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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Question Efflorescence and cracking paint

    We have a 70 year old home purchased about 5 years ago. When we moved in there was minimal efflorescence along the basement wall. Now the basement walls below grade have started to accumulate efflorescence and the waterproof type paint is cracking in areas.

    We had a mason install PVC piping to drain water towards the street. Our gutter cleaning company says we can't install a gutter along the side of the house with the water problem? The mason suggested digging next to the house and placing plastic against the house below grade.(much $$$)

    Wondering if I sc**** off the efflorescence and paint with a wire brush and repaint with a waterproof paint if that will work or do we need to go with the plastic next to the house. I'll also mention we'd like to move in the next few years but also don't want to saddle new owners with a major problem.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    1,387

    Default Re: Efflorescence and cracking paint

    Howdy, consider installing plastic on the surface of the grade ( make the grade slope 1/4" per foot away from the house) next to your house 3 to 5" wide and see if the wetness is abated after the next rain. Do not have any sprinkler heads spray t word this area and do not plant landscaping that needs watering withing 8 foot of this spot. One can then cover the plastic with rock or mulch. Why no down spout on this side of the house? You really do not want the roof draining right next to the foundation with water issues.
    I'd prep, scrap the wall and use the basement foundation water proofing ,paint, sold at almost all paint retail centers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    The Great White North
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    Default Re: Efflorescence and cracking paint

    Quote Originally Posted by jonan93 View Post
    We have a 70 year old home purchased about 5 years ago. When we moved in there was minimal efflorescence along the basement wall. Now the basement walls below grade have started to accumulate efflorescence and the waterproof type paint is cracking in areas.

    We had a mason install PVC piping to drain water towards the street. Our gutter cleaning company says we can't install a gutter along the side of the house with the water problem? The mason suggested digging next to the house and placing plastic against the house below grade.(much $$$)

    Wondering if I sc**** off the efflorescence and paint with a wire brush and repaint with a waterproof paint if that will work or do we need to go with the plastic next to the house. I'll also mention we'd like to move in the next few years but also don't want to saddle new owners with a major problem.
    Hard to say for certain from here but it seems you have a drainage problem.

    What appears to be happening is water is saturating the soil around the foundation. After a while the pressure of the wet soil forces the water contained into the foundation wall .... known as hydrostatic pressure. When this occurs regularly the concrete will become saturated with water from the exterior and wick through. The salts in the concrete mix is what you are seeing from this water being forced through.

    The paint on "waterproof" paint is not a proper method to prevent this .... as you can see from your situation. In my opinion this product is a waste of money and shouldn't be considered as waterproofing or resolving water infiltration issues ... especially from the inside.
    No reputable foundation contractor would ever use or warrant using this product as a waterproofing covering .

    The most effective way to resolve your water infiltration problem would be excavating around the exterior of the foundation and repairing any cracks in the foundation. Repair or install a proper perimeter drain system around the footing of the foundation.
    Applying a proper waterproofing elastromeric coating the exterior walls ....covered by a drainage membrane before back filling.

    It is the most expensive and intrusive method but the most effective.
    By doing this you are protecting the foundation from moisture problems at the source .... the exterior.

    A cheaper alternative is to have a perimeter drain installed on the inside.

    Basically ... a trench is dug along the floor near the wall .... drain piping is installed and terminating into a sump pit which is emptied by a sump pump piped outside.
    With block walls holes are drilled along the bottom course alond with a dimpled plastic sheet membrane allowing the water satruating the walls to drain into the new drain system.

    Personally I don't like this method since it still allows the moisture from the exterior the migrate into the interior. Though with the interior drain this does relieve the pressure ..... however .... the basement will still be damp from a higher humidity level. It does beat trying to solve this kind of problem with a paint on product bought off the shelf.

    Hopefully this helps.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Seymour - CT
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    60

    Default Re: Efflorescence and cracking paint

    canuk is correct.
    No paint will help you solve the problem. You need to solve the drainage issue and the only way to do it is by installing a perimeter drainage system, internally or externally.

    However, I disagree with him concerning the internal drainage systems.

    First of all, we need to clarify that not all systems are created equal. Some contractors install generic corrugated pipes. However there are many proprietary products, developed specifically for that purpose, that minimize the evaporation of the collected water into the basement and divert it to a sump pump system that includes air tight sealed containers.

    And since they do the job of relieving the hydrostatic pressure, they diminish the wall seepage just as a external drain tile would.

    Another advantage of internal drainage systems is that, unlike external drainage systems, they are usually fully serviceable and flushable throughout the years. Should you have a problem, you can access the system through sealed service openings. External drain tiles, which are known to clog and fail overtime, once buried, can only be accessed by going through the mess and expense of digging out the foundations again.

    In addition, a good internal drainage system comes with a transferable warranty which is even offered free of charge by some contractors and will come in handy when you sell the house as you say you plan to do. The future owner will be covered as well.

    I need to add that, depending on the property location, seasonal variations, and what you plan to use the basement for, a drainage system alone, internal or external might not suffice.

