When you’re unfamiliar with masonry projects, it seems like it’s a pretty straightforward process. Mix some cement and water and apply it where needed. When the bucket is empty, repeat. Simple, right? Hahaha. No.
In our role as THE parging experts in Edmonton, Alberta, we have seen a lot of parging applications gone wrong. There are many reasons why this happens, but we have narrowed it down to the top three.
Most DIY projects and parging jobs performed by companies that don’t specialize in this exterior finish don’t last because of poor preparation. This can mean how the surface was groomed before it was parged, or how the parging mixture itself was prepared.
It’s true that parging is just a blend of water, masonry sand and cement. However, did you know that the exact ratios can depend on the weather conditions? If you’re doing it yourself in small batches in a bucket, the small variations in the consistency that will inevitably happen between batches can result in an uneven finish. It takes a trained eye and years of experience to be able to look at a mixture and know “Nope, that’s just not right.” And more importantly, know what to do to correct it.
Preparing the surface properly takes some extra time, but it’s well worth the effort. The foundation must be free of all traces of sand and dirt, and the surface needs to be kept wet to allow the parge coat to cure properly.
Wrong Time of Year
There’s a reason that reputable parging companies don’t perform exterior work all year round. To properly cure, parging needs a sustained surface temperature of at least 5C for several days. A sudden drop in temperature is bad news for a freshly applied coat of parging.
When the parging experts say you’ll have to wait for the right weather conditions for your job, listen to them! Otherwise, you’ll be calling back in a year or two to have another coat of parging applied because yours didn’t withstand the test of time.
The Passage of Time
Speaking of time, sometimes even really durable materials like the parging that protects your foundation can wear out. Thankfully, a fresh coat of parging is MUCH easier to address than an eventual problem with the foundation. We happen to know a couple of guys who are only too happy to help!
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