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Old basement, crumbling parging - replace or cover?

Old basement, crumbling parging - replace or cover?

Old 07-08-14, 06:39 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Collingswood, NJ
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Old basement, crumbling parging - replace or cover?

In my 1920s home, the walls were parged with the metal screen and the rough concrete coat a long time ago. In some spots either the screen/concrete is coming off the wall, or the concrete is crumbling.

My first thought was to just get it re-parged. Pull down as much as possible, put up new screen, re-coat and then paint (or not).

Money is not a big concern, but most places we have talked to have been down on re-parging the walls, and rather suggest putting up an insulating layer on the walls. Unfortunately the stickies on here for basement wall insulation do not work, but I have seen in various places that foam and other layers right up against the wall seem to be current best practice.

The basement is not finished, and I do not plan to do so. My greatest concern besides cosmetic of parging crumbling/falling off, is prevention of mold. It seems that new building code demands insulation of foundation, and best practices from various experts seems to be to have a foam insulation layer against the concrete, but not bonded to it. However, I know that our basement has typically been fairly moist - we have to run a big santa fe dehumidifier to get the humidity to around 50%. We have no leaks, and never see standing water, but since the poured walls do seep some moisture through, if these foams and other layers serve as a vapor barrier, then there will be a more moist environment at the wall/foam inner wall layer. Maybe that is good, maybe not - seems best practice, recommended though...

But will this cause mold? If there is a gap, will it breathe and Ill still be running a dehumidifier like mad?

Im not looking to finish the basement, or to stop leaks as I dont have any. Just want to fix the cosmetic issues with the parging, stabilize that, and then control the moisture ingress into the space IF isolating it is the best practice is and will make the basement dryer without adverse effect.

If putting up and sealing foam panels or other radiant/vapor barriers against the wall is the best practice, Im good with it. I think it MAY be a DIY effort then though... Im for giving it a try... But wanted to see what everyone thought about best practice and if going this sort of route is smart in the long run or just asking for mold...

mold vs. lots of electricity with dehumidifiers may be the tradeoff...

Old 07-09-14, 04:41 AM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: usa
Posts: 1,348
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can't really ' see ' what's happening w/o putting eyes AND hands on your wall(s) but suspect moisture's caused the loosening of parging which isn't uncommon after # of years,,, IF it were ours in your situation, i'd just run the dehumidifier after pulling down all the loose parge coat,,, certainly not attractive but that's not your goal as i read the op,,, after all, conc, according to aci, isn't waterproof unless the design mix goal is 5,000psi,,, there's some fudging factors involved but bear in mind waterproofing is ALWAYS done from the outside - inside its defined as ' water management '

fyi, ambient earth temp is usually 63f - 67f range

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