If you’ve been follow along, you would know that the exterior of our house has been our recent focus. Getting a house winter ready and the foundation protected is a lot of work. That includes making sure that our roof and gutter are in good order, the foundation is sealed and has good drainage, and all the windows and exterior doors have no leaks. Unfortunately, this house we inherited do not meet any of these requirements. When we moved in, we found that the weather stripping on our exterior doors were peeling, the foundation was surrounded by weeds, flower beds, and patios with wrong slopes, and the 20-year old roof was on buying time.
During the last three months (already?), we have changed our front and back storm doors, gotten rid of the front flower bed and weeds around the foundation, corrected the sloping issues of the front and back porch, and finally last week, finished grading around the house ! With our roof and gutter replacement in process, we are soooo close to the finish line of getting our house winter-ready!
This week, Slav gathered supplies and started tackling the last item on our to-do list: repairing the foundation cracks and getting the exterior of the house sealed. It took him four entire days to finish sealing everything – I was surprised that how much sealant this house drank up and how many different types of sealant he had to use for the job. These are just a sample of a subset of the product he had used:
1. Sealing exterior holes with the Sikaflex mortar fix
Among the hundreds and thousands pounds of stuff we removed from our ranch during our first month here, there was the satellite dish on the roof. Slav and I are never TV people. In fact, our only TV is currently used by Slav as a monitor. After the dish removal, we were left with many wires running along the house:
These wires entered nearly every room in the house:
Slav removed all the wires:
And we were left with many holes on our brick like this:
Slav cleaned them with a wire brush and filled them with a mortar sealant from Sikaflex:
This product drys to a color that is really close to our mortar. It might look a bit lighter in the pictures, but it is because that our mortar was dirty and old. We are planning to power-wash the house (it is fun to use the power washer again!) and the sealant will completely blend in. For now, the fix looks really natural and hardly noticeable:
2. Fixing the foundation cracks with concrete epoxy and DAP concrete sealant
The most serious problem we had on our foundation is the corner cracks. Slav cleaned them and glued the falling corner back on with this concrete epoxy and smoothed the gaps with the DAP concrete sealant.
He also went around the entire foundation and patched all the vertical cracks using the same DAP concrete sealant:
3. Sealing horizontal gaps/cracks with the Loctite non-sag sealant
We also see gaps where the exterior bricks meet the foundation. Since those gaps are horizontal, Slav opted for a non-sag sealant from Loctite:
It dries really fast so he filled these gaps in two steps. This is after the first fill:
And this is after the second fill. You can see that it became very smooth. I took this picture when the sealant was still drying. After it completely dried, it also blended in our mortal really well.
4. Seal drive way cracks with the Loctite self-leveling sealant
Moving down to our drive way, there are small cracks running down the control joints.
To seal them, Slav used a different product that self-levels. When he first applied it, it looked quite messy. But after 10 minutes or so, all the extra sealant sunk down into the joints and started to look pretty neat:
And after a few hours, the sealant looked like this:
Pretty cool, right? It dries very slowly so gravity can do its job of leveling the sealant.
Slav used this product on all the controlled joints in our concrete drive way, path and back patio:
The self-leviling product is also very good at handling small cracks:
However, it is definitely not dog-friendly:
Charlie laid down on one of the joints Slav had just filled and caught quite a big line of sealant on his fur! It dried so hard by the end of the day and we had to cut some of the fur off. 🙁
Slav covered the joints to prevent little paws from stepping into them:
5. Seal garage wall gap with concrete cement patcher
Last, there is a pretty significant gap between the old walkway and the southern side of the house:
The gap is so big that it would be really expensive and time-consuming to fill with any regular sealant. So Slav decided to use a concrete mix and basically just level the pathway with fast-set concrete.
Cleaning and patching around the house in hot sun is a lot of work – it took Slav a full week and it was so tedious. But it is necessary and we now have peace of mind knowing that our house is water-tight! If you still remember our big to-do list, I am happy to report that we also get the roof done this week! I will be back next week to show you the process, so stay tuned, my friends!