etc.).

    The wall is the barrier between me and the elements outside, so obviously I cannot eliminate it's exposure to moisture completely. :confused:

    Preventing moisture in my mind (and I am not a professional contractor of any kind) seems more related to how it is sealed after being repaired. So in that vein, I actually have a two-parter question that I need answered: what it is the best method to repair it AND what will prevent this from reoccurring?

    And I will look up spalling. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  5. Jul 22, 2010 #5

    head-first

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    OK, so I found this:

    http://www.houserepairtalk.com/f17/sealer-exterior-house-7727/#post35543

    As it turns out, sealing out the moisture is a bad idea. I live in N.E. Ohio where it freezes and thaws here a lot in the winter. Plus, the temperature will change 30 degrees within 12 hours many times throughout the year. Condensation is going to happen and I don't want to trap it in there.

    The moisture cannot be removed beyond getting better gutters although rain will still hit those walls no matter what I do, so I have to go on towards repairing the spalling, then painting with an exterior masonry paint.

    So now... what is the best material for filling in a spalling crater? And do I need to strip off all of the preexisting paint, or are there any brands that can go right on over the old paint?
     
  6. Aug 4, 2010 #6

    itsreallyconc

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    its MUCH easier keeping moisture OUT of a wall than treating the results of its infiltration,,, your spalls aren't spalls on my monitor but, IF they really are, patch properly w/hydraulic or apron store mortar,,, removing the failing coating's more labor intensive - bosch bulldog chipping gun & 1 1/2" chisel bit & bushing tool.

    IF sealing OUT moisture is a bad idea, why do you have a roof ? ? ? ' paint ' is NEVER a solution - you need the proper coating ! call any const supply store for the elastomeric masonary product.
     
  7. Aug 17, 2010 #7

    head-first

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    The gal at the local Sherwin-Williams told me that I can paint over the pre-existing paint with a latex masonry primer so long as it is latex as well. I did the rubbing alcohol wipe test and it is indeed latex. I still scraped off any loose paint and sanded it down quite a bit with a steel brush. So I am now at the filling stage. She mentioned filling the spalling craters with epoxy... the only problem is, none of the hardware stores in my town carry such a thing. I was looking for PC-Masonry Epoxy specifically. It sounds like it will outlast anything.

    So this elastomeric paint, it sounds like it does what the SW masonry primer/sealer does, like filling in the cracks and such. Is it close enough to the aforementioned Valspar product? She said the SW masonry primer and paint would last about 12 years.
     
  8. Aug 17, 2010 #8

    head-first

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    I also meant to ask... the Valspar paint is it's own primer, thus not needing a primer before application?
     
  9. Aug 17, 2010 #9

    mudmixer

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    You don't go to paint store to solve a concrete problem.

    The wall wall is spalling. You seem to be hiding your location, but I assume you are in a colder climate (China, russia, Canada or northern U.S.).

    There is an excess of moisture in the walls that cannot escape when it freezes. Even if it is a "breathing" paint too thick a coat or too many coats will reduce the vapor permeability.

    Wire and stucco the wall and that will create a gap and thermal break that prevents further deterioration.

    Dick
     
  10. Aug 18, 2010 #10

    head-first

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    Surprisingly, it is hard to get a straight-forward answer that is universally accepted. I've done my research only to find that there is too much varying advice about the matter and the only reason I bothered creating a post about it... but even within this very thread I am getting conflicting advice.

    Um...

    I quoted myself from this thread. No need to assume.


    This is the first time I've seen your suggested solution. I will check it out... but I've already ordered the epoxy for filling the spalling and intend on using it.

    Thanks for your $0.02, Dick.

    One more thing... the amount of wall I need to paint only spans about 30" in height from the soil level to the bottom of the siding. Can't moisture simply escape through the unpainted portion below the dirt level or through the top of the wall where it meets the floor of the house?
     
