Have you ever had a home improvement project that you knew needed to be done and could be done, but everyone else told you it was impossible, especially the professionals? That was the situation the good folks at domeasureablymore.com encountered with the side of their house nearest the pool.
Their otherwise lovely home had a problem with flooding in the patio area, due to some poor planning by prior owners regarding raised flower beds that abutted that side of the house and continued in poorly stacked cinderblock step ups around the corner from the small garden area. Neither of the raised earth areas had adequate drainage; all run-off emptying into a woefully inadequate French drain. Flooding, eventually extending into the basement of the house, was a foregone conclusion if something wasn’t done and soon.
The homeowners made the decision to remove the raised earth along the patio wall, taking it down to the level of the sidewalk and pool surround the area opens on to. Additionally they removed raised beds and a veritable jungle of overgrowth opposite this area. Combined together this expanded the space available for the formerly cramped patio. However, removal of the raised earth along the wall facing the patio and pool revealed an unsightly issue—either the former owners or the original contractor had had the foresight to weather proof the house wall that had been formerly covered by the raised earth; but no one knew with what. It looked like some sort of tar treatment and extended halfway up the now exposed wall. The experts claimed that nothing would stick to that ugly tar weatherproofing, no paint known to man and precious little else.
Professionals were consulted about what could be done to remedy what had turned into an eyesore. Siding was discussed, but required a peculiar wire and foam installation that came with an entirely new set of problems and a price tag edging northward of $4000 for just the patio wall! A traditional stucco treatment would also be required, the pros said, adding to the expense and trouble.
Not folks to back down from a challenge, the homeowners, particularly the lady of the house, decided that there had to be other, cheaper options. Even her husband (a professional painter) agreed with the pros that nothing would stick to that weatherproofing, but this gutsy gal stuck to her guns.
Her solution was ingenious and far less expensive than the contractors would have had her believe. The blog post calls it a “Patio Wall Stucco” project, but this is a term of convenience more than accuracy. The lady of the house rejected a traditional stucco process in favor of treating the problem wall with a scratch coat of “Quickcrete Mortar Mix” applied directly to the cinderblocks of the now exposed exterior wall of the house. This scratch coat was troweled into place to bring the surface level with the weatherproofing, and blended in. The plan was to next prime the entire wall and paint it.
Did it work? Judge for yourself, here is an archived link to the original post complete with great photographs of before, after and work in process:
The moral to this story? Even when the professionals say that nothing can be done, except at great expense and with only one particular product and installation, weigh your options carefully and do your due diligence. No one is more creative than a determined DIYer with a supposedly unsolvable problem facing them. Chances are, a non-standard approach will yield results just as sound as the more costly alternatives, and really, what have you got to lose?