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Most of our residential jobs involve removing an old wood or concrete panel fence and replacing it with a 6’ high block fence using 4” or 6” fence block and new gates. The standard residential block fence is 6 feet, or 9 courses high.
We offer our commercial customers a wide range of services for all their masonry needs including retaining walls, masonry trash enclosures, theme walls, perimeter walls, screen walls, mechanical room enclosures, screen walls, and signage walls.
Here at Sunset Fence, Inc., we are often contacted by block wall owners who ask what can be done to repair water damaged sections of their wall, or, they ask how to remove the calcified water stains. Unfortunately, preventative maintenance is the best answer.
Block walls act like a sponge and wick up water that touches it. As the water evaporates, minerals (mineral salts, magnesium ions, calcium, lead, copper & sulfates) are left behind that will deteriorate a block wall over time. Rain water is not harmful, the hard water from irrigation and sprinklers is harmful to your block wall.
It is impossible to replace just the bottom course of damaged block on a block wall, the entire panel will need to be torn down and replaced if the bottom course(s) are deteriorated to the point of needing replacement.
Nothing can be done to correct the water problem from the dry side of the wall. The source of water needs to be addressed.
Almost all standard residential block walls in Arizona are made of Interlocking fence block supported by pilasters. Due to the blocks being interlocking, moisture can seep through from block to block.
The best thing that can be done to prevent water damage to a block wall is to adjust the watering system. Prevent sprinklers from hitting the wall and prevent irrigation from soaking up against it.
To help prevent further damage, a Moisture Sealant can be applied to the wall from the side of the moisture. The wall will need to be completely dry all the way through and on both sides before application (usually a 3-4 day drying period). Perimeter fences made of standard fence block are not designed to retain water or soil, and even if a moisture sealant is applied, due to the interlocking nature of the blocks, if one gets wet, the moisture can spread under the sealant to the others.
Occasionally hosing a block wall down will not cause harm to the block, but repeated sprinklers hitting the wall day after day will cause damage - especially to the “dry” side of the wall where the evaporated minerals slowly eat away at the wall.
Hard water stains, like those seen around the bottom of flower pots, can also occur on your block wall due to repeated minimal moisture from sprinklers or irrigation. Although unsightly, these stains will not damage your block wall. Continued moisture that soaks through the block from sprinklers or irrigation over 1+ year can start to deteriorate your wall. Commercial-grade chemicals can be purchased and applied with a pressure washer to remove the outer layer of block and expose the unstained masonry below, however, if applied incorrectly, you can damage the wall or change the texture of the block. However, new stains will just appear next time the fence soaks up water again and the water evaporates. Painting with elastomeric masonry paint will hide the stains.
If you have any further questions on maintenance or preventative care, please feel free to contact us either via email or a phone call.
Check out our Gallery for more photos.
10 Course High 4” Residential Block Fence
with Drain Blocks
10 Course High 6” Residential Block Fence
with 1 Row of Split-Face Block
Residential Block Wall Types