My Dad Provided Common Sense Again

Like I said before, I want the stucco to wrap around the corner where the downspout hides the ugly control joint. But there’s a problem. The cast iron pipe connecting my downspout to the sewer angles in toward the house so the top is right up against it. It’s original to the house (1890’s) and not in good shape. Ask me why I have a can of Bondo in the basement. But in until I can replace it, it’s in the way of the stucco.


At first I thought I’d just stucco up to it and repair the missing patch later. But this could get rust stains in my stucco and the patch may not be done right and could crack. So I thought maybe I could rig some kind of temporary plaster stop and leave a gap around the pipe. The metal trim would all be in place but no plaster on it. Then my dad thought of the solution that should have been obvious. Cut it off with the Sawzall. The problem? His sawzall is kinda old and battery powered, and the batteries weren’t holding up to the rigors of this job.

We decided that I’d go to Sears and buy more, even though that meant a trip to Jersey. And it wound up being a 2 Home Depot trip day because the Irishman was outside and he told us we were using the wrong kind of blades. When I came back with the right blade, it worked so well we didn’t need the new batteries.


You can see that the stucco was , ahem, a little crude behind the pipe. And let’s not talk about the more recent work just to the left that I won’t be coating over this year. The Irishman told me the previous owner hired crackheads from the street whenever he needed work done. But we were able to patch the tar paper properly. Meaning 6 inch laps on vertical seams and 2 inches horizontal. I recut the weep screed since the old one was damaged from being wedged in behind the pipe. And we put in a longer downspout. The old one was damaged anyway. It’s a much better fit now!


But it’ll still be a tight squeeze once the stucco is in place. I’ll probably have to crimp the downspout in a little bit more.


Now one more thing – you might have noticed that I installed corner bead after I said I didn’t want it. Historic stucco had hand finished corners and was less perfect looking, but the corner bead does provide structural benefits. Corners can be prone to spalling, and this extra steel prevents that. And really, I don’t have truly traditional stucco, which would have been a coating applied to solid masonry that the owner would repair as needed forever. Modern stucco is cladding and we expect it to hold together without a lot of maintenance. Hopefully with the job I’ve done I’ll be good for 75-100 years.


14 thoughts on “My Dad Provided Common Sense Again

  1. Barbara H.

    I’m glad you are making progress. I know it’s a long slow slog sometimes but you’ve solved a major problem, with help.


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Hopefully I can make it look good! I don’t think a sand finish (meaning rough but without knife marks or other decorative effects) is fairly easy to do. I once did a satisfactory job removing and patching a damaged area on a family friend’s garage. But the idea of doing this much of it all at once still intimidates me. Unless the Irishman makes good on his promise and shows up to help


  2. Mary Elizabeth

    I agree with Francetaste. Seventy-five to 100 years is good enough. You’ll be in a home by then–or at least assisted living! It’s going to look really good when done. Yes, the Saws-all is all about the right blade. Someone borrowed ours and went through several of the wrong blades for the job before learning this fact.


      1. Mary Elizabeth

        Depends on your lifestyle as well as genes. Also, discoveries in medical science and improvements in the environment change the timeline. People in my family who survived their infancies (and nine out of ten did) lived into their eighties and beyond during the 17th and 18th century. They lived on the same river for 12 generations. Then in the mid-19th century to the mid-20th, they started to die earlier, in middle age. My genetics counselor thought it might be because of Industrial Age pollution. After the Clean Air Act, my parents’ generation lived much longer–late 80s and early 90s, even though they had various cancers and heart disease. But then, what is more important to me is that they enjoyed life, were mobile, and were intellectually sharp in old age. They continued to be able to learn new things and were interested in the world up until a few days before dying–in my father’s case, up until less than 24 hours before he died.


      2. Chad's Crooked House Post author

        And air quality will hopefully continue to improve as solar energy is dropping in price pretty fast. And if I am still living in this house into my 80’s and 90’s I’ll probably be walking a lot, which usually helps. But that doesn’t eliminate the risk of something failing me and having a poor quality of life for the last few years.


      3. Mary Elizabeth

        True. Let’s hope you finish all the repairs by the time you are 80. But that is a long time away for you, and in the meantime you have your health, a close family and many friends.


      4. Mary Elizabeth

        True, but I have IKEA bookshelves that have lasted for 13 years now. Of course, they don’t get the wear and tear of kitchen cabinets.


  3. Nine Dark Moons

    sawzall for the win! woohoo! love those things. so much fun. glad to know they’ll go through a cast iron pipe like “buttah” with the right blade… 🙂 have you ever had crack heads show up at your door looking for work? that’s crazy!


  4. Jo

    Seeing a problem with a new set of eyes is often helpful. Kudos to you for giving credit to your dad. The Irishman was helpful, too. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music



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