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How do I Repair a Basement Wall?

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  • Written By: Patrick Lynch
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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A basement wall made from stone will last for many years as long as it has been installed properly. As stone structures can last for thousands of years, it is likely that any problems with a basement wall will have to do with the mortar joints; some simple maintenance can prevent long-term issues, however. Hydraulic cement is also a good method of fixing damage to a basement wall. The wall’s exterior must always be checked first and, if necessary, a vapor barrier can be added to the interior of the wall. For extra protection, sealant should also be applied to walls once the cement has dried.

The mortar joints of walls are likely to be a problem should a basement wall be in need of repair. When mortar breaks down, moisture gets inside which causes the walls to deteriorate rapidly. If possible, check the walls at least once a month and perform some basic maintenance on the mortar to ensure the problem does not get out of hand.

There will also be occasions when stresses can cause cracks to form in the stone which will need to be fixed with hydraulic cement. When mixing this cement, be careful not to allow it to touch the skin because the chemicals used to make it can burn through soft tissue. Mix the cement using gloved hands. When warm, it is ready to be applied to the stone.

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When fixing a basement wall, ensure that the outside of the wall is checked first. Dig a small trench at the base of the wall because this will make all stones accessible. Often it is the hidden parts of the wall which cause the most trouble. Stones that look like they need to be repaired should be removed if possible. If these stones are removable, clean them with a wire brush and use hydraulic cement to put them back into place.

A basement wall that is damp and moldy can be fixed with a vapor barrier on the wall’s interior. This barrier will take the form of a rubber sheet which is attached to the inside of the wall. Then whatever is normally used to protect the wall is placed on top of this sheet.

Stones cemented into a basement wall will take at least 30 days to fully dry. Once the cement has dried, sealant should be added to ensure no further damage occurs. This sealant must be applied on any areas that have been recently repaired with new mortar.

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