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Fieldstone Wall Leaks

Published on July 21st, 2021

Old fieldstone walls in the New England area are common. Older construction using the fieldstone wall foundation was prevalent as most of our older nostalgic homes in the New England area went up. This construction is beautiful in its own way and a lot of customers love their fieldstone walls. The six points of entry in a waterproofing equation are essential to identify here as well as in any basement waterproofing issue.

This entry point invariably is listed under the designation as a wall crack. The Wall crack in a field Stonewall provides an infinite number of areas where water can come in where the memory meets the fieldstone wall is a weak entry point.

When they built the fieldstone foundations, they dug out approximately 10-20 feet into the yard where they were building the field Stonewall, so the men and equipment could install the stones. This area is called the over dig area, after the walls go up, they then backfill to grade level (lawn level). This area is backfilled and will always have less tight soil pressure than the virgin soil that is approximately 10 to 20 feet out from the foundation wall. This area will always be different than the virgin soil that was undisturbed for centuries. The harder, denser soil will allow water to run on the surface and then seep into the over dig area even if the fieldstone wall is a century old. This mechanic creates pressure on the joints of the field stone wall from the exterior and after a period of time, the mortar will expand and contract due to the season changes, and leaking will occur.

Now you know why a fieldstone wall leaks, let us get into the possible solutions: 

1: Fieldstone walls will not have a footing – therefore, the fieldstone itself is the footing and in the foundation in this type of construction the water not only can come in from the fieldstone, but also the slab fieldstone intersection on the inside the basement also underneath the field stone then through the floor wall joint this is the most common situation we encounter. The solution is to put a subfloor system underneath the ground on the interior of the basement. We will then encapsulate the field stone wall and catch any water that can come in and put it down into the drain.

2: If there is no leaking from the floor wall joint there are other possibilities to fix in your fieldstone wall. Pointing the wall is another possibility. The issue with just re-pointing the wall is that using regular mortar with the capabilities of mortar expanding and contracting (creating new cracks) due to the changing of the seasons (cold to hot). New water leaks will occur attempting to waterproof from the interior of the basement and is a very tough job cleaning the walls, removing the old mortar joints, installing a chemically bonded mortar, and then covering the entire wall with a chemical that will stop water from intruding. The chemical used must have a chemical bonding ability that goes into the fieldstone and follows the mortar joints. Regular mortar will not provide this chemical binding ability. Basement Technologies 1-800 Busy Dog has such a product, Chemcrete M and Chemcrete c, if applied properly by a very skilled trained mason, it will stop water coming in from fieldstone walls. Basement technologies 1-800 Busy Dog will offer a lifetime warranty in the areas where we re-point with Chemcrete M and install sprayed on Chemcrete C.  Chemcrete C comes in two colors, white or gray. The aesthetic value of the field Stonewall is there where in the bumps in the wall are still seen, but the wall would look brand new and will not leak.

A lot of people do not like interior methods of waterproofing and covering the stones is not appealing to them. Digging down on the outside the bottom of the fieldstone wall, installing encapsulation onto the fieldstone wall from the outside, installing a low-pressure system at the bottom area of the fieldstone wall is another option. The issue with this type of waterproofing is that if you are 8 feet deep, the water from the drain must drain lower than the drain at the bottom of the wall. Your drywell needs to be at 16 feet deep or your house needs to be located on a hill so the water coming from the drains can drain out and get away from the home. Other issues are landscaping, shrubs, decks, flowers, etc. in the way. Another consideration is using heavy equipment on the lawn. Basement Technologies, 1-800 Busy Dog, does this type of work daily, however we always recommend an interior solution using the Chemcrete C and M or interior basement waterproofing solution for these methods. More easily controlled and monitored interior systems all have a lifetime structure warranty. However, the exterior solutions, although viable, do not come with a warranty and can get very expensive.

If you feel the wall is leaking, please call 1-800 Busy Dog and we can send a design technician out to give you options on the reality of your situation. All estimates go through an engineering process where qualified engineers and construction supervisors review all pictures and diagrams giving the customer viable solutions with realistic expectations for waterproofing your fieldstone walls. 1-800 Busy Dog is proud to be your local basement waterproofing and basement sealing company since 1989. 

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