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Stone Foundation Question

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Hello all:

Inspected a home built in 1900 yesterday. The foundation material was stone (full basement).

On the outside, right at the soil line & moving up approximately 6" - 8" I noticed the outside of the stone was crumbling in certain areas.

Does anyone make a epoxy material that could be applied to help stop/curb the erosion?


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First, what kind of stone? Second, epoxy won't help; it will only hold moisture into the stone, that is, unless you pull apart the foundation, epoxy coat each stone, & then reassemble the foundation w/ epoxy additive grout or mortar.

Without seeing the house, my kneejerk would be that drainage is the problem; it's always the problem w/ stone foundations.

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Just about anything applied to the stone won't stick because the stone will continue to degrade from beneath . Most stone foundations are sedimentary rock and it readily absorbs water. Treating the surface with water impervious substances usually aggravates the situation by retarding the water's ability to get out of the rock. The freeze thaw cycles are what destroys the rock face. Keeping liquid water off the stone and away from the foundation with good grading and gutters is the best maintenance. Sandstone is particularly susceptible to this damage, even more so when layed with the cleavage line of the stone perpendicular to the ground.

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I agree with Kurt and Chad. In a hundred year old stone foundation you probably don't have any drains at footer level and you're dealing with rising damp. Better to improve drainage around the foundation and to parge the foundation. The parging will reduce some of the weather exposure and lessen direct exposure of the stone to wind-driven rain and damp soil, while still allowing the stone to breath. If it can't be parged, because they like the look of it, parge it below grade, along with fixing drainage, to slow down the damp. Think about eventually doing some excavation to install decent drainage around the footings.



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"the stone was crumbling in certain areas..". What kind of stone? Limestone? Granite? Sedimentary rock? Not enough info for this New Englander. (We rate stone foundations every day around here...).

Frost does a job on some stone foundations. The more angular the rocks, the 'tighter' the strength is. The rounder the rocks, the more they are prone to movement (in some cases). Gets interesting around New England doing the vood-doo on the foundations. (Oldest one I've checked out is 1636...not kidding...).

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Originally posted by Terence McCann

Thanks all:

Kurt, I believe that it sandstone. Pretty common in this area for the older homes. I'm sure you see pretty much the same thing up there.

The home had gutters that were dumping on the ground approximately 4' or so from the home.

I don't see any sandstone foundations; ours are all limestone, granite, or similar cut stone.

I can imagine that the sandstone would be pretty moist w/ gutters dumping right next to the house like you describe. Like everyone agreed, drainage is critical for stone foundations.

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