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  1. BridgeMan

    Do I REALLY need to replace the expansion valve?

    A very quick search brought up a retail price of just under 140 bucks for the valve. Your repair outfit won't be paying anything close to that, probably less than $100. If you pay the $550, you're a far richer man than most of us. Not a bad profit ($450) for less than an hour's worth of...
  2. BridgeMan

    Need to resurface basement floor

    As a disinterested third party, who has bought and sold numerous houses in the last (almost) 50 years, I think the difference between a rotten crumbly basement floor and one that consists of new concrete could be a determining factor in how long you sit on the place once you've placed it on the...
  3. BridgeMan

    Concrete Patio Hole/Opening

    Concrete block would have been a poor choice for a cistern, as it's too porous and would allow (lots of) water to seep through it. Before sealing it up, however, it wouldn't hurt to poke around on the bottom floor to make sure it doesn't have some water valves or sewer line cleanouts--either or...
  4. BridgeMan

    Need to resurface basement floor

    Since you haven't had any responses in almost 2 weeks, I'll make a few comments: "Soft and crumbly concrete" would not make for good bond with any kind of overlay. You should give serious thought to just removing and replacing all of the concrete with new concrete. Sure, it's a big job, being...
  5. BridgeMan

    Concrete Expansion Fireplace

    I'm no expert either, but a concern I have is with the blocks and mortar joints absorbing rain water, which when heated by a hot fire, could create enough steam pressure to blow things apart. Major efforts should be taken to keep water away from concrete blocks and mortar joints.
  6. BridgeMan

    Are these foundation cracks ok?

    The nature of the stemwall crack, being much wider at the top than the bottom, would indicate that the wall to the left of the crack is rotating downward. Further investigation should be done to determine why it's happening, and then proceed with a structural repair if warranted. While...
  7. BridgeMan

    Dryer Vent Duct, 10 Miles Long

    Long runs of dryer vent pipe can be helped along by installing an in-line fan, made for that purpose. My buddy's new house had a 20'+ run of vent, and the building department made him buy and install such a fan. They can be pricey, and his switched on whenever the dryer was used.
  8. BridgeMan

    Cratering in our Driveway Different from Every other Driveway in Development!

    You're confusing "digressing" with "anti-government ranting." How you justify working that into a concrete driveway scaling thread is quite a stretch. And besides--what happened to the truce?
  9. BridgeMan

    Cratering in our Driveway Different from Every other Driveway in Development!

    If you're serious, I'll check her schedule. But a warning--she insists on flying first class, so be prepared to pay for a pricey ticket. And just a cheap room for $300 or so ought to be adequate.
  10. BridgeMan

    Cratering in our Driveway Different from Every other Driveway in Development!

    Your link essentially described scaling as I did. And the OP's pix clearly show good examples of scaling. Not spalling. But it still needs to be determined: Is she skinny, thin, or svelte?
  11. BridgeMan

    Cratering in our Driveway Different from Every other Driveway in Development!

    Having made a living in structural evaluation, and inspecting many thousands of deteriorated concrete surfaces, starting in 1967, I've relied on the definition of scaling provided by the Federal Highway Administration's Bridge Inspector's Training Manual: Scaling: The gradual deterioration of...
  12. BridgeMan

    Cratering in our Driveway Different from Every other Driveway in Development!

    The photos indicate the concrete is experiencing scaling, not spalling. The former is usually limited to the surface, while spalling goes much deeper and eventually results in complete deterioration. The OP's scaling looks to be the result of too much chert in the mix, an aggregate which...
  13. BridgeMan

    Concrete Spalling to buy or not to buy house?

    Keep in mind that repairing the obviously bad columns now does nothing for all of the others that will some day also require repairs or complete replacement. Corrosion of embedded reinforcing steel in a salt-water environment is an ongoing problem, and spending $10k per column if the damage is...
  14. BridgeMan

    Small crack in driveway

    Most caulking compounds are junk, and not at all appropriate for repairing concrete cracks. Even if the cracks are routed out and blown clean, the caulking will usually not stay adhered to the base concrete for more than a year or two. And it will always look like dog dung. The OP's cracks...
  15. BridgeMan

    Need help/suggestions for Deck framing problem.

    And having no safety railing around the perimeter, it would be wise to not let Granny (or any aging friend/visitor/relative) out there very long, unattended. It's an accident waiting to happen. I'm speaking from experience. My 80-year-old mother stepped off my back patio (9" above the...
  16. BridgeMan

    Why do people build a fence on the posts?

    I kind of like the "putying" over the head idea. But I thought he was the president of Russia, the guy Obama is currently feuding with. On the other hand, if you really meant applying putty over the head of the screws (puttying), nobody would notice until a year or so later on a windy day...
  17. BridgeMan

    Small Flowerbed Retaining Wall drainage needed?

    Instead of wood, which will eventually rot and require replacement (even when preservative pressure-treated), a better option would be to use a dry-stack paver block wall system. They would look quite decorative if you install a semi-circle of them, 3 or 4 courses high, around each shrub. Many...
  18. BridgeMan

    how much does block concrete fence cost?

    It's been a week since the OP responded to our comments, so maybe she just gave up on us. I don't think she'll get her fence built for the ten or fifteen grand she somehow thinks it should cost., but I'm not about to guess at a number (that wouldn't be very meaningful anyway).
  19. BridgeMan

    Newbie needs help with concrete/stucco repair

    A margin trowel is your friend for this project, as the offset in its handle will allow you to apply more pressure against the fluid repair product as you try to force it into the repair area. Putty knives aren't designed for that, and will not be nearly as effective. Are you really...
  20. BridgeMan

    Brick Repair on Fannie Mae home - buy or run?

    Ten-four on that--my bad.