Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House

 
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:05 PM   #1
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Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


I have an old house on the searcoast of NE Massachusetts built in 1850 with a foundation that needs to be repointed. The mortar has turned to sand in a number of locations. The foundation is comprised of large granite blocks which are between 24-36 in long, 12-18 in high. From what I can tell the main foundation is ~24 in deep. I tested a couple of joints out with a old wire coat hanger and scrapped out what I could until I hit an area that it would hook onto the back of the stone and that was at about the 24in mark. There are also some joints that have a couple of filler stones in them with gaps wide enough to see that the foundation really is quite deep like that. I was kind of shocked to see the blocks be that thick as I thought they would be more like the presentation, for lack of a better word, stones that are on top of the main foundation and are ~36X24X10. Is it usual to see foundations that deep?

Anyway, in the areas that really need to be repointed I can see that there isn't much of anything left in the joints and they would need to cleaned out thoroughly. For some of the vertical joints this isn't too much of a problem as the there are some small filler stone that can come out and I can see getting all the way back but the horizontal joints are tight and I'm not sure how to go about cleaning them out. I'm also not sure how to go about filing in joints that are 2ft deep. Any suggestions?

Also, I know lime mortar is what was used when it was built and I'm willing to go down that route but with blocks that big is it really necessary? Can something like Type S be used?

BTW, this is my own personal home that I have recently purchased so it's not that this is for a customer. I'm also not a mason by trade but a plumber. There is just so much that I need to do on this place that I need to do as much as I can to keep cost down.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 01-13-2018, 02:18 PM   #2
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


You might like this,

https://www.jbmohlermasonry.com/repa...dation-part-1/

And yes I would use a lime mortar.

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Old 01-13-2018, 02:37 PM   #3
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


Lucky you got Chipmunks running through the joints, they cost £50 each in the pet shops here.
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Old 01-13-2018, 06:51 PM   #4
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


By JBM posting his site,I guess he is close to your location. I would not hesitate to reach out to him to do all the masonry repairs you need. He is a long time member of CT and has posted many of his projects,you can't go wrong hiring him. Essentially you stumbled upon the answer to your project,reach out to JBM,he is a dedicated craftsman.
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Old 01-13-2018, 06:58 PM   #5
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


A hand grout pump would save a lot of $ and time, Squeeze bags some what.

Shop vacumn as much dead mortar and dirt out as possible, and then a light power wash? Small areas separated with unmolested panels.

I've used concrete sand with a fraction of regular mason's sand for better slump and historical match of texture, the better the gradation of the particle size and ratios, the stronger the mortar at every lime to sand ratio....

A large dehumidifier would speed/ improve your work product.

Granite will 'suck' very little water from the mortar, thus keep it dry as possible to place.

A little cheap liquid soap(1-2 ounces per bag of S lime) will allow lower water to lime ratios for the same plasticity, and reduce retempering labor. And improve pump-ability greatly at a tiny cost in strength and material.

A proper job would do the inside then expose the exterior for a wash and point.

If parts of the footing have sunk noticeably more, one might want to add capacity with an underpinned spread footing/helical anchor(s) engineered for the applied point loads, for example under a chimney

A supply of the same type of rock to infill some of the larger voids would save some days waiting for very large mortar masses to set/shrink. maybe even some stainless chicken wire or mesh to hold the larger masses inplace while curing.

If done now. all lime mortar must be kept above freezing till next spring....
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Old 01-13-2018, 08:45 PM   #6
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


It's pretty usual for a stone foundation thickness to height ratio to be 1/2 - 1/3, they can be thicker as you go toward the bottom of the wall. There are quite a few around here that are dry stack.

Careful about pulling out the chink rocks...

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Old 01-13-2018, 08:49 PM   #7
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


Quote:
Originally Posted by stuart45 View Post
Lucky you got Chipmunks running through the joints, they cost £50 each in the pet shops here.



I will sell any and all of them in my shop for half that price.
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:16 PM   #8
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


Thanks FJN but he’s probably an hour from me.
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Old 01-15-2018, 08:09 AM   #9
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


Quote:
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Lucky you got Chipmunks running through the joints, they cost £50 each in the pet shops here.
I'll let my cat know she should be trapping them instead what she currently does
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Old 01-15-2018, 08:14 AM   #10
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


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Originally Posted by hdavis View Post
It's pretty usual for a stone foundation thickness to height ratio to be 1/2 - 1/3, they can be thicker as you go toward the bottom of the wall. There are quite a few around here that are dry stack.

Careful about pulling out the chink rocks...
I imagine you mean the ones in the horizontal joints, ones that might be bearing some load. The only row I see that has those is first row where it looks like they wanted to make sure they had a level surface for the presentation type stones that are visible on the outside of the house. The reset of the foundation is underground and the only chink stones I see are in the vertical joints and look like filler more than anything.

