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Thread: Spalling on sides of 1956 vintage foundations

  1. #1
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    Spalling on sides of 1956 vintage foundations

    Was there style of builiding in the 1950's where the sides of a foundation were exposed and had wire mesh embedded in them?

    In a neighborhood of 1956 vintage brick veneer homes, many of them are built so the sides of the concrete foundation is exposed. Spalling of the sides is exposing "chicken wire". Since this happens on many houses, I think the wire mesh is part of the original construction and not a repair. It looks like mortar was applied over the mesh instead of concrete.

    These pictures were taken on a day when there was a light rain. The ground slopes away from the foundation, but moisture seems to be wicking into sides of the foundation.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    It's almost certain that moisture and repeated heating and cooling has caused this over time and there probably wasn't proper adhesion of the mortar to what's under it, either.. I'm not 100% convinced that it's the original foundation surface, however, especially looking at that second photo. Strange that they would have used that "big mesh" stuff rather than a smaller grid for this application, at least to my mind. I really do wonder if this was a "quick fix" for something that didn't work initially.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    Parged. Probably done to cover a block foundation. Done just like stucco. Most likely doesn't go all the way down, just below grade. Water got behind it at the brick line. Possibly cold be false brick that is done the same as stucco almost like tile work. There are all kinds of things in the woods.
    Jim

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Pallas View Post
    Parged. Probably done to cover a block foundation.
    That's an interesting idea. I had to look up "block foundation". I didn't realize that builders might make a foundation consisting only of concrete block.

    The brick is full size brick. The construction seems to be slab-on-grade. There is no crawlspace.

    In the 1950's our city was a small town. It might have been easier to make a block foundation that to get ready-mix. None of the homes show any cracking in the brickwork.

  5. #5
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    Block foundations/basement were/are used all the time here in Minnesota. The trend now is to use poured concrete basements instead of block for new houses, but block is still used some of the time. The basement walls usually stick out of the ground at least eight inches so that the siding isn't contacting the ground and rotting.

  6. #6
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    I see this all the time in central Texas. Underpinning or parking cracks off over time. I saw it last week on a year old house. It is a cosmetic layer over a rough concrete slab. Think of it as icing on a cake.

  7. #7
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    I agree. Looks like a stucco veneer to me. Doesn't look structural at all.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Tashiro View Post
    That's an interesting idea. I had to look up "block foundation". I didn't realize that builders might make a foundation consisting only of concrete block.

    The brick is full size brick. The construction seems to be slab-on-grade. There is no crawlspace.

    In the 1950's our city was a small town. It might have been easier to make a block foundation that to get ready-mix. None of the homes show any cracking in the brickwork.
    Fairly easy way to form slab on grade work. Goes like this footing, 2 to 4 courses of block, header block on top. Do the ground work (plumbing, etc.), pour the slab, (the header block makes a ledge for the slab). The blocks get filled solid as you pour the slab. Nail the wire to the block. Mix some stucco and apply to make it look better than the block showing under the brick. It could be a rough concrete foundation, poured against dirt, and just smoothed out with parging. As I said all kinds of things in the woods.
    Jim

  9. #9
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    It was probably just parged (smeared) on there with Type N mortar. Mix up some Type S, parge it on, and it should last longer than the first application did. If you want to get fancy, use Surewall first, but it's bright white.

  10. #10
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    In Califorina I have never seen a block foundation, always cast. Even on block houses.
    Stucco wire is just chicken wire with paper attached to it. My house, 1949, they just wrapped wire from corner to corner about every 6" with nails intermediate to wrap around. They did put 8" expanded mesh in the inside corners of the shower.
    Bill D.
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 01-06-2019 at 10:39 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    If you want to get fancy, use Surewall first, but it's bright white.
    I can't find Surewall. Quikwall is described on the Lowes and Home Depot websites but it's "unavailable" at their local stores.

  12. #12
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    It's just white thinset concrete with fiberglass in it. Type S mortar will be much easier to work with, close to the same color as what is there, and will last a lot longer than the first batch did. Thickness of mix will be important. That's determined by how much water you put in. It can be mixed in a wheelbarrow with a hoe, or in a five gallon bucket with a drill mixer from the tile section of the box stores.

    Try 3-1/4 liters of water to 7 liters of mortar mix to start with. That may be about right, or add a very small amount of water to get it thinner, or small amount of mortar to make it thicker. Too thin, and it won't stay in place. Too stiff, and it will be too hard to handle.

    Use a cement finishing trowel to spread it on with. Your strength will determine how long of a finishing trowel you will need.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Tashiro View Post
    I can't find Surewall. Quikwall is described on the Lowes and Home Depot websites but it's "unavailable" at their local stores.
    Look for a dealer that sells El Rey products in your area. That’s a brand name in NM, based in ABQ.
    Jim

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Pallas View Post
    Look for a dealer that sells El Rey products in your area. Thatís a brand name in NM, based in ABQ.
    Jim
    There's El Rey Fastwall - out of stock a the local Home Depot and "no longer available" at the local Lowes.

    I suspect than the big box stores hesitate to sell masonry products requiring procedures that homeowners are likely to neglect. Kirk Giordano videos emphasize that using dirty buckets and equipment to mix rapid set products may cause them to set too fast. Overmixing rapid set products can make them weak. Applying them to slightly dusty surfaces can lead to them flaking off. Etc.

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