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Old 08-13-2011, 07:43 PM   #1
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Foundation Coating?


Anyone know what the standard foundation coating is that the mason uses when he builds a new concrete block foundation? This is the cosmetic cement looking coating that goes on the blocks above grade. Is it mortar? Is it sand mix? I see thousands of homes and they all have the same standard coating. There are a lot of repair products available but I am just looking for the basic stuff that the mason most likely used. I removed some steps from my home and this coating wasn't behind them and I would just like to blend in a repair as best as possible.

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Old 08-13-2011, 10:52 PM   #2
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Anyone know what the standard foundation coating is that the mason uses when he builds a new concrete block foundation? This is the cosmetic cement looking coating that goes on the blocks above grade. Is it mortar? Is it sand mix? I see thousands of homes and they all have the same standard coating. There are a lot of repair products available but I am just looking for the basic stuff that the mason most likely used. I removed some steps from my home and this coating wasn't behind them and I would just like to blend in a repair as best as possible.
Posting a photo will help, but it sounds like a parge coating of a mortar mix.

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Old 08-14-2011, 09:27 AM   #3
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Foundation Coating?


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Posting a photo will help, but it sounds like a parge coating of a mortar mix.
I will try and get a photo later today but I am not sure how much it will help. All I am looking for is what masons used to coat concrete block foundation walls above grade for about the last 50 years or so. You see the same thing on at least 90% of the homes built. I am pretty sure it is just sand mix.
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:35 PM   #4
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Foundation Coating?


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I will try and get a photo later today but I am not sure how much it will help. All I am looking for is what masons used to coat concrete block foundation walls above grade for about the last 50 years or so. You see the same thing on at least 90% of the homes built. I am pretty sure it is just sand mix.

I started going with my Dad on jobs 25 years ago. He's been at it for nearly 50 years now. I don't think either of us would know exactly what you mean. Where are you? Here, 90% of basements don't get plastered above grade with anything, the block is simply exposed.
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:00 PM   #5
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I started going with my Dad on jobs 25 years ago. He's been at it for nearly 50 years now. I don't think either of us would know exactly what you mean. Where are you? Here, 90% of basements don't get plastered above grade with anything, the block is simply exposed.
I am in the NE (NJ). Every home with foundation is pretty much the same. They are concrete block set on a footing. The concrete block is covered with waterproofer (usually tar or similar) up to grade level and then a smooth sand type mix above grade. I think the mix is more cosmetic than anything. It hides the block and mortar lines. I can't ever remember seeing a foundation poking out of the ground with the block and mortar lines exposed. Being that every home is the same here in NJ and also surrounding states it must be part of the code.
Here is a picture I found of my house. It's not the best picture for what I am trying to show here, but it was already in the computer. Notice how the visible foundation to the left of the steps has a coating on it. I can't imagine just having exposed block there.

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Old 08-15-2011, 04:33 PM   #6
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Foundation Coating?


Here's another. This is new construction I just happen to be driving by today. I wish the mason was there. I could have asked. Notice the absence of any coating in the center of the pic where the steps are going.. This is the kind of area I need to fill in on my foundation.
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:55 PM   #7
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Foundation Coating?


The best answer to your questions probably lies in the lower left corner of the second pic. Those look to be extra bags of mortar under the plastic cover.

Here, it would most often be Type M mortar which is the same thing we use to lay the block. Some places, Type S is a little more common, especially above grade. Both are mixed about 1:4 with mason sand and water. Regardless of which one you use, I wouldn't expect a perfect match in color due to the age of the existing.
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:31 PM   #8
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After way more research than I wanted to do on this I ended up picking up some type S mortar. I even ended up speaking to Sakrete and Quikrete reps. Type M and S are almost the same. S has a little less portland cement and a little more lime than M. I am still suprised that the concrete block is left exposed without a parge coat in your area.

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Old 08-15-2011, 09:31 PM   #9
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If it's just a course or so of block, it was typically left exposed. Although, sometimes it's sides, sometimes it's plastered, sometimes it get's a thin veneer, sometimes it get's split face block on the exposure right away, etc.... There certainly was no normal protocol on how this was done years age.

As a caution, I would suggest mixing a little of the pre-mix S up first, let it dry a few days in the sun, and put it next to existing plaster to make sure you're OK with the color variation. The pre-mix S often has a little bit of a blue-ish hue to it.
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Old 08-16-2011, 08:53 AM   #10
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If it's just a course or so of block, it was typically left exposed. Although, sometimes it's sides, sometimes it's plastered, sometimes it get's a thin veneer, sometimes it get's split face block on the exposure right away, etc.... There certainly was no normal protocol on how this was done years age.
It's funny how things are done differently in differnt parts of the country. In the NE close to 100% of the foundations have the coating as I pictured for the last 50 years or more.

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As a caution, I would suggest mixing a little of the pre-mix S up first, let it dry a few days in the sun, and put it next to existing plaster to make sure you're OK with the color variation. The pre-mix S often has a little bit of a blue-ish hue to it.
Thanks, I will do that and post back with my results. I also want to go by the site where I got the above pic and see if I can catch the mason there just to see what he uses. At this point I bet they all use the same mortar that they use for the block. Most likely type M. Type S with it's additional lime provides a little better sticking power for vertical surfaces but to keep things simple I bet they use the same type M as for the block. I prefer to use the type S as long as the difference isn't noticable.

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Old 08-16-2011, 11:16 AM   #11
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In Ohio we call it Thoroseal.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:23 AM   #12
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Foundation Coating?


Though it's nearly always called parging, the actual term is "parget." Here's a link explaining what it is:

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/parget
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:56 PM   #13
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In Ohio we call it Thoroseal.
But the Thoroseal is also a paint.
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:35 PM   #14
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In Ohio we call it Thoroseal.
Thoroseal is a brand name for a line of cement based waterproofing products. It's used more for specific applications where waterproofing is required. It's not the typical stuff a mason uses on a new foundation.

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Old 08-16-2011, 06:45 PM   #15
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Thoroseal is a brand name for a line of cement based waterproofing products. It's used more for specific applications where waterproofing is required. It's not the typical stuff a mason uses on a new foundation.
Exactly Mpnret, I was just throwing it out there........I've seen it occasionally used above grade to create a stucco type effect. Not often, mind you, but every so often.

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