What is the best way to consolidate a stone wall?

Is it better to redo joints, repair them, or rebuild them?

Stone walls are built to last, but they can be affected by the ravages of time. Joints, repairs, infiltrations… Find out how to consolidate a stone wall in order to avoid having to rebuild it from scratch!

What is the best way to consolidate a stone wall?

The summary is as follows:

When is it appropriate to consolidate a stone wall?

The first solution is to clear the joints and redo them

The second solution involves consolidating a stone wall by repairing a damaged area

The third solution is to dismantle in order to rebuild better…

When should a stone wall be consolidated?

Your stone wall can be damaged or destabilized for a number of reasons, whether it is inside your home or outside. Depending on the cause of the damage, you will need a different and very specific intervention. Here are the most common causes of degradation:

Joint damage – Your wall has joints between the stones, usually made of lime mortar or mortar made from lean, a more fragile product than today’s lime mortar;

Capillary action can weaken stone walls due to damp soil;

If your stone wall experiences water infiltration from a cracked facade, a leaky roof, or a leaky pipe, you will have to consider insulating it;

It may have been caused by weak foundations or clayey soil on your land if the stone walls’ foundations were not built correctly;

Frames that have deflected – If you are renovating an old stone house, it is possible that the frames have deflected over the years, resulting in damage to the stone walls that support it over time. If this is the case, you should repair the frame first before consolidating the stone wall.
The first solution is to clear and redo the joints

The joints will have to be redone if they crumble or become damaged. To do this, you need to “clear the joints”. Dig a hole about 2 cm deep using a chisel and hammer and make sure not to damage the stones while you do this. Then, with a screwdriver, remove any pieces (or large pieces) of seals that are no longer holding your stones in place. Then, using a vacuum or brush, dust off the remaining stones and joints. Mix 5 volumes of sand with 3 volumes of lime and water. Spray a little water on the old seals to help them set. Fill in the trenches with lime mortar and smooth them with a spade’s tongue (small trowel).
A damaged area of a stone wall can be repaired to consolidate it

You can consolidate your wall yourself if only a specific part needs to be reinforced, less than 1 m2, without dismantling and rebuilding your entire building. You will need vertical and oblique props to support the stone wall and prevent it from collapsing to do this. Using a hammer and chisel or a crowbar, you can then remove any stones that may collapse, crumble or be damaged in order to replace them. After the wall is completely dry, remove the props and reassemble your wall. Alternate stone with lime mortar.
The third solution is to dismantle in order to rebuild better…

The best thing you can do if your wall is in danger of collapsing is to dismantle it and rebuild it on sound foundations, while taking precautions to install props to support the frame or upper floor. In the case of questionable foundations or wet or clay soil, it’s best to keep as many stones intact as possible so that you can reuse them for your healthy wall and display your stone wall on a solid foundation.