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Pieces of basement wall crumbling off. How to fix?

Pieces of basement wall crumbling off. How to fix?


Old 08-30-09, 03:54 AM
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Pieces of basement wall crumbling off. How to fix?

I live in a home build in 1913, so the basement is pretty old, but in overall good condition. I have an issue where what i believe to be be some type of parge coat flaking off my basement walls. What i'm not sure of, is what are my walls made up of. If you see the pic below, it clearly looks like the top part of the foundation is blocks, but below that, i don't know. The other pics show a piece of the wall that was bubbling up and was loose (sounded hallow when tapped) so i removed all the loose material - and the exposed foundation was the result.

So my questions are this: Is this just a parge coat that is flaking off? What do i need to do to repair it, or do i need to worry about it at all? ANd what exactly is my foundataion compsed of. It looks like concrete but it definately isn't a smooth texture like it would be now...did they just use a much bigger aggregate in the mix back then?

My main concern is moisture infiltration. THere are spots where is seems dirt is even coming through small holes, and there is a white or pinkish poweder surrounding many of the area (effloresence?) It also looks like the walls were either painted and/or parge coated, so can i spot repair these areas with hydrolic cement or would the covering cause bonding issues?

ANy help would be appriciated, i've been trying to figure this out since we moved in years ago.

This is approx 18-24" accross

This particular area is about 4-5". NOtice the dirt and what i assume is efflorescence.

Most of the basement has a relative smooth surface, of what i assume is a parge coat. However i have many large and small areas that look like this - this one is about 2-3 feet in size

This is the tope of the foundation - unless i am mistaken, those look like blocks under the surface. Looks like it stops right at ground level, then maybe is poured concrete underneath?

Last edited by crashball; 08-30-09 at 04:18 AM.
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Old 08-30-09, 04:24 PM
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The pics definitely help. What is the scale of the last pic?? brick is roughly 2x8". block is 8x12. It looks like block, but not concrete block like what is available today. It would likely have been cinder block, and probably a parge coat. Literally, coal cinders with a cement mix. I assume you have a moisture or water problem??? Maybe not major but that is what the flaking is telling me. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are working and that they direct water at least 6' away from the foundation area.
Old 09-03-09, 05:59 AM
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The last pic is about a 3-4 foot section of my wall. You are correct, my moisture problems are minor for the most part. The walls on the sides of the house with the gutters are set back from the roofline a good 5-6 feet due to porches on both sides, so the gutter placement shouldn't be a problem.

Is there a way to repair these spots? I doubt i can (or should) put a drylock type of product over the parge coat that is already painted - especially since it might flake right off anyway.

Any other ideas of how i can patch the damaged areas, and also how i might be able stop the moisture infiltration (short of digging out my foundation)?
Old 03-26-13, 10:22 PM
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I have the exact same problem. Areas crumbling, effervescence, floor 'sweating', etc. My water issue is where the basement floor and wall meet. Can I do anything to fix this short of digging out the foundation? I was also told at my home inspection (4years ago) that I should put in window wells. I'm afraid this could make my water issue worse. Thoughts?
Old 03-27-13, 03:32 AM
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Anne, welcome to the forums! You are answering to a 4 year old thread, so the original posters won't help. It is always best to start your own thread.

Hey, since you are here. Water problems in basements will always have to be remedied from the outside. Nothing you do on the inside will "waterproof" it. You can install french drains, but have you really stopped the water......no. Your problem, in particular, is indicative of lack of foundation sealing when the house was built, whenever that was.

If your basement windows are at or below grade level, then of course installing window wells will help keep water away in those areas. Installing window wells is only half the program, however. You must give water a way to go away from your foundation, either via landscape drainage or dry well, which all must be away from the house's foundation. This will require digging trenches from a drain incorporated in the window well floor to your exit destination.

I know this isn't what you wanted to hear, but time has proven that water will find its way where it wants to go and make a path.
Old 03-27-13, 07:51 AM
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Yep, water needs to be addressed from the outside. Grading, gutters and downspout extensions are my first thought, as well as specific inspection of the area where you know water is entering the house.
Old 06-05-13, 07:44 AM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Canada
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Same Issue

Hi Anne et al.,

Our house was built the same year and the basement is made of brick and mortar and was painted over. We have the same issues.

There is some old cinderblock that was used as well. The walls look like barnacles on the bottom of a boat. I've scraped and painted it - I removed whatever was loose. Sprayed Borax first then bleach to kill the mold spores. Let it dry then used the "Watertite" red label paint for the walls. I did two coats as after the first one, there was some water or something coming through as I was seeing light orange-red markings on the wall in several spots. It seems to have held up well for the past month or so.
We have placed the downspouts at least 8-10 feet from the house and I put down several layers of heavy duty plastic sheeting 3-4 feet out from the house and about 4 inches up the walls and then put river rock on top of it to keep the rain away from the house and prevent more roots from growing into the walls.

I'm really not sure what to do with the 'barnacling' of the walls - there is some buckling and large gaps of cement missing -I tried to patch what I could with hydraulic cement then put the "Watertite" over it.
Any other suggestions? French drains etc and the obvious outside digging up and re-waterproofing membrane is not possible.

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