I'd like to spruce up the ol' homestead, mainly the outside exposed
foundation of the house. It was built in the late 1870's and the foundation
is made of huge rocks and stones.
Some of the mortar/cement has broken away from the stones leaving huge gaps
in the wall....some as deep and wide as 3". The local Home Depot style
store suggested I use one of their ''ready to use/just add water''
1) Sand Mix, contains dry concrete sand and portland cement or 2) Mortar
Mix which contains dry brick sand and masonry cement.
Would this be a good fix? Any suggestions or help would be appreciated.
Using modern materials like this to repair historic construction may
well get you into trouble. The new work may be much stronger than the old
and over time damage the wall. As suggested find a local mason who
Thanks for the speedy replies! This house is classified as a ''Century
Home'', but has no real significant historical value, besides, the previous
owner has added on two additions in the past 60 years.
Here's a link to some pictures.
Also, there have been several similar repairs done to the foundation by the
previous owner that have stood the test of time....he has since past away so
I can't ask him what he used. Consulting a stone mason is probably my best
option. Thanks again!
To answer the question. You can use either but buy a bag of the same type
of cement to enrich the mixture you use. The premixed stuff in the bag is
always a bit weak on the cement. The cement adds "stickiness" to the mortar
and makes this type of project easier to do. I generally add about 10-12%
extra cement to a bag of concrete or mortar mix for general work and twice
that amount for stucco type applications.
You are never going to match the color or inferior quality of the old lime
base mortars and I would never waste my time trying. If you had a certified
historical structure you might consider trying to find someone to do this
for you. You picture tells me this is not the case or the damage has
already been done.
I am not a mason. This is just what I have learned over thirty years of
Thanks Colbyt for the response. Some of the old lime mortar has gotten
crumbly and fallen out, I just want to patch up those spots. The house isn't
historical, but it does have a 'Century Home' designation. Thanks once again
for sharing your knowledge!
I concur that consulting a mason would be almost imperative. Although
preservation concerns are one reason (the fix should be in keeping with
the overall character of the structure), structural reasons are another.
Separation of 3" or more indicates settling problems (I don't think that
would have been filled with mortar originally), and just filling them in
may do more damage in the long run, as a cracking wall is no longer
supporting itself along the entire length. You may need parts completely
rebuilt, and you may also need to solve a drainage problem.
Also, to get an idea of what considerations are important, read this
Technical Preservation Brief from the government:
Note especially the section on permeability. A class of mortar called
"Type K" is sometimes recommended for pre-1880 stone wall restoration;
it's hard to find these days, but should be able to order it even at the
big box stores. It's no longer used for general construction. You might
also consider types N and O. Again, a mason should be able to help you
decide, even if you ultimately do some or all of the work yourself.
There's also an industry niche serving restoration:
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