What's happening here to the concrete walls on my driveway?

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Old 02-21-16, 01:02 PM
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What's happening here to the concrete walls on my driveway?

My driveway dips below ground level and I have concrete? walls holding back the ground on each side.

cropped wall

The house was built ~2 years ago. I noticed today some cracking on the side with a visible defect. Inside the hole I can see solid concrete there.

hole

What's happening here? What kind of repair person do I need to fix this?
 
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Old 02-21-16, 03:26 PM
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That looks like a block wall with a cement parge...... is that correct ?

It looks like the parge coating is what's cracking.
 
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Old 02-21-16, 06:07 PM
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Hi,

Thanks for the reply. I was not very familiar with those terms, but after some googling, it does sound like that is exactly what is happening.

It's unfortunate it's only lasted 2 years. It is a new build, so maybe the settling of the walls + high moisture here in the NW have conspired against it lasting longer. Will there be irreparable/more costly damage if I do not repair it soon?
 
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Old 02-21-16, 06:23 PM
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If you get freezing weather there, then that can certainly accelerate the damage as water gets in behind the failed area, and then freezes, which extends the damage, and so on. If you don't get freezing temps, water getting in will still lead to more damage, but not as quickly.

A Mason would be the professional that would fix this, most likely by removing any loose parging, applying a bonding agent, and then applying new parging to replace the old. He or she can also examine the rest of the wall and advise you what action you can take to prevent future damage.
 
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Old 02-22-16, 02:29 PM
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It looks more like a CIP, reinforced concrete wall instead of a block wall, based on the corner chamfers along the top and lack of any mortar lines reflecting through the parging. Lack of any visible weep holes or other drainage to reduce the amount of natural runoff behind the wall may be a contributing factor for the parging failure.
 
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Old 02-22-16, 02:41 PM
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Paint jobs on retaining walls are doomed to failure unless the backside of the wall is sealed and adequate drainage provided - I suspect the same is true for a retaining wall that is stucco'd/parged.
 
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Old 02-22-16, 04:57 PM
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Thank you all for the comments. I took a look at it today with a concrete contractor. The top of the wall and driveway-side are parge coated. The side actually adjacent to the ground/dirt is not parged and just bare. It actually looks fine that way to me. Maybe the builders parged the visible wall to improve the aesthetics. Is there a reason not to leave concrete bare in this case?

The large defect in the photo is of course just the most obvious site, as there are several other areas where the parge is starting to separate. The wall on the other side of the driveway has visible small cracks as well but it's not separating yet.

Contractor recommended tearing down the parge on both sides, applying cement glue, and re-parging it. $1500. ~275 sq feet of wall work, ~2 days of labor. Thoughts?
 
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Old 02-26-16, 08:03 PM
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It's probably a fair price, but more than I would be comfortable paying. Did you ask him how he plans to remove all of the existing parging? And how long he warrantees his new parging?
 
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Old 02-29-16, 12:19 PM
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I didn't get into the technique they were going to use to remove the parging. But the work is guaranteed for 10 years.

This particular contractor didn't show up to go over the contract at the agreed upon time though, so I'm looking for other estimates. His revised price was $1150 when he finally got back to me.
 
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