Masonry wall finish not looking so good

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-21-10, 11:21 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 24
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Unhappy Masonry wall finish not looking so good

We had a masonry retaining wall built around our patio and the finish isn't what we expected. We elected masonry over other materials because we thought it would complement the concrete foundation of our house better than brick or stone.

The wall is made of 12" concrete filled block with a two coat parge finish on both sides. It was installed about 3 months ago and the finish is still very blotchy and wet looking in areas. It never seems to dry out. There are white swirls from the troweling. In some spots you can see the blocks telescoping through. I was told it would "dry out" to a uniform gray. I don't mind waiting, but I don't want to wait too long and find out that's not the case. It looks fine when it's soaking wet.

We think the contractor did a good job. If we have to paint it we will, but we thought it would look a lot better.

Has anyone had experience with parge finishes like this? Thanks.





 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-22-10, 04:46 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,967
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
Nice wall. What did they waterproof the back with? They should not have backfilled a parged finish. Weeping water will always be present and the brick outline will almost always "telegraph" to the surface with the moisture. I am assuming those are electrical cables for future use. Are they buried in the wall or do they penetrate from behind? How did they seal the holes made for the cable?
 
  #3  
Old 12-22-10, 04:56 AM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 1,396
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It may not ever bleach out to a uniform color. A lot of it depends on their method of parging. If they wet their tool before using it to apply the topcoat, or if the wall was too wet when they applied it, they created a higher water to cement ratio in some spots than in others. This causes the cement to bleach out lighter in color. You see the same thing when a concrete finisher wets his broom prior to texturing a driveway. The first pass of the texturing broom (when it still has excess water in it) will bleach out to a lighter color than the next few passes of the broom (when the bristles are dryer). When this happens, the driveway assumes a striped appearance.
If you do decide to paint, make sure the wall is completely dry. Failure to do so will make the paint flake off.
 
  #4  
Old 12-22-10, 05:29 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 46,498
Received 166 Votes on 147 Posts
I would add that paint will fail if the backside wasn't waterproofed. It should have been coated with a foundation grade tar [over the stucco] and have a drain tile along with gravel installed.
 
  #5  
Old 12-22-10, 08:23 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 24
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I believe the back was waterproofed but I'm not sure with what. There is a foundation drain installed along the base. And the electric runs though the walls and not from the back.

One thing to note... the whole wall is not a retaining wall. The picture where you can slightly see a car... that's a section of wall that's exposed on both sides. But it is slightly worse where there is soil behind it.

I can't speak for wetting the trowel. I know the contractor did wait a while after we had a heavy rain before he started parging-- he said he did not want the wall wet.

One of the subs on the job said the white stuff was 'efforescnece' and it would go away once the concrete inside was fully cured.

We wanted to avoid paint for the reasons mentioned. Are there any concrete paints that are breathable?

Would it be better to have a smooth colored stucco put on? I'm not sure why we chose a parge coat instead of stucco, but I guess we should have looked into the difference.

As you can imagine the wall wasn't cheap and we're not thrilled with the appearance right now.
 
  #6  
Old 12-22-10, 02:44 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 46,498
Received 166 Votes on 147 Posts
Effervescence is caused by moisture going thru the masonry. Latex paint will breath more than a solvent based coating will. While I've used concrete stains on floors, I've never used a concrete stain on a wall. If I was to paint the wall, I'd prime with either a thinned down block fill or a masonry primer and then use a quality latex house paint for the finish coat. I'd paint both sides of the wall including the top. That would help prevent moisture from getting behind the paint and causing it to peel.

IMO, paint should be the last option as it will cause reoccurring maintenance. Pecos or one of the other masons may have some better options.
 
  #7  
Old 12-22-10, 04:00 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 399
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It looks to me as though the mason struck (tooled) some of the joints and on others simply cut the fresh mud flush with his trowel. I have alway found no matter what you do to apply a parge coat over a wall with some joints struck and some cut flush you will always be able to spot the differing appearance. I don't really know why that is other than a recessed joint that is tooled is a different texture than one that is cut flush. Maybe it has to do with stucco over a mortar joint as opposed to plastered over a concrete block.

One last thought. I can't really see the surface appearance of your stucco but perhaps a textured or matted look would hide some of this mason's big sweeps. I think I might have preferred a series of smaller horizontal arcs as opposed to a series of full length C's. The walll has a nice appearance and I'm sure will not be going anywhere soon. Remember that once you paint or seal you have limited your options. Quick -crete has a great pre mixed and colored stucco that would definitely make a great additional coat. I troweled some of that stuff on a block masonry wall 20 years ago and it hasn't let go at all . that wall gets a roller coat of latex solid color stain (Olympic) to freshen that white up about every 8 years.

Good luck



bs5
 
  #8  
Old 02-24-11, 04:26 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 24
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
How best to refinish surface?

I thought it would be better to bump this topic than start another.

What would be the best coating to use assuming we're looking for a more uniform color AND that there is some water seepage into the wall? I'd prefer something cementious rather than just paint, but I'm not sure about porous vs. breatheable vs. sealer, etc.

We're OK with the texture so I'm not sure if stucco is the right product.

quickcrete has a Heavy Duty Masonry Coating which can be applied with a brush-- a concrete brush I'm assuming. It seems like it fits the bill but not sure?

Any other recommendations? Products or manufacturers?

Now that I'm "sealing in" any water that gets into the wall, does that affect structure or longevity? Is it any more likely to cause freezing issues? Will it stop the efforvencense(sp?) from coming through?

I'd like to make this a DIY project this spring. I'm a little uneasy about re-troweling a new finish but might give it a try. I'd much prefer something brushable. I got a quote for stucco and it was almost $1800 for the exposed 300sqft.

Regarding the water seepage.... It would appear some is coming from the back where spots weren't waterproofed. And also from the stone cap which has masonry joints and only a 1" lip, so water rolls right around onto the face.

Thanks again for your help.
 
  #9  
Old 02-24-11, 05:45 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Good call on 'bumping' the thread rather than starting over. Keeps everything together. Keep that in mind.

As far as what to do -- I have no idea. I'm a deck contractor!! Let the masons coach you along.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


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