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jkeuning 11-11-2012 01:52 PM

Stabilize my 100-year-old concrete basement walls
My contractor told me to just chip all the stucco off, but as long as the "stucco" is not crumbling I am going to leave it.

There is one spot that is crumbling more than everywhere else and I would like to know if any of you have dealt with something like this. It is pretty easy to remove the material at the bottom of the walls. Kicking and pulling chips away at it. But if I do not mess with it, it is stable enough.

Is there a product I can spray or brush on the loose surface to add a bit of control? As I said, it is not crumbling on its own, and I would like to figure out if I can just add some surface structure.

Tscarborough 11-11-2012 07:28 PM

Make sure of the type of concrete, then you can determine the proper way to repair it. Chances are it is cementious, but it is in the range to not be. Pour some vinegar on it, if it bubbles it is lime based and you will have both a clue to the failure and an indication of the correct fix.

jkeuning 11-12-2012 06:11 PM

Yes bubbles. Thanks!

Tscarborough 11-13-2012 02:27 PM

The cementious stucco that was applied over the lime concrete foundation does not allow the lime concrete to breathe, hence it gets waterlogged and fails. Never apply cementious stucco over lime mortar/concrete/plaster.

jkeuning 11-13-2012 02:46 PM

Great news. Thanks. Now I have a winter project.

Once I remove all the stucco, what is the best thing to do to the unfinished walls? Or instead of the "best," what are the top three options? Of course, I can leave them as is, but if there is anything to do to stabilize the material I am interested to know what it is.

jkeuning 11-13-2012 04:41 PM

I want to add -

I am not undertaking this project to dry out the basement. I understand that water and moisture need to be controlled from the outside. I also understand that sealing from the inside can create more problems (much like I am facing here!)
I am not undertaking this project to improve the appearance of the lime concrete foundation. Any work that I do in that regard will be undertaken AFTER I have stabilized the crumbling. I imagine that I might put up a stud and drywall wall a few inches in from the foundation walls. Maybe. That is a long way off.

My goal now is to take out all of the cementious stucco and then best preserve what remains. As I chip away (literally) at the project I will post some pictures.

Tscarborough 11-14-2012 08:55 AM

Lime plaster would both protect it and look good, but there is a learning curve to making and using it.

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