    For example if you plan to use the basement as additional living space, you will need a dryer basement, and below grade structures tend to be damp due to temperature differences.

    You might need vapor barrier or wall systems, and a dehumidifier too keep the air humidity level in the basement at or under 50%.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    6

    Default Re: Efflorescence and cracking paint

    Thank you everyone for your help and advice. In response regarding details of the basement, the basement ceiling is too low to finish so we just use the basement for laundry and storage. The basement walls are a major eyesore for us. I also worry about mold forming against the walls.

    Since we already have installed PVC piping which I presume is a type of perimeter drainage system and more moisture is coming inside we'd probably be better off with the foundation repair/plastic.

    Wondering why this is an issue now: do the masonry blocks just deteriorate overtime and allow more water to come inside. (our home was built in 1937) Also wondering is there a difference between a mason and a foundation contractor? Thanks in advance for your advice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Seymour - CT
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    60

    Default Re: Efflorescence and cracking paint

    " Wondering why this is an issue now: do the masonry blocks just deteriorate overtime and allow more water to come inside. (our home was built in 1937) "

    - Rather than thinking of a possible deterioration of the masonry blocks I'd say that something must have changed overtime that caused the terrain around the foundation to over saturate with water. An over saturated soil will generate the amount of hydrostatic pressure that will cause the water to seep through even the most solid wall. Here's some possible causes
    - Clogged gutters or downspouts
    - Leaky plumbing
    - Downspouts discharging too close to the foundation walls
    - Changes in the grading. The terrain around the house, which should slope away from the foundation, usually settles around the walls creating a puddle around them.
    - Changes in the landscape. New plants that need constant watering, being planted too colse to the foundation.
    - Faulty french drain

    "Also wondering is there a difference between a mason and a foundation contractor? Thanks in advance for your advice."

    - Yes, there is. A house is a system much like your body. If it makes sense for you to seek a spe******t, when you have a problem with a specific part of your body, it makes sense for you to seek the advice of a spe******t when it comes to fixing a specific and yet vital part of your home, such as the foundation.
    A good foundation repair or waterproofing contractor does just that. Repair foundation and water problems. They are always up to date with the latest technologies and products to solve this specific problem, and they are able to back their workmanship and products with warranties that go above the ones offered by general masonry contractors.
    However, since they are not all created equal, I recommend you really shop around, get and check references and do your homework.

    As for the walls, since you are not about to finish the basement,but want to eliminate the eye sore, you might want to consider simple uninsulated wall coverings like BrightWall. Those wall finishes are long lasting, 100% waterproof and can be also tied to an interior drain tile or even a baseboard drainage system. They will also help minimize the moisture and evaporation within the basement.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    6

    Default Re: Efflorescence and cracking paint

    Just an update. I had a different gutter company come out to the house. They can install appropriate gutters where the water runs off the roof into our problem area next to the house. I'm hoping the new gutters will help decrease the water next to the house without having to dig next to the foundation.

  8. #8
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    Aug 2007
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    The Great White North
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    Default Re: Efflorescence and cracking paint

    And since they do the job of relieving the hydrostatic pressure, they diminish the wall seepage just as a external drain tile would.
    I'll disagree since the internal drain system works only after the walls become saturated ...... so ... there will be humidity.

    If the exterior walls are water proofed with exterior drains there will no moisture contact with the foundation walls whatsoever resulting in no humidity issues.



    External drain tiles, which are known to clog and fail overtime, once buried, can only be accessed by going through the mess and expense of digging out the foundations again
    Yes they can ... however .... when new drain systems are installed they should have the filter " sock " covering which will prevent this from happening.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    455

    Default Re: Efflorescence and cracking paint

    I'm with Canuk on this.

    We had the exterior work done and it works great but it was more expensive than the interior systems my neighbors had done. Our basement is perfectly dry compared to the noticable higher humidity of our neighbors. Also we don't have the continued cracking or shifting of our foundation like our neighbors.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Efflorescence and cracking paint

    All interior drain systems should work...but there are defintely better systems out there than the traditional 'drain tile' systems. If the walls are an eye sore, I would find a wall system that is appropriate for the basement environment and that achieves the look you desire for your basement. But ground water leakage into the basement needs to be addressed first. I would not waste the time & money on paiting anything on the walls. The same thing will happen a few years or less down the road! I think a dehunidifier is also a great idea. Re-routing the gutters should definitely help, but may not get rid of the problem completely.

    Also, when dealing with block walls, you should determine if you have a monolithic foundation or not. This is important information concerning the type of drainage system you should have installed. If you can see the full 8" block at the bottom of the wall, the you have a monolithic foundation and you should not have anyone jackhammer the perimeter of the foundation inside your home. The floor and footing are poured as one piece in that case, and you don't want to crack your footing!
    A special system that gets adhered to the top of the concrete floor against the walls is the right answer in that case. The best one I've seen is called DryTrak.

    If there is less than 8" of the block showing, then it's not an issue at all. In any case, make sure you have a good, high quality sump pump system to get rid of all that water.

    Good luck!

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