HANDYMAN

Debby Allmon on repairing cracks in stone foundations

Updated: 2013-02-24T04:17:13Z

By DEBBY ALLMON

Special to The Star

Q. We have a stone basement built in the 1950s. There have been no cracks until last summer, which we think happened because of the dryness. The crack stretches from the top of the wall to about three-fourths of the way down. Is there an easy fix for this? If not, is it going to cost us just as much as it would to repair a cement wall? — Erica

A. It is a little surprising to me that your house was built in the ’50s with a stone foundation because we usually see those in homes built prior to 1940. We have worked in many older homes with stone foundations and they have certainly proved to stand the test of time!

Stone foundation walls can be repaired if the rocks are stable and not shifting. I am assuming that the crack you see is in the mortar (the joint between the stones). If this is the case, loose mortar should be removed and the clean gaps filled with masonry mortar. You may have heard this technique referred to as tuck-pointing. A well-built stone wall can usually be repaired with less trouble and expense than concrete foundations. If you do not feel comfortable performing the repair yourself, I would suggest you contact a stone mason or a foundation company that works with stone foundations to do the work.

Debby Allmon is a certified remodeler and vice president of Schloegel Design Remodel in Kansas City.

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