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Old 09-01-2019, 06:21 PM   #1
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How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


This is an additional problem that is connected to a previous thread (https://www.diychatroom.com/f19/wate...-walls-656419/ )

I am presently digging out around the basement walls that are below grade on two sides (please see my other thread-above). I have some areas that have cracks in the mortar on the interior walls and I need to repair one particular area right away since I will be placing a new freezer in that spot with-in the next two weeks. These cracks have been there since I bought the house in 2004 (it was built in 1978)

I was told that cement block walls are supposed to have solid concrete poured into the block every four feet and also around any windows or doors. I have attached some photos of the area that I am most concerned with. I chiseled out a small section of the cracked mortar to see if the block was filled solid with concrete--it is NOT! Is that a problem? And if so, can it be filled at this point?

Also--what type of mortar mix should I buy to fill these areas. (I was thinking Type M ? but what do I know). There is not any water leakage coming from these cracks, however I would like to bond the blocks together again (is that even possible?) and eliminate the cracks. I assume that I will find the matching cracks on the other side of the wall when I remove the dirt around that area outside to put in the new french drain. I will be patching that mortar as well.
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:35 PM   #2
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


It is my understanding that, unless the cracks are going through the block itself, rather than just the mortar. It is not a problem.

I fill those types of missing mortar joints with regular mortar, if on an inside wall, or with hydraulic cement if on an outside wall. Hydraulic cement expands as 8th cures, and forms a watertight seal.

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Old 09-02-2019, 09:11 AM   #3
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


knock a hole in the cell to find out where & IF there are grout filled core beams every 4',,, 'step cracking' is the same to us as thru block crks,,, BOTH indicate problems best addressed sooner rather than later when it will cost more & take longer

ixnay on hydraulic - we do this work for a living & rarely use hydraulic - yes, its expansive but not correct material

invisible wall pin detail attached
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:46 AM   #4
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


Quote:
Originally Posted by stadry View Post
knock a hole in the cell to find out where & IF there are grout filled core beams every 4',,, 'step cracking' is the same to us as thru block crks,,, BOTH indicate problems best addressed sooner rather than later when it will cost more & take longer

ixnay on hydraulic - we do this work for a living & rarely use hydraulic - yes, its expansive but not correct material

invisible wall pin detail attached
I'm sorry--I don't see any attachment--am I missing something?
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Old 09-02-2019, 03:28 PM   #5
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


how's this ?
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Old 09-02-2019, 11:26 PM   #6
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


Quote:
Originally Posted by stadry View Post
how's this ?
Got it. That is something that I wish the original builder had installed. However, where this house was built is NOT a area where they normally construct homes as they should be done.

The way the drawing looks, those rods can only be installed when the house is being built.

I have done a lot of work on this house in the 14 years that we have lived here and I never was able to find ANY place where the upper floors of the house were attached to the basement walls. Usually I would see threaded rods sticking up out of the cement block walls and then nuts & washers attached to the sill plates which would hold the upper floors to the basement walls.
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Old 09-02-2019, 11:34 PM   #7
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


When I was having my garage built back in 06 I was talking with the local building inspector. He told me a story about a building that he was inspecting the footer prior to pouring the concrete. All of the rebar & everything was in place per code so he signed off and left. He was driving back to the office when he remembered that he left his tape measure at the building site. So he went back to get it and when he arrived he found the workers were pulling out all the rebar!

That gives you an idea of what goes on around here!
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Old 09-03-2019, 11:19 PM   #8
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


Quote:
Originally Posted by stadry View Post
how's this ?

What are your thoughts about pumping cement into the wall at this point (that is the rear wall that has the cracks that I posted earlier). Since I will be installing a new french drain that back wall will be exposed. Can cement be pumped into that wall from the outside? (punching a hole at the top block to pump in the cement?) OR is that a waste of time & money?

The blocks on that back wall are 12" thick. I doubt that cement was pumped into that wall anyware when the house was first built!
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Old 09-04-2019, 08:23 AM   #9
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


Pumping cement into the cell area & getting a solid fill would be very difficult do to staggered joints of the block. There is a very flowable grout available but the cost would be very high $$$$.
You should look into the use of Carbon Fiber mesh installed on the exterior side.
This would require the paint & existing water proofing to be removed. Also look at applying it to the interior walls it maybe more realistic.
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Old 09-04-2019, 09:55 AM   #10
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


Quote:
Originally Posted by ClarenceBauer View Post
Pumping cement into the cell area & getting a solid fill would be very difficult do to staggered joints of the block. There is a very flowable grout available but the cost would be very high $$$$.
You should look into the use of Carbon Fiber mesh installed on the exterior side.
This would require the paint & existing water proofing to be removed. Also look at applying it to the interior walls it maybe more realistic.
Thanks for the reply. Not what I wanted to hear but I know what you are saying.

How HIGH a cost is the flowable grout? Where would I look to find this product?

Also is the flowable grout something that I could install or do I need a "professional" ?
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Old 09-04-2019, 10:18 AM   #11
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


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Originally Posted by fred93 View Post
Thanks for the reply. Not what I wanted to hear but I know what you are saying.

