Help! My Parging Is Cracked. What Do I Do?

Your home’s foundation is relied upon to keep you and your family safe. That’s why it’s important to fix any cracks that appear right away in the foundation’s parging.

Here’s why parging cracks happen and what to do if they happen to you.

What is Parging?

Parging is made up of mortar and cement mix and is used to protect your foundation from the weather elements. This protective coating is applied to the foundation after it has been constructed. Other than acting as a moisture barrier, parging improves the appearance of your home’s walls.

Although the parging usually is only visible above grade, it typically goes all the way down the wall to the footing.

Why Do Parging Cracks Appear?

Although used as a moisture barrier, parging itself can sometimes become wet. When this happens, the water inside the parging can freeze and expand – resulting in cracks.

Parging reacts differently to the freeze/thaw cycle depending on whether that section of the wall is above or below the frost line. Above the frost line, the crack will appear due to both the parging and the adjoining soil freezing/thawing.

When cracks appear in the parging, it is important to note whether the cracks appear in the parging or the foundation itself. If you’re uncertain, it’s best to consult with a foundation crack repair expert.

How to Repair Parging Cracks

Once you’ve determined that the cracks on your walls are from the parging itself, it’s time to start repairing them.

Step 1: Prep Your Walls

To begin, a clean, smooth wall is needed. Scrape away any mortar debris using a hammer, chisel and putty knife. If any wall repairs are required, fill the cracks with mortar and let it set before proceeding. Sweep away any dust or dirt with a stiff wire brush and wash the walls using a mild detergent to remove all the little pieces.

Parging applied over painted walls requires a coating of a bonding agent before beginning.

Step 2: Prepare the Parging Mixture

Premade parging mixes found at your local hardware store are the easiest to use. Follow the package instructions to form a thick paste.

Step 3: Apply the Parging Mixture 

Apply the parging mixture to a moistened wall, keeping the first layer no thicker than 3/8-inch. Use your trowel or plasterer’s rake to create either a smooth or textured surface. Let the coat dry for 24 hours.

If a second coat is required, it too should be no more than 3/8-inch thick.

To reduce the risk of cracking or flaking, mist the wall with water periodically over the next five days.

Although cracks in parging can be repaired yourself, doing it correctly requires some skill and technique. To make your parging crack repairs look their best, consult with a foundation professional.

Get Your Foundation Inspected Today

Since cracked parging can quickly become a serious issue, there’s no time to waste getting it repaired.

Conterra Foundations has been providing Hamilton and surrounding area with expert foundation inspections and repairs for years. Enjoy competitive pricing and professional workmanship when you choose us for your foundation work. Contact us today to book a foundation inspection.