Monday, July 07, 2008

Sidewalk Patching

A couple of years ago, I had sidewalks added to the front half of the side of my house. The back half of the side of the house still had vintage sidewalks in good condition, so I let them be.

Over the years, those vintage sidewalks had worked their way out an inch or two from the foundation wall. Or maybe they were poured with a gap. Who knows. At any rate, water had created a gap clear down the side of the submerged foundation wall. One of the PO's tried to patch the area using stucco patch. It was pretty ugly, but did the job for a while. Then the whole thing started to crack and every year I went out there and filled the cracks with caulk.

My caulk repairs went on for years until the caulk was really the only thing holding the whole thing together.

Last week my dad came over and helped me pull out the old patch, fill the gap with compacted sand and patch the top 1-2" with patching cement. This should keep water and other crap from seeping down the side of the foundation.

Obviously, I still need to scrape off some old caulk and repaint the foundation, but the whole thing looks much better now.


Derek said...

I had sidewalks right against the house like that, and I got rid of them, they caused a lot of problems. It's better to have a 6" to 1' gap between sidewalk and foundation, and have good drain tile as well. My foundation hasn't leaked since I got rid of that sidewalk.

Anonymous said...

its called an expansion joint, normally its filled with a fiberous material, that is impregnated with a water repellent. it is needed to allow the sidewalk to expand and contract. when you fill it with a solid concrete patch, when it expands it will destroy the patch, burt better that then you basement wall, which I have had happen. I bet if you check with a home center the center, they could come up with a repair......really just a piece of rope slightly bigger the the gap, just cut to length and force down with a putty knife and hammer if necessary...should do the trick.....just a thought. Bill

StuccoHouse said...

Derek - That must be a regional thing. It is very typical for sidewalks to be poured to the foundation here. In fact, I don't think you could even get them to pour a sidewalk that far away from a foundation here. It may have to do with the fact that most of the city lots have a very small side yard on one side of our house....but it would certainly also have to do with water concerns. My basement is quite dry and except for once when I first moved in and the gutter was broken....have never had water in my basement.

Bill - I am quite familiar with what an expansion joint is - my dad - helping with the project - is a structural engineer that specializes in concrete.

I do have the eensy-tiniest of clues what is going on here ;-)

The 2" gap I described was *not* an expansion joint. The sidewalk does, however, have proper expansion joints running at a *vertical* from the house.

Remember, that concrete shrinks significantly when it dries, so the concrete patch filling the large gap shrank...leaving a small crack that I will later fill properly with elastomeric exterior caulk. This is where you get the slight shifting ability that you are worried about.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you took offense when none was intended......concrete will expand in all directions...and have had that sidewalk expansion actually break my block foundation allowing water into the basement....because some clever person did not leave an expansion joint between the walk and house. I would have thought you and your dad would have figured out that filling in that gap with something brittle and weaker then the slab would automatically be the weak point and would give......sorry I was just trying to be helpful......but obviously more that your house needs working on.....good luck

StuccoHouse said...

No offense taken. I just wonder why some people read blogs where someone has posted about a project they have advice solicited...and assume that they know much more on the topic and proceed to tell the blogger how to "fix" it.

I don't know you from Adam. I do know plenty about concrete and how it moves. Your suggestion of forcing rope down a 2" gap with a putty knife does not convinvce me you have more expertise on the topic than my current opinions ;-)

But in the end, I'm happy to have all types of people read my blog.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin