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Our garden is on an extreme slope, so I got someone in to landscape it. Unfortunately after one winter the walls are a complete mess. I'm not getting the person who did it back, so I am after any advice on fixing the problem.

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The walls are made from breeze blocks and it seems that water is coming through from the inside and destroying the rendering. What would be a good way to fix this? I'm not too worried about it looking perfect, I just want it sorted. I've played around with the idea pulling all of the rendering off and painting the breeze blocks, but I'm thinking that will be a nightmare job as breeze blocks are quite soft.

Could I do something to the inside of the walls to waterproof it, or could it be that the water might be coming down from the top? Any advice would be great!

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The only way to figure out a solution is to investigate. Fortunately all you need is a tarp and a spade (good back helps too).

  • pick an area where the paint is spalling
  • remove the soil on the inside of the wall down to the bottom of the wall

What you need to find is what, if any, precautions have been taken to prevent water moving through the breeze block. You might see

  • tar based emulsion which breaks down with time
  • roofing paper- ineffective very fast
  • 40 ml pond liner - best solution
  • nothing

You need to prevent water moving from inside the bed to outside. This is what is causing the paint to spall off.

A "last a lifetime" solution would be:

This means digging out all the beds and redoing the job with the right materials. If you try coating the outside of the wall with a waterproof compound you will be keeping the water inside the breeze block which will cause them to break apart in a few years.

For the amount of work involved why not consider getting a good job done with an interlock retaining wall?

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    Thank you very much for the great response (and editing my post!). Certainly some food for thought and positive that there might be a solution to this problem. I'll do some investigation, as you suggest and go from there! – Andy Mar 22 '15 at 23:14
  • You might be able to get away with skimming the front of the walls with a cost of waterproof cement. After cleaning off all the peeling off stuff of course. – nportelli Mar 25 '15 at 13:39
  • @nportelli Only if there is somewhere for the water to go. if it is not going out through the breeze block walls due to a coat of waterproof cement then it starts crumbling the walls – kevinsky Mar 25 '15 at 13:56
  • Good point. I assumed decent drainage. Better have that in check. – nportelli Mar 25 '15 at 14:06

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