Poured Concrete Foundation -- Am I in the right forum?


Old 06-21-13, 09:57 AM
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Poured Concrete Foundation -- Am I in the right forum?

My New York state raised ranch is 50 years old. When we purchased it 15 years ago, we painted the foundation with a waterlock type of paint. I've attached pictures of what has happened over the years.

I'm sure that some of the damage was caused by poor gutters and downspouts, which have been replaced. However, I believe that the waterproof paint was a large contributor.

Currently, I'm scraping off the paint which results in a fair amount of concrete (sand) material falling from the bubbled paint.

What is the best way to fix this problem and make it attractive (something that it hasn't been in far too many years)? I don't want to run down to Lowes and grab the first thing that's advertised for concrete. That's pretty much what I did fourteen years ago and the results (obviously) were NOT good.

Hopefully, my photos have attached and will give you a better idea of what I'm talking about.

Thank you!
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Old 06-22-13, 04:51 AM
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No hope or just no answer yet?

Am I understanding this correctly? Seventy-one people (the number of times this post has been viewed) are as much at a loss as to what I can do with my foundation as I am?

Are there no "do it yourself" solutions for this problem?
Old 06-22-13, 05:02 AM
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Why do you think the paint caused the problem? Paint should have protected the foundation. If the paint stopped moisture from being able to pass out of the wall - you have other problems.

I'm not a mason but I'd get a bag of mortar or stucco mix and trowel it over the de-laminated concrete.
Old 06-22-13, 05:40 AM
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Many people view posts out of interest, sometimes hoping to gain information. From midnight to 7am, I'd say it was due to a sleep process I agree with Marksr, the paint didn't cause the problem. The concrete appears to be spalling, indicating a bad pour with an inferior product at the time the house was built. Hopefully it is only "skin deep", and a surface job would restore a nice looking foundation. Are there any other houses near yours that are experiencing something similar?
Old 06-22-13, 06:21 AM
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Thanks so much for the replies.

I suspected the paint because someone (at some time over the past 14 years) had told me that concrete needs to "breathe" and that preventing it from doing so is bad to do.

I don't see any other house around here having a similar problem. I do know that the guy who built the house worked for IBM and built a couple of houses "as a hobby." The house across the street was built by him but was built on a cinderblock foundation.

Could inadequate gutters and downspouts do that much damage to a foundation? I have no problem with the foundation or the paint where the foundation is entirely above ground (front of the house).

In order to do the mortar and stucco fix, do I have to prep the surface in any particular way (other than to removed all the paint and dust particles)? Also, would it be okay to pressure wash the areas to be resurfaced (forgive me if that's a stupid question considering water most likely was the culprit in the first place)?
Old 06-22-13, 07:20 AM
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The problem with just repairing the surface is that you may not be eliminating the source of the problem. Moisture moving up through the foundation is looking for a place to evaporate. Its choices are to the inside or outside, or both. I'm not a pro on this, but you issue might be starting below the ground with moisture being able to soak into the concrete. A 50 year old home would have had a simple coating of tar below grade, which we now know does little to prevent moisture intrusion.

Eliminating surface water is a start.

Old 06-22-13, 02:24 PM
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I read the post earlier so one of those views was me. But after a three hour long wine tasting I doubt my post would have been much use... Comical or obnoxious yes, but helpful not so much.

It looks like you have more than simple efflorescence or surface spalling. Concrete can fail for a number of reasons and many can not be fixed by a coat of paint. If the concrete was too wet when poured or if the sand in the mix was not clean or contaminated with salt the concrete can start to decompose. Unfortunately there is not much you can do about it and it looks like you don't really need to worry about it too much. I imagine much of this was going on before you painted years ago, perhaps painting over soft or decomposed concrete.

I'm no concrete expert but I'd start with a thorough pressure washing to remove loose or soft concrete. Once that's off you can decide if you want to give it a skim coating of mortar or go back with another coat of paint. In the end I bet at least part of the reason your previous paint came off was lack of surface preparation. I'm leaning towards a mortar skim coat to fill in the divots. Then paint with a coarse masonry foundation paint intended to create a gritty texture.
Old 06-22-13, 05:52 PM
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LOL... I like comical but not obnoxious so much. Thanks for waiting to post! I'm glad to hear that pressure washing could be an option. This sounds like a reasonable and doable plan. Thank you, Pilot Dane.
Old 06-22-13, 06:14 PM
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If you do power wash, make sure you remove as much of the existing paint to avoid future spalling.

I have seen high definition photos of slices from unspalled areas taken from a wall that were next to a similar condition. They showed microscopic cracks in the concrete that had not spalled off yet, but was waiting to do it. Even good paint if applied in many coats, can become a vapor barrier.

The last coat may have been enough to put it "over the edge" and let go in the area because of not breathing. Usually, they spalled pieces come off in sheets up to 3/8" thick held together by the paint coats.


Last edited by Concretemasonry; 06-22-13 at 06:15 PM. Reason: spelling
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