BMJ Stone
EZG Manufacturing
Federated Insurance
Fraco USA, Inc.
Hohmann and Barnard, Inc.
Hydro Mobile, Inc.
iQ Power Tools
Kennison Forest Products, Inc.
Mortar Net Solutions
Non-Stop Scaffolding
Pullman Ermator
Tradesmen's Software, Inc.
September 16, 2003 5:00 AM CDT

Case Study: Retaining Walls


Protects painted walls from acid rain and weathering.
Protects painted walls from acid rain and weathering.
A residential community built a few decades ago on a sloping terrain overlooking the Pacific Ocean had a series of long retaining walls and planters running alongside the roads as a feature of the landscaping. The moisture that permeated through these walls each winter caused severe damage to the stucco and paint resulting in the walls becoming black with mold, the stucco to crumble, and the paint to flake off.

The owners tried every method available at the time to remedy the situation but to no avail. They were forced to strip off the paint, repair and patch the stucco, and repaint the entire lengths of the retaining walls on an annual basis. This costly exercise became an ongoing event carried out over a period of two decades.

Four years ago, the owners decided to replace the old damaged and crumbling stamped concrete entrance pavement features with interlocking, colored concrete pavers. They were advised by the paver manufacturer to apply Surebond Joint Stabilizing Sealers to the new installation immediately upon completion to enhance the aesthetics of the pavers, protect the new paving against staining, and ensure the integrity of the paving by bonding up the joint sand in between the pavers.

That installation was completed and the pavers were sealed as recommended. The project turned out to be a tremendous success and the owners were delighted with the end result.

Coincidentally, around that same time the head of the maintenance division of the community told the local Surebond distributor about the ongoing problems of moisture damage that they had with their retaining walls. Surebond then offered to participate in a field test to control the moisture ingress and prevent damage to the stucco and paint using one of their water-based, epoxy modified sealer called Surebond Protect-A-Wall Sealer.

The owners selected a long length of retaining walling — an area considered a worse case scenario — as a test case and used sand blasting equipment to remove all the paint and much of the damaged stucco. The stucco throughout was then patched, repaired and allowed to cure. To measure the effectiveness of the Protect-A-Wall Sealer, only the top section of walling was primed with the sealer by spraying it on and back-rolling it with a paint roller. Then both the top and the bottom halves of the retaining wall were painted with the same exterior-quality, white latex paint that the community had been using for years.

Three years later, the section that had received the protective coating was in pristine condition, whereas the paint and stucco on the unprotected section had once again turned black with mold damage and the paint and stucco had partially crumbled and flaked off.

About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at


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