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A parge coat is a veneer plaster that is applied to the concrete block piers and stem walls to give it a finished seamless appearance.  No lath is required.  Its usually a 2 coat process, a scratch and final coat.  Traditionally this would’ve been done over brick piers which are a breathable material.  Therefore they used to use lime plaster which is breathable and flexible.  With concrete block piers, a portland cement based plaster is typically used for its added strength, availability, and cost.  A dye could’ve been added to the mix, or a paint can be applied at a later date.  I plan on leaving it as a “natural” finish.  The joints of the blocks are showing through though, and paint may be required.  I will wait another week or more to see if the block joints disappear.  Essentially the blocks are more pourous than the mortar, so the blocks absorb the moisture from the plaster and leave the block pattern on the face of the plaster.  Im not sure if the block masons were taking a short cut and only applied 1 coat, or if this is typical.

This parge coat could’ve been applied at any stage of the design, but it turns out that doing it before the finish grading of the site is good so that they can apply the parge a few inches lower than the final grade.  This insures that there is exposed concrete block.  The only problem though is that is is susceptible to damage during the duration of construction.

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