How HIGH a cost is the flowable grout? Where would I look to find this product?

Also is the flowable grout something that I could install or do I need a "professional" ?
You can find flowable grout @ Cathedral Stone look for JAHN M-40 they also have M30 which is very flowable also high cost.
Yes you can inject these products yourself.
You can also mix your own flowable fill the PSI is ????.
Mix 1 part cement.
2 parts Lime
1 part 120 Sieve size bagged sand.
I do have a mixture that was used that is very flowable I will dig back about 19 years & see if I can find the formula.
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:04 AM   #12
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


OK I found the info for grout mixture.
Dated March 17 1998 Section 04500
Required materials:
Hydraulic Lime.
Ceramic microspheres (Z-Lite Spheres ) found this @ Pro-Pac N.J. 908-725-5000
Sand size range 100 - 230 microns.
Water
Styrene-acrylic copolymer emulsion. this is from El-Rey Superior 200

Mixture formula
4 parts Hydrated Hydraulic Lime
1 part Sand.
4 parts Z-lite spheres
4.5 part El-Rey Superior 200 acrylic emulsion ( 10% w/v in water )
My best guess is cost was around $250.00 / $300.00 for material only. I pumped right @ 270 gallons in the walls of an Old Historical building.
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:40 AM   #13
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


I infer that the cracks haven't changed since 2004? Stair stepping is a sign of transfer of forces. If you had shifting, that would be a problem. You also say the sill is not attached to the block wall.

Looking at the photo they did not tool the outside joints, so your assumptions having no rebar, and also no horizontal ties or bond beams are probably spot on. You can go to the trouble and expense of filling the CMUs, but you probably won't be getting much bang for the buck with that. The cavity offsets and sloppy mortar build won't guarantee you'll get a full fill when dropping it in from the top block. Besides, if there is no vertical rebar into the footing it's still just an unsupported vertical cantilever anyway.

Since you don't have a connected 1st floor diaphragm to help brace the basement walls, you are probably experiencing the results of pressure from the surrounding grade. A solution that fits within the work you are already doing outside with the footing drain is to:
- apply waterproof membrane
- install dimpled plastic membrane
- backfill with 8"-12" of washed gravel next to the membrane, all the way up
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Old 09-04-2019, 10:27 PM   #14
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


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Originally Posted by 3onthetree View Post
I infer that the cracks haven't changed since 2004? Stair stepping is a sign of transfer of forces. If you had shifting, that would be a problem. You also say the sill is not attached to the block wall.

Looking at the photo they did not tool the outside joints, so your assumptions having no rebar, and also no horizontal ties or bond beams are probably spot on. You can go to the trouble and expense of filling the CMUs, but you probably won't be getting much bang for the buck with that. The cavity offsets and sloppy mortar build won't guarantee you'll get a full fill when dropping it in from the top block. Besides, if there is no vertical rebar into the footing it's still just an unsupported vertical cantilever anyway.

Since you don't have a connected 1st floor diaphragm to help brace the basement walls, you are probably experiencing the results of pressure from the surrounding grade. A solution that fits within the work you are already doing outside with the footing drain is to:
- apply waterproof membrane
- install dimpled plastic membrane
- backfill with 8"-12" of washed gravel next to the membrane, all the way up

The cracks don't seem to have gotten worse since 2004.

I bought bituthene 4000 and the dimpled plastic membrane. I plan on making sure that the gravel will be all the way up plus I will have the surrounding dirt is graded away from the house. Right now some areas are questionable as to their grade.

While writing this reply I have another question. If I fill in the area above the french drain with gravel, am I allowing MORE water to filter down to the french drain. If I top off the gravel with dirt that is graded away from the house, does that move the water away from the drain area. And is putting dirt on top of the gravel just going to let that dirt filter down into the gravel?

Also, if dirt is placed on top of the gravel should there be a barrier between the two so the dirt doesn't migrate into the gravel?

So many things to think about!
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:42 PM   #15
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Re: How do I fix mortar that is cracked on basement walls


Quote:
Originally Posted by ClarenceBauer View Post
OK I found the info for grout mixture.
Dated March 17 1998 Section 04500
Required materials:
Hydraulic Lime.
Ceramic microspheres (Z-Lite Spheres ) found this @ Pro-Pac N.J. 908-725-5000
Sand size range 100 - 230 microns.
Water
Styrene-acrylic copolymer emulsion. this is from El-Rey Superior 200

Mixture formula
4 parts Hydrated Hydraulic Lime
1 part Sand.
4 parts Z-lite spheres
4.5 part El-Rey Superior 200 acrylic emulsion ( 10% w/v in water )
My best guess is cost was around $250.00 / $300.00 for material only. I pumped right @ 270 gallons in the walls of an Old Historical building.

Thanks for the reply--what did you use to pump that into the wall?

At this point I am thinking that as long as I have all the dirt cleared away from the wall while we are installing the french drain--it would be the best time to fill that wall with something! I thought that ALL walls that had dirt filled in to about five feet had to be filled and rebar installed--maybe that was not code back in 1978--who knows!

Here is another view of that wall from a different angle.
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