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Old 11-19-2012, 02:12 AM   #1
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


Hi all, thanks for reading this thread.

I noticed that our basement storage room has water leaking problem, and directly above that storage room is a concrete stairs that lead to the main door... here are pictures (click on the pictures to zoom in):







Now, this concrete stairs has some old caulking and is really old, but there is NO visually detectable cracks or anything. What would be the best way to seal or waterproof the concrete walkway/steps to prevent further water leaking to the storage room? Thanks again!

Last edited by ohman; 11-21-2012 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:30 PM   #2
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


I called a local concrete contractor but he thought that the job was too small so he recommended a handyman. Anyway, I was thinking to follow these steps:

1. Power-wash the whole steps and hope that it would expose all the cracks and stuff
2. Remove all the "old" caulks (it doesn't seems the caulk was working well)
3. Re-caulk the cracks and seams with a really GOOD masonry caulking (any recommendation about this)??
4. Finally seal the concrete with a concrete sealer (is there such a thing that is similar to DryLok but has NO color in it, any recommendation)??

Would this fix this problem once for all?? Thoughts or comments? Thanks!
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:51 AM   #3
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


Found this article: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/how...concrete-steps

also this YouTube video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nEQCGHZM_A

By the way, anyone has any experience with sikaflex 1a? Is it a good product for concrete crack caulking? Thanks!
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:16 AM   #4
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


By the way, judging from the photos above, what type of concrete surface do I have on these concrete steps? Is it "Bare" standard concrete (not sure, as most bare concrete seems to have smooth surface to me but the one that I have is textured), colored concrete, or fibercrete (not even sure that this is)... I found this article which seems useful for people to decide what type of concrete sealer to buy... any thoughts or comments? Thanks!!
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:10 AM   #5
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


Hmm... did some research and contacted with RadonSeal. They took a look a the picture and suggested using their LastiSeal Brick, Concrete, & Masonry Sealer. See http://www.radonseal.com/concrete-sealers/lastiseal.htm

Does anyone has any success story with this product? Thoughts or comments? Thanks again!
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:12 AM   #6
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


I think builders have lost there minds when they build something like that.
I've never once seen one not leak.
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:36 PM   #7
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
I think builders have lost there minds when they build something like that.
I've never once seen one not leak.
The house was built in 1935 and I think for this concrete walkway it is the original one... I'm curious though why you said that builders lost their minds when they built something like that... isn't concrete walkway/stairs like this very common in California? Thanks!

BTW, is there any differences (in terms of waterproofing) between "flat" and "satin" for the masonry sealer? I know it's just sheen but is "satin" (more shiny) also stand up to moisture better than flat? Thanks!

Last edited by ohman; 11-21-2012 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:20 AM   #8
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


Building stairs like that is not just a CA thing.
There's just no good water to water proof them where built over an open area.
Morter is not water proof, where the stone comes in contact with the stucco and the outside of the house can not be made 100% waterproof.
Even around the base of the steps is going to leak.

If you look around on some of the older post on this site and any DIY site I've ever seen any time the stairs are in direct contact with the side of the house without proper waterproof of the wall itself or built over an open area there's moisture and often termite damage to most of them.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:38 PM   #9
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


So, I discussed this issue with a friend of mine. He came up with some creative ideas, such as building a awning for this concrete walkway/stairs to keep it dry. However, I think we want to try to seal it first.

We did a flood test and found that the seams seem to be the most problematic ones (leak most water to storage room). I did some research and found this product called CrackWeld. Does anyone have any experience with this product? Many thanks!
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:59 PM   #10
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


Sikaflex is a good product, I can't remember which flavor is self leveling, but that is what you want. Ideally you put backer rod in the crack and then use a self leveling polyurethane (sp?)to seal the crack.

If I were to seal those steps, I would get a good Siloxane sealant or consolident and plan to reseal every couple of years or so depending on the amount of traffic. I would not warrent such a repair as it would be a band aid, but sometimes that is all a customer wants and I appreciate that.

