Stucco damage over cement block retaining wall


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Old 06-28-14, 09:59 AM
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Stucco damage over cement block retaining wall

Howdy ... trying to get advice on the best way to approach repairing the stucco damage on this cement block retaining wall. Moisture from within the wall appears to be the cause of the damage.

1. before repair, how can I avoid having the same thing happen again?

2. Should all this stucco be removed and then totally redone, or should I repair the damage and then paint over?

The top layer is totally shot with much of it having come loose and there are cracks throughout the sides:



 
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Old 06-28-14, 03:24 PM
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The cap blocks look rough are they loose? I'd repair everything that is damaged/loose at a bare minimum. The top should have a coat of stucco/mortar over it to help prevent moisture from entering the block. Once the block work is repaired, a good coat of primer followed by an elastomeric paint will help keep moisture from getting in the block.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 07:30 AM
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Thanks for your reply. Yes much of the top course has come loose. I don't think the damage is from external moisture as much as moisture coming from the ground inside the cement block.

My thoughts are to remove the top course and pour a layer of cement inside to seal off the moisture, then on to repair.

I am really at a loss as to how to do that. Wondering if I should try to remove all the current stucco and redo the whole job or try to repair/patch.

Any help appreciated
 
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Old 06-29-14, 08:14 AM
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It would be best to remove all of the stucco first and start over, if you do not want this to happen again.

After you remove the stucco, be sure that the blocks are secure and straight, using mortar to refasten the blocks together is ideal.

After you have a suitable foundation, I would recommend a base coat (skim coat) put on the blocks themselves that is anywhere from 1/4" to 3/8" in thickness.

On the top of the wall, put a rounded cap on it using mortar or base coat material (like marksr stated), so the water will drain off of the top and run down the sides of the wall, this will eliminate a ton of water related issues in the future.

***You can also use an acrylic type of material as a base coat that is waterproof, to keep out the majority of the water if you want.

It doesn't look like the old wall had a base coat applied, rather a finish coat applied right on top of the blocks.

After the base coat, apply a finish coat in whatever texture you like the best, or whatever matches your existing surroundings.

This would be the best way to ensure that the problem doesn't resurface again.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 08:32 AM
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when you remove 1 of the top 2" masonary units, ck to see if they're pinned to the units below,,, they should be but many times guys take shortcuts,,, expect you get many freeze/thaw cycles in co so don't expect the mortar jnts not to crack
 
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Old 06-29-14, 10:05 AM
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It took about one minute with a hammer and 3" chisel to find out this stucco is going nowhere . The pieces that are damaged and loose show that it appears to be an acrylic product that was applied directly to the block.

I was planning to replace the top course as suggested with a rounded course. What's a fellow to do with a new course on the top and acrylic stucco (with cracks) on the wall that can't be removed? As the pic above shows this is a pretty figured pattern ... how do I go about trying to match the texture of this stuff? What's the best way to repair the cracks?

thanks

Paul
 
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Old 06-29-14, 11:00 AM
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Trying to repair cracks that will continue to occur is futile. Unless the blocks are laid on a reinforced concrete footing, located below the frost line, they will continue to move and heave with freezing temperatures.
 
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Old 07-01-14, 09:06 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I am reattaching the approximately 50% of the top course that has come loose, using elastomeric patch on the exposed joints and will put three coats of elastomeric paint over the top. I will have extra paint to stay on top of any new patching that may need to be done in the future. This stucco is about 20 years old. We have been the owners for about 10 years, using it as a weekend place until moving in recently full time, so a lot of maintenance was overlooked. Hopefully staying on top of future problems will help prevent this kind of wholesale deterioration.

If "futile" actions are the only alternative to replacing the entire wall, I'm all in

Thanks again.
 
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Old 07-01-14, 09:45 AM
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As I see the situation, the problem stems from a bad design and use of the "caps".

The caps are level, so water will stand and can run down the face of the wall and infiltrating and causing other cracks. The cap should overhang the front of the wall about 1" to allow the water to drip down and not soak the wall. The classic cap for masonry walls has a shallow (1/4" to 3/8") drip edge on the bottom that is a groove parallel to the front. This drip groove stops the flow back to wall face and is cast in precast caps or can be sawed before a concrete cap unit is laid.

The new caps should be wider than the wall thickness, so check on available size units available locally. You may need a slightly thicker/higher cap depending on availability. I have seen many 2-1/2" or 3-5/8" caps used.

Proper control of the moisture is critical, since coatings are never 100% and have limited lives, so moisture will get into the masonry no matter what is used.

Your wall in not all a "retaining wall" since the upper part does not have soil behind it and it is more suject to wetting/drying and freeze-thaw cycles compared to the buried part. Do use a good, proven coating on the wall.

Dick
 
 

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