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Dusty 08-09-2006 02:31 AM

What to do? Who to call?
Hi, this is my first post and somehow it seems ironic that I can't even figure out which forum I should post this question into.

I live in Alberta Canada and have purchased a 1930 bungalow similar to one I owned for over a dozen years. I also live in a very hot market so there could be no conditions such as having the house inspected but having had one before I was not feeling too concerned as many things are similar. Have no fear, just for peace of mind I am going to call in an inspector but it may not be until fall. I'm also pretty experienced when it comes to fixing old house things now but this one has me wondering.

The issue is the basement walls are spalling. I truly believe it's decades old but it looks bad and I would like to fix it. There are some rather large areas (like 5 or 6' by 4 or 5' and maybe 1/2" deep). Someone painted over some areas, others are exposed but cleaned (no loose stuff) and still other places need some cleaning to get back to solid concrete. There are no signs of water damage or moisture. It does look like previous owner tried some sort of cement in a couple of spots, but didn't do it right or had the wrong cement and it's not adhering.

I know someone who said she got her basement (which was similar) skim coated 30 years ago and it's been fine. What she can't remember is who she called. I have no idea who does this type of work or who I should be consulting about it. So if I am looking in the yellow pages, where would I look?

Better yet, can I fix this myself? I have done a bit of reading but it usually applies to a horizontal surface so I am not sure if this is the same. It seems to indicate I need to clean all the loose stuff away, use some sort of adhesive or bonding agent and a product (one I have heard of when it comes to horizontal surfaces) like TopNBond. Meanwhile, I am not sure I am getting the right information and do not want to do this twice or worse, make it worse.

Please, any advice is appreciated.

Dusty 06-07-2007 03:58 AM

Okay I'm getting kinda desperate now...
I've had to drag up my very first post here hoping someone can help. Since moving in I really haven't figured out what to do with that spalling cement but things may have just come to a head in that regard. Note: the budget I had for repairs on this house is pretty much used up now so I need DIY now.

Yesterday, huge freak thunderstorm dropped more rain in 4 hours than we usually get in a month. I thought I had made it through (vs some folks who were badly flooded out) until I noticed some puddles on my basement floor today. It looks to me like most of it seeped between the foundation walls and floor which happened to me in another old house if there was a deluge of water and it was solved by spraying some leak stopper stuff so I can use that again in those areas.

Meanwhile with this house and it's spalling walls, I noticed one wall is damp in places. The water must be soaking through. In the year I've now been here there hasn't been any other water problems down there but I am taking this as an indication of problem areas that need to be addressed.

This was one time when eaves troughs etc. didn't seem to make much difference as the water was just coming too fast for it end up flowing away properly (some paved roads actually heaved). The ground was just saturated and I know underground streams run on the rock under this area so water must have been coming at the foundation from all directions.

What can I do (that's cheap and easy)?

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