A word about sealants, they often trap moisture and then cause more damage than prevention so find someone in your area that has some experience with this type of situation and listen to their advice. The terms flat or satin are a red flag for me. I would be looking for a penetrating sealer that is not visible when the steps are dry. Prosoco is a reputable company with a ton of products. If you have a rep in your area, they will be able to recommend the best product.

For what its worth, those steps look to be constructed of stone rather than cement, but maybe it's just the picture.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:30 AM   #11
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


sikaflex & many other sealants are good products when selected & installed properly using backer rod,,, bear in mind you can never stop wtr from running downhill especially into a hole,,, sealants are waterproof so yes, they do trap moisture however their purpose is to keep OUT water from penetrating a joint,,, if there's moisture inside, that's not a problem NOR a solution of joint sealants.

prosoco makes a decent product - xypex & sika also as do many other manufacturers - you just don't find them at apron/vest stores

we've often completed projects such as yours but ALWAYS install sumps & pumps in the bottom of the stairwell,,, anything else is futile - we do it but NEVER guarantee results
you could always put a big umbrella over your house being a h/o is at odds w/trying to solve this problem as it costs more $$$ to do it correctly & we h/o's usually/always want to go cheap

' consolident ' = ' consolidex ' ? ? ?
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:28 PM   #12
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


Quote:
Originally Posted by dakzaag View Post
If I were to seal those steps, I would get a good Siloxane sealant or consolident and plan to reseal every couple of years or so depending on the amount of traffic. I would not warrent such a repair as it would be a band aid, but sometimes that is all a customer wants and I appreciate that.
Thanks for everyone's reply. I really appreciate that.

For good Siloxane sealant or consolident, can someone please recommend some brands or products to use?? Does Sikaflex make Siloxane based sealant? If not, how would Sikaflex products compare to those Siloxane sealants? Thoughts or comments?

I also found this article about different types of concrete sealers, hope this would help someone in the future...

Last edited by ohman; 11-29-2012 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:07 PM   #13
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


fox industries, sika ( they make sikaflex ), kryton, zypex, prosoco, l & m, h & c ( owned by sher-wms ), euclid, apron/vest stores, hardware stores, etc,,, no silicone siloxane will resolve your problem but it WILL help sellers make boat pymts it won't stop water from penetrating open joints, porous mortar, OR running downhill ( steps ),,, it WILL only waterproof capillary penetration after all, a crack is still a crack is an open joint, etc

its CONSOLIDEX, NOT consolident,,, your toothpaste isn't peposdex, is it ? your 'shorthand' link doesn't work - i know you'd like to find a silver bullet but take a tip from the pro's - do it once OR buy a bodacious big umbrella
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:05 PM   #14
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ohman View Post
The house was built in 1935 and I think for this concrete walkway it is the original one... I'm curious though why you said that builders lost their minds when they built something like that... isn't concrete walkway/stairs like this very common in California? Thanks!

BTW, is there any differences (in terms of waterproofing) between "flat" and "satin" for the masonry sealer? I know it's just sheen but is "satin" (more shiny) also stand up to moisture better than flat? Thanks!


You keep referring to the stairs as concrete,they are stone and you will never seal them,save your money on any sealer as it will not work,if you want a real fix tear it out and do a poured concrete stoop and stairs.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:59 PM   #15
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Best way to waterproof old exterior concrete steps?


As far as I know, Sikaflex is a caulk type crack sealer and they do not make sealers to be applied to the entire surface. Prosoco does make sealers to be applied to the entire surface.

The joints could be cleaned out and stuffed with backer rod and then caulked with sikaflex. The entire step surface could then be treated with a sealer that is appropriate for the surface which appears to be stone. A siloxane would not be a good sealer for natural stone.

Prosoco has several natural stone sealers that are effective, but I don't know how they hold up to traffic. Sealers are not a catch all and I was referring to a consolident or concrete hardener that can be applied to strengthen old concrete. These steps do not appear to be concrete.

For what it is worth, if those steps were mine, I would not tear them out if they leaked buckets of water every rain. They are well made, extremely durable and attractive. Show me a cement step anywhere in the world that is as attractive as natural stone especially after 75 years of exposure and I will eat my hat.

Last edited by dakzaag; 11-29-2012 at 10:01 PM.
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