Shotcrete is routinely used for the repair of deteriorated concrete masonry and brick. Shotcrete should easily have a minimum compressive strength of 4000 psi (28 MPa) when properly shot and cured. According to the National Concrete Masonry Association, current CMU units have a minimum 2000 psi (14 MPa) compressive strength. Older CMU had a lower 1500 psi (10 MPa) minimum. Thus, the shotcrete placement will be significantly stronger and less permeable than the in-place CMU. This should give the wall better resistance to saltwater and freeze-thaw exposures thus extending useful life.

Depending on the depth of the new shotcrete placement, you may consider mechanically tying the shotcreted layer back to the sound CMU with epoxy or mechanically embedded anchors or j-bolts. Thicker sections may also benefit from the use of a steel wire mesh or fibers.

 When shooting onto existing CMU sections, the surface must be properly prepared and then shotcreted with proper shotcrete materials, equipment, and placement techniques. Shotcrete placed onto an existing CMU surface will provide an excellent bond IF the following conditions are met:

  • Make sure the surface is roughened and clean.
  • The amplitude of roughness should be +/- 1/8th in. (3 mm) or more.
  • A high-pressure water blaster (5000 psi [34 MPa] or more) or abrasive blasting can help to roughen and clean the surface.
  • Bring the CMU surface to a saturated surface dry (SSD) condition. This means the surface feels damp, but water is not picked up on a hand.
  • Make sure the shotcrete placement is properly executed with high-velocity placement and quality materials.
  • The shotcrete should have a minimum 28-day compressive strength of 4000 psi (28 MPa).
  • Be sure the shotcrete contractor is using an air compressor able to produce at least 185 CFM (5.2m3/min) for wet-mix and 375 CFM (10.6 m3/min) for dry-mix (gunite) of air flow at 100 to 120 psi (0.7 to 0.8 MPa).
  • Use of an ACI-certified shotcrete nozzleman is recommended.
  • No bonding agent should be used. It will interfere with the natural bonding characteristics of shotcrete placement.

 Finally, without details on the loading conditions, and structural details of the original construction, we cannot comment on the structural integrity of the repaired wall. You should contact a professional engineer experienced in concrete repair to evaluate the structural integrity of the wall when repaired.