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Old 09-23-2010, 09:33 AM   #1
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crumbly interior basement wall


I have a 1940's house with poured concrete basement in SW Virginia. I want to know what to put on the interior basement walls. The basement was dry but damp before a gutter problem last spring. We are handling moisture by regrading dirt against the foundation, fixing the gutter, starting to run a dehumidifier, and have already painted dry-lock on one of the exterior foundation walls, but only about 1 foot below grade. I'm after an empty unfinished basement that i can easily keep dry and clean, and insulate the band.

Most of the walls are painted and have some places where paint is loose and concrete underneath is crumbly. Walls in the old coal room were never painted, and in places have a 1/8" skin that crumbles off with a thin layer of loose sand behind. If I brush it, I can get down to a fairly solid surface. Crumbly parts were there before last springs gutter problem.

What can I put on these crumbly sections after brushing them down to a solid surface? I think I want the walls to be vapor permeable, so I don't lock moisture in the wall. I read "building science" report for mixed-humid new construction so I think I'm on the right track, but don't know what product. to use. Flat latex paint, old fashioned white-wash, some kind of skim coat of mortar? I appreciate your advice and experience.

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Old 06-15-2011, 09:58 PM   #2
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crumbly interior basement wall


Looks like no one replied to your post yet... I have a similar issue where bare walls in my 1929 basement have extensive crumbly surfaces... looks like an attempt was made to cover it in the past (drylok?) but moisture from behind slowly won out.

Am thinking that a good application of hydraulic cement on these areas followed by drylok (or similar) would be best.

Thoughts? Thanks!

(I realize that the best way to go might be to excavate outside the foundation, etc, however this is not in the cards at the moment and am just trying to get a handle on the interior... otherwise basement is mostly dry year round)

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Old 06-15-2011, 10:30 PM   #3
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crumbly interior basement wall


If the concrete is crumbling, the only thing you can do, is to jack the structure up to support it, and build a new wall to replace the one that is falling apart. There is no shortcuts, quick fixes in a situation like this.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:14 AM   #4
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crumbly interior basement wall


there is NO coating ( particularly the 2 previously mentioned ) which will stop moisture transmission thru anything let alone concrete,,, perchance it might be possible, that would not stop water/vapor from penetrating to the depth of the coating,,, there are few coatings that are moisture sensitive, compatible, & resistant - none are recommended for this problem NOR are they avail at any apron/vest store,,, attack & resolve the issue where its begins - on the outside !
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if you hear it from a guy in the apron store, be VERY suspicious the mtl/method will work,,, when it time to build something together, they won't answer phones NOR help
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:49 AM   #5
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crumbly interior basement wall


If you don't allow the moisture/vapor to dry to the interior, you will never be able to keep any coating on the interior long term. The current situations of the Drylock peeling & crumbling off is all the evidence you need. Some basements simply aren't effectively finished without inevitable problems down the road. Or, address the issues on the exterior beforehand.
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Old 06-24-2011, 11:17 AM   #6
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crumbly interior basement wall


out of sight is out of mind,,, you could use gawda'mighty-seal 1001 & the leaking water will STILL penetrate the wall,,, address from the exterior OR put in a sump/pump/franch drain & live w/it.

in my 39yrs of waterproofing i have often been accused of having a belt AND suspenders mentality when resolving wtr issues,,, my reply is always the same - i do NOT like coming back to fix things i shouldda fixed the 1st time.

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