I wasn't planning on touching that first row myself.
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Old 01-15-2018, 08:21 AM   #11
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


Thanks for all the replies. Do they make hand pumps that have narrow nozzles that can reach further back in the joint or is it just a matter of pressure pushing it back into the joint?

Alos, does anyone know where to purchase lime mortar in the Massachusetts area? I know I can order it from limeworks but I would rather save on the shipping and be able to pick it up myself.
Thanks again.

Last edited by rdrr; 01-15-2018 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 01-15-2018, 01:47 PM   #12
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


Make your own. Most masonry supply facilities stock Type S hydrated mason lime. Add a metakaolin pozzolan from either Imerys or BASF corporation and your all set. There is nothing wrong with Andy's product but there is nothing magical or mystical to it (even though he'd like you to believe there is )

Search this site,we have discussed this topic til the cows came home.
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:46 PM   #13
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


Quote:
Originally Posted by rdrr View Post
Thanks for all the replies. Do they make hand pumps that have narrow nozzles that can reach further back in the joint or is it just a matter of pressure pushing it back into the joint?

Alos, does anyone know where to purchase lime mortar in the Massachusetts area? I know I can order it from limeworks but I would rather save on the shipping and be able to pick it up myself.
Thanks again.
Id be surprised if you used more than 4-6 bags...
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Old 01-15-2018, 07:22 PM   #14
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


I'd just duct tape a pieces of 1" or 3/4" EMT or a a scrap rubber hose to the "cake decorating Bag" grout bag tip.

Think enema bag but smells better....

A couple of spring clamps and a raised paint can rim make filling the bags a one man show.

Some times you can just leave the mortar in a porous container if it won't show ( one way to pour&place concrete under water)
many times just a variety of different sized rounded sticks can be used to push the loose mortar to voids unreachable by straight tools, similar to packing a Steel column base plate with grout'

50 lbs bags of type S lime are supposed to available at the Home Depot: "minuteman" brand of Old Castle.
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Old 01-16-2018, 04:53 PM   #15
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


Quote:
Originally Posted by rdrr View Post
Thanks for all the replies. Do they make hand pumps that have narrow nozzles that can reach further back in the joint or is it just a matter of pressure pushing it back into the joint?

.


Yes they do have small hand operated grout pumps with an approximate 5 gallon hopper that you dump the grout into and you can hand pump the grout through a nozzle. They are a little too pricy IMO but I could use one every once in a while. But they would be worth their weight in gold on the right project.

As fourthgen said above though there is more than one way to skin a cat without buying a $600 pump

https://www.chemgrout.com/products/g...al-grout-pump/




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Old 01-17-2018, 11:21 AM   #16
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


An option for $300 would be get one of these and a short rubber hose from a auto parts store.


http://www.quikpoint.com/
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Old 01-18-2018, 03:27 PM   #17
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fouthgeneration View Post
I'd just duct tape a pieces of 1" or 3/4" EMT or a a scrap rubber hose to the "cake decorating Bag" grout bag tip.

Think enema bag but smells better....

A couple of spring clamps and a raised paint can rim make filling the bags a one man show.

Some times you can just leave the mortar in a porous container if it won't show ( one way to pour&place concrete under water)
many times just a variety of different sized rounded sticks can be used to push the loose mortar to voids unreachable by straight tools, similar to packing a Steel column base plate with grout'

50 lbs bags of type S lime are supposed to available at the Home Depot: "minuteman" brand of Old Castle.

Type s lime doesn’t harden.
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Old 01-19-2018, 10:03 PM   #18
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


JBM: As water evaporates, the 'S' lime based mortar gets 'harder" and in the confined masonry spaces of bed and head joints can withstand hundreds of PSI of compression for hundreds of years, if the lime isn't washed out over time......


What happens to the Lime putty and linseed oil that seals together most older window panes to the sash?

A 'Polish' grout pump could be made out of a plastic pipe and a longer wood dowel the same diameter.....
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:01 AM   #19
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


In the last year a lot of firms here have gone to using Hot lime as this was used in the past delivered as lump lime on site.


https://www.stonespecialist.com/news...c-lime-mortars
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:05 AM   #20
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Re: Repointing Deep Foundation Joints In 170 Year Old House


Good points Stuart,brought out in that paper. I have always been suspect of the NHL limes for various reasons. Some being,our historical buildings certainly were not built with lime imported from France,secondly several of the purveyors boast of the high PSI achieved with the mid-range mixes. At that point,might as well gauge with OPC. Another paper we have looked at in previous threads is The Myth in the Mix by Gerard Lynch.It appears your paper supports Lynch's view.


I feel the initial two paragraphs of your paper are very informative.

Over the past 15-20 years a lot of earlier hard cement mortar repairs and repointing of stone buildings have been replaced using lime mortar to counteract the accelerated decay caused to the stone by the hard cement.

But sometimes, and even more so recently, natural hydraulic lime (NHL) has been used to make the repairs and that might be just as bad for the stone as the hard cement was.

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