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john6214smith 05-24-2012 07:09 PM

Spalling foundation wall
When my house was 7 years old I added dirt around the poured foundation to increase the grade. At about 7 Ĺ to 8 years old, efflorescence occurred on the foundation between the ground and vinyl siding in several locations. I believe this was due to the added dirt supplying moisture to the foundation, and the water gradually wicking its way to the surface. Not knowing any better at the time, I did not clean the efflorescence off immediately, so as a result spalling occurred. About 1/8 inch of the concrete flaked off with a couple smaller areas (1 to 2 sq. inches) going 1/4 to 3/8 inches deep. Since then additional efflorescence and spalling has been very minimal to non-existent. The house is now 12 years old. There are no signs of cracking where the spalling damage occurred, so I believe there is no structural damage. However, I would like to repair the foundation cosmetically, so Iím looking for advice on both the best method and best products to use. Iím currently leaning toward Thoroseal, but am open to other suggestions. Also, to prevent future issues, I intend to seal the foundation both below and above the grade line. Thanks for any advice.

JimR1998 05-24-2012 09:45 PM

I'm a newbie so take what I say with a grain of salt...
The spalling may be due to the wall taking in moisture and going through freeze/thaw cycles, and not so much an a result of the efflorescence itself. Cleaning the efflorescence may not have helped at all.

Anyway, I chimed in mainly because I just used Thoroseal to seal an exterior wall and hide the block joints. It works very well keeping the moisture out, but after two coats the joints aren't totally invisible (still a huge improvement). I may do a third coat.

It's an easy DIY job, but messy and you want to work out of direct sun. In your case I think you'll want to powerwash the wall before you start. Make sure you have a HEAVY DUTY 1/2" drill for mixing and follow the directions. Keep a hose handy. The wetter I was able to keep the surface, the easier it went on and the nicer it dried. Think of it as painting on gritty pancake batter. You'll end up with a heavy brushed coating, but it won't level out even the smaller holes/pits you describe. It will give you waterproofing but not a smooth surface, if that's what you desire.

I don't know how much above ground vs. below ground you have to do, but you may also consider another product called Thoroseal Foundation Coating. You can mix it a lot thicker than the regular Thoroseal and apply with a trowel. I would have gone with that as a parge coat if I had better troweling skills.

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