  11. Aug 18, 2010 #11

    itsreallyconc

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    we buy xylene, roller covers, & latex ext paint from sher-wms but that's about it,,, they don't any acceptable mtls to use in either decorative conc surfacing OR conc reprs imo,,, the avg h/o may be impressed but we're not.

    stopped in to buy some 844 tints to color our methyl-methacrylate reinfored sealer,,, the 1st 4 clerks had no idea so i had to wait for mike, the manager, to mix 'em,,, so much for making work for youth :D

    ps = think dick's a pe as i recall,,, his $.02 are worth 10 of mine 'cept i'm older :trophy: there's likely to be conflicting advice 'bout lotsa stuff as many of us work w/differing mtls/methods
     
  12. Aug 18, 2010 #12

    head-first

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    Which really doesn't help me figure out what to do. I've read up on stucco some... turns out, it too becomes damaged over time and requires repair. So is the advantage that the stucco sacrifices itself for the health of the wall that it's covering? Also, applying stucco seems like something best left to a professional... which I cannot afford. I guess I will just have to leave my scraped walls look ugly until I can find a solution to believe in.
     
  13. Aug 23, 2010 #13

    Christee095

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    I recently had a 110-year-old BRICK foundation stuccoed instead of tuck-pointed. I had a professional do it. It seems to me that when you are getting cracks in your foundation, no matter how small, it might be worth your while to save up and pay a professional to at least repair the cracks. Then you probably can paint it with epoxy or latex paint, though I think the stucco adds some minimal structural support as well as cosmetic appeal. As others have said, you need to solve the problem before you worry about the appearance. I live in Iowa and a cold/hot climate like ours inevitably causes expansion and contraction stress and after 60 years, your house is experiencing that. I would also look at drainage, as was suggested. Look at the gutters and any water that stands after a had rain or snow that sits along the foundation to melt in the spring and other thaw cycles. I may have missed it, but is this a masonry-type layer (like stucco) over a cinder block foundation? If so, how does the foundation look?
     
  14. Aug 23, 2010 #14

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    Thanks, Christee. I am pretty sure I mentioned it already, but if I haven't I bought the place a year ago and have installed drains since. The downspouts on two corners are connected to a french drain that goes out into the yard. It did it myself, but I am sure it meets any professional standards. I also just added another drain this summer to the front to take that water away from the house to the street. The spalling occurred before installing much improved drainage, so I am sure that I have knocked out most if not all of the moisture problem.

    I am not one to pay someone to do what I can do myself, so hiring a pro is not on the agenda. I did, however, get some advice from some pros. I live near an older, established college with many old buildings on it's campus. I asked the maintenance department about what they do to repair block wall and talked to the head guy about it. Since I lived so close, he drove me over to my house to look at it. I mentioned stucco and he said not to bother with it because it can hold moisture too. He said they usually paint newer block, but with an older foundation wall like mine, he said to definitely use something called chem-seal, which is a concrete-based paint. I have talked to several more professionals about it and they all concurred that is great stuff that will hold up for a really long time. Perfect! I now had the solution that I was looking for.

    So to update where I am today, over the weekend I dug out a 1'-2' trench around perimeter of the foundation wall, because I am applying the chem-seal below ground level. I knocked off loose paint, and brushed a gel stripper over all the paint and let is settle overnight (stays wet up to 24 hours). Today, I have been scraping/grinding off whatever paint I can. There is some that won't come off, but a couple different people told me that whatever won't come off with stripper and a wire brush won't lift up the chem-seal either. I imagine it will take a couple days to get everything cleaned up and fill in the cracks with hydraulic cement before enough before I apply the chem-seal. I will try to take some pics of the progress.
     
  15. Oct 28, 2010 #15

    head-first

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    I finished up the project a couple months ago. Here's what I did:

    -I dug out around the foundation wall
    -stripped off as much paint as I could with gel stripper and abrasives
    -cleaned/prepped the wall
    -applied a coat of Chem-seal
    ...dried over night...
    -applied second coat.

