Real Estate News

Ask the Remodeler: The cellar and garage walls are turning pink

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The concrete near the bottom of the garage wall is turning pink. Handout

Q. Our home was built in 1984, and we purchased it in 1992. The first level is above ground with a two-car garage, a furnace/utility room, and the cellar itself. All three areas are concrete halfway up from the floor. Within the past several months I have noticed the concrete turning pink in several areas in the cellar and garage. Both of these areas are unheated. The pink doesn’t rub off. We have not had it tested for mold, tried to wash it, or had it covered up. The cellar concrete was painted in 2000. The paint is wearing off and turning color.


P.P., Plymouth

A. There are a couple things happening here. The pink is definitely from moisture seeping in ever so slowly. It is coming in between the footing and the wall, a notorious weak spot in foundation construction. The odd coloring could be from something getting into the water that makes its way down the exterior of the foundation. Dyed bark mulch perhaps, or was the house power-washed recently? A good possibility too is the aggregate or stone they used in the concrete; years ago in New England, a main supplier used purple/pink/gray granite as aggregate, and over the years that could bleed out. Regarding the concrete wall paint: After 22 years it is probably time to recoat. Nothing more than that. I would use a masonry Drylok paint that can help hold back the inevitable moisture penetration.

Q. I have a split-entry/raised ranch-type house built in 1974. Recently, I noticed a gap forming between a gutter and the roof. Upon further examination, it appears the overhang over the front door is starting to sag. How is this fixed?

C.N., North Attleborough

A. When the gutter is pulling away, it is often a sign that the ends of the rafter tails are softening up, which could be the result of a slow roof leak. That could also explain some of the sagging. The soffit and fascia (the trim that projects from your roofline) also need a solid nailing; they may be pulling loose from the rafters and framing. You definitely want a general contractor to look at this.


Mark Philben is the project development manager at Charlie Allen Renovations in Cambridge. Send your questions to [email protected]. Questions are subject to editing. Subscribe to the Globe’s free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at Follow us on Twitter @globehomes.


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