Retaining wall water problems

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Old 11-17-13, 07:19 AM
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Retaining wall water problems

I have a concrete block retaining wall, about 4' high x 30' long and another section that is 2' high x 40' long. The wall was built about 20 years ago with a local contractor here in Phoenix Arizona. The exterior has a scratch coat and a couple layers of paint. Over the last 10 years, a few repairs have been made and additional coats of paint added.

The "front side" or air side is showing its age with a few 1/4" x 3' cracks and numerous spalling locations.

I want to stop the spalling and read that I can use Drylock or equivalent on the "front side" to seal it and prevent water from seeping through.

Is this the best repair method to prevent further spalling of retaining wall? Is Drylock the right product to use in this case? Also, if using a sealer like Drylock, is it necessary to remove ALL paint down to original substrate/concrete block?

Any advise is appreciated.

Note: I know I could repair from the backside, but that is a lot of dirt and added expense. I have already repaired the cracks using hydraulic water stop cement or a caulking filler (depending on size).
 
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Old 11-17-13, 11:48 AM
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Trying to seal your repaired wall with Drylock is at best, a Band-Aid approach. In fact, doing so could even hasten the deterioration of the front face of the blocks, as now the water migrating through the block units can't escape and evaporate. I've never seen properly-performing concrete block retaining walls. Even when some of the cores are filled with mortar and a few rebar, the walls are prone to moving and cracks opening up when soil forces are acting behind them.

If it was mine, I'd rebuild it using dry-stack, heavy pavers. Many colors, styles and textures are available from several manufacturers. Such are designed to move, and will never require painting or much of any maintenance like yours will.
 
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Old 11-17-13, 11:09 PM
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BridgeMan45
thanks for the suggestion. However, replacing the wall is out of the question for now.

As a point of consideration, the block retaining wall has lasted 20 years so far, without any major shifting problems and only a few cracks and seeping water spots - likely due to poor sealant covering on the back side.

So, if the "front side" of the block retaining wall is essentially a block basement/house foundation, and this product (drylock, among many others) works on a basement wall, shouldn't it work on a retaining wall too?

Thanks.
 
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