repair field stone foundation topped with layer of brick


  #1  
Old 11-02-06, 05:08 AM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
repair field stone foundation topped with layer of brick

Hi--

I have a water problem in my basement and I need some advice.

Here's the background info--I have a 1906 farmhouse in Nebraska with an unfinished 12 x 12 basement (one exterior wall) and the rest of the house over crawl space. The foundation is stacked fieldstone and mortar until it hits just below ground level, and then it has about a two foot high layer of brick on top of the stone. On the exterior, the brick is covered with a thin veneer of concrete. On the interior, the stone is also covered with a thin veneer layer of concrete, and the stacked brick is left uncovered and visible at the top. I need to add that when I bought the place 5 years ago, the home inspector said my stone walls were nearly two feet thick, that there were almost no signs of settling, and that this was one of the most solid old homes he'd ever inspected.

Here's my problem. I'm trying to clean the basement up for usable storage, and I noticed the concrete veneer has failed in places on the stone on the inside of the exterior wall. I pulled the bad concrete off to repatch, and found the stone and mortar underneath was damp. Some of the morter was sandy and crumbling, but I could brush back to hard morter after an inch or two with wire brush. I went outside, and noiced I have vertical cracks in the concrete covering the brick on the exterior (it looks like they were patched previously and opened up since I bought the house). I haven't noticed any other type of settling problems with the house (doors sticking, etc.)

It looks to me like the water is coming from the brick layer near near the top of the foundation. I've never seen dripping water on the wall--could it be a small water problem running between the stone and concrete causing it to fail over time?

What would be the most effective way to try to repatch the exterior and interior walls of the foundation and seal the area between the brick and the stone? If I can do this myself I need to try--I absolutely don't have the funds to hire a contractor right now unless my house is going to fall down. If I need to have this professionally done, I need to know that too. Thanks so much in advance!

Jan
 

Last edited by benandmikesmom; 11-02-06 at 06:01 AM.
  #2  
Old 11-02-06, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,130
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
repair field stone foundation topped with layer of brick

You do not have a structural problem.

You will not "waterproof" your foundation by putting on a new coat of patching material, but you will improve the appearance. You apparently do not have any leakage, but have only found moisture in the interior of the wall.

Your foundation was not built to be waterproof judging by your description of the construction and materials.

A massive gravity wall built with sandy mortar will retain a certain amount of moisture if it is available. To get the inside of the basement drier than it is, you will have to get rid of the water in the soil and around the foundation.

Dick
 
  #3  
Old 11-02-06, 07:05 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 1,405
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And if you DO reapply the stucco to the wall put ONLY a lime stucco on the wall.
 
  #4  
Old 11-02-06, 08:35 AM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks so much for the speedy reply--I'm thrilled that I don't have a structural problem! I'm still confused though--I want to patch both the concrete on the exterior, plus the concrete over the damp stone on the interior. I bought the fiber reinforced, commercial grade quickrete to repair the interior, but decided to wait to get help before I started when I saw that the stone was damp and the exterior cracked. I assumed I had to fix the exterior cracks and the dampness problem or the quickrete wouldn't hold. Can I apply ANYTHING to the damp stone on the interior and have it hold? Is there a problem with using the quickrete? I have no idea what you mean about using a limestone based product. Thanks so much in advance for your help with this. I've asked tons of questions at my home improvement store and no one knows what to do...

Jan
 
  #5  
Old 11-02-06, 10:39 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 1,405
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What has probably caused your problem is the cementious stucco on the foundation. The chances are that your crumbly mortar is, in fact, lime mortar. By then sealing it in with a cementious stucco at a later date, the moisture was sealed into the wall, preventing the natural interplay of moisture into and out of the wall.
 
  #6  
Old 11-02-06, 11:57 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,268
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For What It's Worth

Back then, stone masons building walls relied on the stone for the structural aspect of their construction. The morter simply sealed the cracks where the stones didn't join together perfectly. They knew what they were doing, unlike a great number of today's masons who typically use mortar as a structural aspect of their construction.

