Fieldstone Wall Repair – Waltham

At this home in Waltham a stone wall had collapsed during a heavy rainstorm – fortunately it missed the car that was parked below!  As it turns out this wall was dry laid and built up against an existing concrete wall.  We at Concord Stoneworks would not have suggested this method given the circumstances.  A dry stone wall can be the most cost effective way to offer favorable aesthetics and a sturdy long lasting structure, however, in this case the structure was already in place.  This wall was purely decorative in which case some sort of stone veneer would have been the most appropriate method.

fieldstone wall waltham, ma

For whatever reason the builders decided to build a dry stone wall.  They gave the new stone wall a thickness of ~2 feet and built it against the concrete wall behind.  This could have been a acceptable method, however, they did not stack the stones properly and gravity in combination with hydrostatic pressure caused it’s collapse.  Building a dry stone wall takes a unique skill set in which the stone mason lays each stone so that the force of gravity works in one’s favor to hold the wall together.  In this case we would have wedged the stones and battered the wall back for strength.  However, this builder built the wall straight up and set the stones level.  Being on downward sloping hill, the stones eventually slipped out and the wall collapsed.

The homeowner, not wanting to rebuild the entire wall, tasked us with rebuilding just the collapsed portion.  For this we removed the remaining base stones and rebuilt the wall with mortar and by wedging the stones and battering the wall slightly back.  The goal was to build a sturdy wall that still matched the existing.  By using minimal mortar we were able to mimic the aesthetic of the dry laid wall while giving the new portion additional support.

Fieldstone Wall Repair - Waltham, MA

Fieldstone Wall Repair – Waltham, MA

After removing the base and re-laying, here is the wall halfway built.  And pictured below you will see the finished product.

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Fieldstone Wall Repair – Westford, MA

This fieldstone wall in Westford, MA was damaged after being struck by a fast moving vehicle.  The car careened off of the first wall, narrowly missed the house, and then struck another stone wall further down the property.  Fortunately the driver was able to walk away from the incident.

The homeowner found our website and hired us to rebuild the damaged portions of the dry laid stone wall.  It was also a convenient time to tidy up some of the other portions of the walls that had deteriorated over time.

Fieldstone wall damage - Westford, MA

Fieldstone wall damage – Westford, MA

One of the advantages of a dry laid stone wall such as this is that when damage does occur, be it from a vehicle or snow plow or just ground movement and frost heaving over the years, the repairs are fairly inexpensive.  The stones can be easily dismantled and then re-used in the same style.  Often it is hardly apparent that any repairs took place at all.  Had this wall been laid with mortar, the repairs would have been much more extensive.

Farm wall damage - Westford, MA

Farm wall damage – Westford, MA

The larger wall above and to the right is of a rougher style – often how you see old farm walls. Farmers would pull stones out of the field and quickly and roughly stack them at the property line.  Emulating the same style and method, we were able to tidy up this wall and re-stack the stones that had come off.  Without bringing in machinery and tearing it all out and rebuilding a higher finish wall – were were able to clean up this stone wall by hand in short time.

Farm Wall - Westford, MA

Farm Wall – Westford, MA

The other wall being of a higher finish took a bit more care.  For this we first dismantled the damaged portion and then rebuilt.  The fieldstones were laid in the same style, making an effort to re-use aged/lichen covered stones on the surface in order to maintain the aesthetic of this old New England stone wall.

Fieldstone Wall Repair - Westford, MA

Fieldstone Wall Repair – Westford, MA

The result came out well and to the untrained eye it is hardly noticeable that any repairs took place at all.

With a days work, we at Concord Stoneworks were able to make big improvements while preserving the traditional aesthetic of these New England fieldstone walls.


fieldstone wall repair


fieldstone wall repair


Fieldstone Wall - Westford, MA

Fieldstone Wall – Westford, MA