How to Restore and Protect a Concrete Wall

"No matter how pretty and plentiful your flowering plants are, if set against an ugly backdrop, the overall picture just doesn't look good."

For quite some time, that's the thought I had at the back of my mind while staring at our garden wall. This old concrete wall was made from concrete hollow blocks. The only recent work on it by the concrete contractors of our house was the concrete jointing.

I was hesitant in giving the old concrete wall any kind of surface finishing because of the hassle involved. After all, I already have a few vines growing quite happily on the wire trellis I attached to the concrete wall. Also, the concrete wall isn't load bearing so there aren't any concrete foundation repair worries for now.

Here's a view of the concrete wall from above, looking down.

Problems with the Old Concrete Wall

  • Just doesn't look good

    Every time I look at the concrete wall, I get images of a soily and unfinished structure. In the pictures above and below, you'll see the soiled areas (encircled) on the wall where green moss has grown.

    A coat (or two) of paint would be nice to see.

    Here's another part of the concrete wall.

  • Concrete keeps breaking off

    The moss and the soiled areas indicate plenty of moisture in the wall. Over time, this continuous cycle of moisture and drying up has weakened these areas. This resulted in the slow disintegration of the concrete. Some of the concrete have broken off from the wall.

    I noticed this when I hammered nails to installed brackets of the wire trellis. So yes, there will be concrete crack repair.

  • Increased porosity

    With no paint to protect the wall, water from rain doesn't runoff as easily. The moisture on the hollow blocks made the concrete more porous through the years. Some plastering with mortar may need to be done for concrete restoration. The additional painting will help in waterproofing concrete.

  • Future hassles

    Not deciding to protect the wall immediately might prove to be costlier in the future. This is because I was thinking of adding more vines and plants at the base of the wall. Adding more vines meant installing another trellis on the wall. And I thought, if I decide to restore and paint the wall much later, the hassles are multiplied many times because of all these additions.

The above concerns made me decide to immediately act on protecting the wall. Here's an outline of major tasks you may want to consider for restoring and protecting an old concrete wall.
  1. Clear the Wall of Obstruction
  2. Clean the Soiled Areas
  3. Treat the Concrete Surface with Anti-Mould Solution
  4. Finish the Concrete Surface
  5. Paint the Finished Concrete Wall
The next post will discuss clearing and cleaning the concrete wall.

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