Recently, I have heard foundation repair contractors opine on the efficacy of their stem wall repairs. Unfortunately, some of the claims being made are not backed by evidence and in fact, some are even contrary to known principles.
One such claim is that by painting the stem wall upon completion they are offering a superior service. Unfortunately, by painting the stem wall surface you are a sealing in the natural humidity of the concrete. You are also blocking the exit of any moisture that naturally wicks up lower in the concrete from the soil.
In sealing in the concrete and allowing the moisture to accumulate in the concrete you are greatly accelerating any oxidation that is happening. You are also unwittingly leaving a place for all of the mineral deposits to accumulate exacerbating any sulfate or chloride deterioration.
I’ve also heard that by putting additional soil to the edge of the foundation that drainage is that improved protecting him accumulation of moisture under the house. While this may be true, it is against the code. Code calls for a 6 inch stem wall to be visible in order to guard against termites and to be able to detect for termite tubes being built from the ground to the house. Termite infestation is a serious problem and cannot be ignored.
We have thought about and discussed all of these options and because they are counterproductive, we do not offer them to our homeowners because we know it is not in their best interests.
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