I personally, am not a stone basement expert - but have recently purchased a home similar to yours in construction of the basement. The previous owners covered the interior walls with Drylock (after spending thousands of dollars on the exterior of the house to get rid of a terrible leakage problem, including digging out the soil around the entire foundation and pouring a new cement barrier) - and, to date, it has been both attractive and functional. Not to say I'm an advocate of this product - just letting you know what has worked to date - for me.
 
  #7  
Old 11-02-06, 04:57 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 1,405
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thezster, that is not correct.

Today, just as back then, the mortar is used to spread the loads evenly upon the entire bearing surface of the masonry. Think of any masonry as a matrix of mortar holding the rocks or brick apart, not together.

I will agree that today there is an over emphasis on the compressive strength of the mortar, when what matters are bond and flexural strength, as well as permeability. Masons of old did not know that, of course, they just used what was available.

Breathable walls will last a lot longer than a sealed wall, when talking about structural masonry, since it is also a fact that all masonry will have moisture penetration. Another important thing to remember is that the required strength of a structural masonry member is quite low; about the strength of sun hardened mud, in fact.
 
  #8  
Old 11-02-06, 05:14 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,268
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I stand corrected. I guess the longevity of old walls compared to lots of newer ones is what I am impressed with, as well as the "fit" of the stonework then compared to now.
 
  #9  
Old 11-06-06, 07:58 AM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Guys--

Thanks so much for all the great advice, but I'm still a little lost. Will I do damage to my basement wall if I put a skim coat of the fiber reinforced quickrete over the stone on the interior to replace the failed skimcoat areas? If I shouldn't use the quickrete, what is the name of a product I CAN safely use. I'm trying to clean up the basement and paint it so I can use it for storage. Will I hurt my foundation if I paint it on the interior with a water sealer? I'm lost here. I have a beautiful, 100 year old home that I want to help, not hurt. Is there a basement pro or a super experienced do it yourselfer out there somewhere how can tell me specifically what to do? I've searched all over the web and I can't find the info I need. Thanks so much in advance!
 
  #10  
Old 11-06-06, 10:57 AM
E
Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: York haven
Posts: 111
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Two things, or more .
What is said of the old time masons is absolutely true. Their workmanship is impeccable..

Run either some good ventilation or a dehumidifier in this space.Some heat is also good in the winter..

Do everything you can to direct rainwater away from the basement.
Some basements are too low in the ground; slightly sloped concrete can help....
 
  #11  
Old 11-06-06, 03:06 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 1,405
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you use a cementious plaster/stucco/whatever, you will further damage the wall. I doubt that there are any packaged lime mortars available in your area, but they are simplicity itself to make and use, as well as costing less. The added benefit is that you will not have to paint the wall, as the lime finish itself is very decorative.

For the EXTERIOR, use a regular pre-mixed mortar to patch. Chip off any of the loose stucco, and apply the mortar mix. Som bonding agent would not hurt. If you want the entire foundation to look the same after repairing problem areas, use a sponge float and the same mortar mix to "rub" the entire area.

For the INTERIOR buy Type S Lime and masonry sand. Place the lime into 5 gallon buckets (about 1/2 bag per bucket) and gently add water to cover. Allow the covered lime to sit for 3 or 4 days. DO NOT STIR OR MIX. It will last for as long as you keep it covered with water. Pour off the excess water to use the lime putty.

To create your lime plaster, add 3 parts masonry sand by volume to the lime putty. Mix well and add any coloring agents if you do not want white walls. Apply the mix to the areas with deteriorated joints first (after cleaning them out, of course), then come back and plaster the entire wall. If possible, you should remove as much of the cementious stucco as possible, and certainly any that is loose. If it is hot and dry, you may have to mist the wall for a few days, but generally, in a basement it is not a problem. Note that it will take up to a month before the lime plaster is hard, and a year or more to fully cure.
 
  #12  
Old 11-13-06, 05:25 AM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Smile

Thanks again so much for all of your advice. I'm going to give this a shot...

Jan
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: