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Peipei9 03-29-2012 06:30 AM

Rain seepage stain removal and sealing on bare block walls
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I am a home owner with a problem and looking for advice. This will probably also turn into a DIY, unless it involves gear and expertise that I ain't got.

I live in a condo and a number of us home owners are having this issue. We are about to go all law-suity on the builder and architect over this.

My condo has brick walls. The exterior is supposed to be sealed with a transparent sealant and the interior is bare. These were built in 2008, Arizona desert environment.

Unfortunately, the sealant job did not hold and water is coming through the exterior walls during heavy rains, which has happened three or four times in the last two years.

You can see pictures of this here. Some of these pictures show water coming through, and some show the stains left over afterward

The sealant, which has been applied twice, is apparently BASF Enviroseal 7, which is a water-based silane/siloxane sealer.

The architect's current theory as to why the sealant isn't holding is that when the walls were erected, they were sandblasted heavily and the mortar was raked to give it a certain look, rather than left flush or concave. Because of the opportunity of the raked shelf on the block, the water is just sitting in the joints and getting absorbed in. The sealant was sprayed on, and with such a surface type, it is hard to get the sealant applied to the raked shelves.

I was told that a BASF rep has come out and run tests (rhylo tube test?) on the walls and agrees that water is going right through. In some areas it is going through the block itself, but mostly it's shooting straight through the grout lines.

My two questions are:

1.) How do we treat the stains?

2.) Any recommendation for sealing the walls?

We are currently negotiating with the builder and architect that they will have the grout lines filled with a specific product designed for this. A significant concern of ours is the natural block look, so we don't want to paint the walls. Any sealer will need to be transparent, or blend in with the block and grout. The first thing the builder wanted to do was just paint the walls gray. Basically, they wanted to take the cheapest way out possible (I know, shocking). Once we started spreading pictures around town and the architect became involved, they got a little more serious.

We are not sure if the company that applied the sealant did it right or not. We are still getting info on that and have a meeting with the BASF rep next week.

We are also looking to hire a 3rd party expert to give us some opinions.

As for the stains, that's where you guys can really help. What will and won't work on this? Sand/walnut blasting? Acid wash? I am looking for a nice uniform appearance across the entire wall.

I will check back here over the next couple of days. Any advice or comments would be appreciated.

hammerlane 03-29-2012 07:17 AM


Originally Posted by Peipei9 (Post 887772)
I was told that a BASF rep has come out and run tests (rhylo tube test?) on the walls and agrees that water is going right through.

Its referred to as a Rilem Tube.
Here is an excellent video demonstrating its application:

Good luck. It is no fun worrying each time it rains.

Peipei9 03-29-2012 05:37 PM

Thanks for that video.

A couple of clarifications...

The ceiling is metal with poured concrete, which makes up the 2nd floor. The floor on the 1st floor is polished concrete. Very industrial style.

While it is true that some of the water is coming straight through the wall, the stains at the top are from water coming in at the flashing due to bad work there. The stucco company that did it has already replaced the flashing on one unit and is coming out to do the other buildings here soon.

The efflorescence should be really easy to get off with a sprayer, but I don't know about the darkened spots.

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