Leaking front steps, help identify construction/solution.


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Old 01-18-09, 11:05 PM
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Leaking front steps, help identify construction/solution.

During rain our front steps have started to leak, presumably through their joints, into the garage. I'm guessing deteriorating joint material is the problem, but looking at the steps from both sides I'm not sure how to handle it. Here are pix of the front/back of one of them:


What is exactly is that joint material that looks like it's cracking in the outside picture? What are my choices for replacement? Before I try ripping out the joint stuff, what kind of construction does this look like? I'm guessing some type of wood frame with some kind of compound stone steps outside, and concrete on the inside.. Should I just try pulling out and re-aplying the joint material to start? Or does the fact that moisture is coming all the way through and dripping off the concrete on the inside mean the concrete should be addressed too?


Thanks for looking!
-max
 
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Old 01-23-09, 03:15 PM
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"Should I just try pulling out and re-aplying the joint material to start?"

That's exactly what i would do.
 
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Old 01-23-09, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Pulpo
That's exactly what i would do.
What kind of sealant would you (or anyone) use for exterior masonry steps? At my local big box store, all of the polyurethane sealants that were specifically for concrete or masonry were grey. The stuff I have in my steps now looks like it was originally white or off white..

Thanks for the reply
 
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Old 01-23-09, 05:54 PM
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If you have to match the color, then check with a brick supply yard instead.
 
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Old 01-23-09, 09:12 PM
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Cutting out existing caulk and installing rope caulk in large gaps and caulking over with exterior flexible masonry caulk would be a temporary fix at best. Judging from the picture of the back side of the steps, the probably has been going on for some time and concrete has begun to deteriorate. You can caulk and apply penetrating masonry sealer to the steps, but eventually they will have to be replaced. The decorative gravel finish is dated.

There may be other factors involved. Without seeing the total picture such as slope of soil that may drive water behind the steps or overflowing gutters from above the steps, it is difficult to make additional suggestions.

Once you have resolved the water penetration issues on the exterior, the damaged areas behind the steps can be chiseled out an filled with hydraulic cement. Patch Leaky Basement Cracks
 
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Old 01-24-09, 08:15 AM
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You can strip out the old caulk and replace it. Any contractors supply (not home center) should sell a line of colored caulk which you can then match to your job. After caulking the front, I would then apply the hydraulic cement to the underside as twelvepole suggested. Follow all directions on the container, especially the preparation instructions. If you want to, you could then paint the underside with something like drylok.
It's interesting that the top of your steps looks like exposed aggregate (exposed stone chips in red integrally colored concrete) but that the underside looks gray. If it was integrally colored concrete, the underside should be red too. Has some type of gray coating been applied to the underside of the steps at some point, maybe for the purpose of waterproofing? There appears to be a date scratched into the coating which could not have been done in the original concrete (because the forms would still be in place until the concrete was too hard to scratch).
I don't think there's any wood frame with a topping compound, I think the steps are one solid piece of formed concrete.
 
 

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