I have a cottage with a natural stone wall in an arid climate that sees rain only in the winter.

The wall is really nice to look at:

enter image description here

The stones were collected from the area, and attached to the wall with cement. However, it appears that when the cement dried, it shrunk, and left many small holes in between the stones.

Apparently as a consequence, there is water damage on that wall inside:

enter image description here

It appears that the wall isn't completely watertight, and rainwater is coming through.

I bought the house only recently, so I do not know whether this is the damage from one winter, or from ten.

Still, something needs to be done because this corner is the only one that can house the wardrobe.

The only way to fix this that I can see right now is to plaster the wall. However, the thought breaks my heart because I'd of course be destroying its beauty.

Is there a way to water-proof a natural stone wall while preserving its look?

  • What is the rest of the wall made out? Masonry? Wood frame?
    – iLikeDirt
    Jul 20 '14 at 13:45
  • @iLikeDirt it's really tough to tell I'm afraid. I'm seeing cement protruding from in between the stones but I don't know what the wall's core is made out of.
    – Pekka
    Jul 20 '14 at 17:43

Where is the water damage relative to the exterior ground level? I note in the outside picture that there is significant slope to the ground - if the ground on the uphill and slope-side sides is not shaped to move water away from and around the house, it would be likely that there would be water damage on the lower parts of the walls from water flowing over the ground into the house - that would be corrected by reshaping the ground, not anything on the above-ground wall.

You could certainly try a clear-spray-on waterproofing material on the stones - but that won't solve ground drainage issues, if those are the problem. Digging out the soil around the house and applying waterproofing to the below-ground wall and placing a drainage pipe in the bottom of the trench before refilling will address those more throughly if reshaping the ground does not completely solve the problem.

  • We did consider that; I should have elaborated in the post. The damage is indeed on par with the exterior ground level, but it goes on further inside the room, always staying on the same level while the exterior level climbs three feet (to the left of the photo of the stone wall). That made us think it's coming in from above rather than below.
    – Pekka
    Jul 20 '14 at 14:42
  • 1
    It could be coming in from the ground and then traveling along a joint in the wall - hard to be certain without knowing how the wall is constructed.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 20 '14 at 15:10
  • thanks. That's indeed a possibility as well. Unfortunately I don't know what the wall is made of on the inside. I may go with the thorough option you suggest.
    – Pekka
    Jul 20 '14 at 17:44

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