1717 farmhouse foundation repointing

Questions and answers relating to houses built in the 1800s and before.

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1717 farmhouse foundation repointing

Postby dspahn on Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:12 pm

I am buying an old farmhouse with a stone foundation. The "basement" is dirt floor and there is a LOT of mortar erosion. I am planning to take on some projects, and the first on my list will be to repoint the foundation. The foundation is mid-sized stones, and I want to make sure I have the right idea- I know I'll need a small assortment of trowels and similar tools. First, I am interested in any good reading or other resources for this- I do my research before starting projects!
Second, the basement does get wet when it rains- I don't know if this was good drainage design or if it is due to deterioration of the old mortar. I read the article on this site about repointing old masonry, and it describes soft lime-based mortar... but that is for brick applications, and the drawbacks of using hard mortar have to do with characteristic properties of brick. Since this is stone (I am guessing granite), what should I get and where should I get it? one further consideration is that I may be required to treat the house for radon in the future, which means I would need to put down gravel and pour a floor- I'm not going to take that project on now, but I need to make allowances for future requirements.

So in a nutshell, what resources are informative without being too crazy-technical (I am not planning to have a lab analysis done on the sand around the foundation, for example), and what kind of mortar should I use? Are there any preferable techniques I should be aware of and are there suppliers more suitable than Lowe's/Home Depot? I certainly want to keep some degree of historic integrity with any projects I do- the house lasted for three hundred years so far on those techniques- but I also don't mind modernizing if it will help keep the function of the building intact. I appreciate any advice.
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