    I wish I took a pic of the same area that I posted earlier in this thread, but you can get the idea of how it would look (the wall is already dirty from hose water splashing up mud on it some weeks later):

    [​IMG]

    The chem-seal stuff is really good stuff, but could only find it as a specialized masonry shop. I asked the clerk if he had used it himself, and he said that he painted the front of the loading dock that he was standing on with chem-seal. Honestly, it didn't look too great... some of it was peeling here and there. I asked how long ago... at least 25 years ago he said.:eek: Impressive! I was sold. :clap:

    As a cement-based paint, it mixes as such, with a bag of dry material added to water to make a paste. (I mixed it with a drill-bit stirrer, like for drywall mud and such). You also use a special brush with really big, thick bristles (nylon, I think). I is actually pretty easy to apply. It fills in cracks really nice too. I even let some harden a bit and used it as putty to fill in some larger gaps, so I'm curious to see how that will look come spring after some good freezing/thawing. And that is the best part of it... as cement, it allows transmission of moisture and does not trap it. Bingo!

    I searched long and hard to find the solution to my foundation wall problem, and I think I have found the answer. Of course you do need to eliminate the source of the water that is causing damage/spalling, but once you do, this is the way to go. I cannot believe how little is mentioned about this sort of dilemma on the internet, so I hope this thread can serve as an aid to those who are having the same problem that I encountered.
     
  16. Jun 12, 2013 #16

    ladychichevy

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    Experiencing something similar. I dig as far down around the perimeter as I can or to a cpl inches below where I don't see the spalling anymore. I've been knocking off the excess loose concrete with anything hard enough, a tire iron, hammer whatever. Then scrape off excess loose rocks/concrete with a stiff wire brush. Brush off with a little hand broom. Then wet the area with some water. I didn't use mortar but some hydraulic cement (Quickrete) mixed it up until in was kinda soupy (it sets up VERY VERY quickly) I found making it soupier give me a little extra time to work with it. I use a trowel and something to catch it from falling and smooth it (I have no idea what its called, I'm new to this whole repair thing). Take a wet sponge and smooth it out. So far so good. Only issue is it a little uneven (probably from me not evenly applying the concrete) but its up there and looks much better than the large chunks and jaggedness of the crumbling. I'm going to follow up with some waterproof paint. It was also recommend I get an interior drainage system. Hope this helps!

    I see you post is kind of old what did you wind up doing?

    spalling repair.jpg
     
  17. Jun 12, 2013 #17

    nealtw

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    Looks good ,but I wouldn't paint it with a sealer. As the outside of the foundation isn't waterproof it will absorb water, and wick to the inside, but in the summer the wicking will be drawn to the outside and want to come out thru your repair, if you seal it you can expect trouble. There are paints for concrete that are like house wrap, they stop water but still allow vapour out.
    Welcome to the site.
     
  18. Jun 12, 2013 #18

    head-first

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    Hey, that looks pretty good!

    I ended up using something called "Chem-seal"... it is a concrete-based paint that breathes. I was told that water-proof paints trap moisture in the foundation brick, which is what causes spalling. With Chem-seal, it allows the moisture to enter and leave freely during the thawing/freezing process. It basically binds with the brick. I really haven't had any new spalling/cracking in the past couple years except for a couple places where I just loaded on the Chem-seal to fill the spalling instead of filling with hydraulic cement first like I should have... last summer I filled in some very large cracks around my back porch with hydraulic cement and it has not faltered a bit since. Good stuff.

    I built a large French drain on one side of my house (on the North side that has a tendency to stay wet and shaded) and another drain in the front... I think getting the water to go far enough away from the foundation is the first and most important step to avoiding water damage to the foundation. The topical applications seem more for esthetics in that regard. If you can get away with it, no paint at all seems like the best option.

    Thanks for the post. :)
     
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