I have spend about three weeks cleaning out the basement of my 1830's farmhouse. Tons of junk, old coal and worm riddled wood. Now it's time to get the basement back into shape.

Problem #1

The foundation is a mix of brick (all interior walls a few exterior) and field stone. The majority of the exterior walls are in good shape, but most of the interior walls have deteriorated. Much of the interior brick walls have what I would call efflorescence or powdering that mostly occurs near the base of the wall. Also at the base of the walls, you can find piles of tiny brick chips as well as what I would call salt deposits (from the mortar?). There is also some, but not much spalling. To me this speaks of moisture (but not water) problems coupled with just plain old father time.

Repair for Problem #1

Should I clean the brick, repair the missing bricks and parge on a stucco surface? If so, what experience have others had? I read that a high pressure water sprayers might be a way to get the brick clean. Thoughts? The interior brick walls have horizontal wood 2 x 4's imbedded in it. I could attach something like a fiberglass wrapped wall board to it and cover over the repairs.

Problem #2

Most of the basement has a very thin cement floor. You can tell it's thin by the hollow sound it makes when tapped. I plan to break this up and put in a new floor.

Repair for Problem #2

I thinking I should put in perimeter drainage prior to poring the floor. In addition, I need to plan out the water coming in and sewer going out before the floor goes down.

Problem #3

It appears there is a cistern, I have not had a chance to physically check it out yet.

Repair for Problem #3

I will check with my town for regulations and fill it.

Problem #4

The mortar that will be needed to repair the walls must be carefully chosen. How do I get a chemical analysis of the existing mortar so I can match the composition of my repairs to the original mortar.

Thanks,
Phil