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How to Fix Crumbling Dirt Walls

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Coming up, we have Ken from Tennessee who has some dirt walls that are washing away.

    Ken, tell us about it.

    KEN: It’s an older house and of course the basement, it’s all dirt; just been dug out. (inaudible at 00:00:16) got gas heat and the walls are just drying out and cracking and falling away. And I just wondered if there was something like a stucco or something you could do to save those walls.

    TOM: Is this like what we call a Yankee basement; where it’s hand-dug and maybe the concrete block starts up a little bit higher?

    KEN: Yeah, absolutely. That’s it.

    TOM: Yeah. Typically, the way that that is done is there is a concrete stucco that’s basically put on over that bare dirt wall. And it’s not the way we would do it if we were building the house from scratch today but that’s the way an old Yankee basement is built. And as long as that stucco is replaced once in a while, it should be good to go. It becomes a little hollow sometimes but it’s a fairly clean, smooth finish and I’ve seen it last for 50 or 60 years like that.

    LESLIE: Really? And the moisture from the dirt doesn’t affect it in any way?

    TOM: If you wanted to put a mesh on it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea; probably do a better job of it. But a lot of old houses I’ve seen didn’t have any wire mesh in it; just had stucco on it about an inch thick, and it worked fine.

    KEN: Well OK. I’ll give her a try.

    TOM: Alright, give it a shot. Thanks again for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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