It’s amazing what an afternoon’s work (and can of special paint) can do. Here’s to tackling something that most people would overlook or ignore (including myself). I mentioned last week when I wrote about the glassblock window frames that another project was sneaking into my shots. And that project is… not-too-exciting-but-still-nice-booming-drumroll…
The painted foundation.
The poured concrete foundation of my home is fortunately in very good shape (for being 70 years old). It doesn’t rise very high out of the ground, instead only exposing about 8″ of itself all the way around the house between the soil and the siding. In the front yard, for instance, only this much of the foundation peeks above the soil. I won’t go as far as to call that a flower bed.
What are the odds of that azalea coming back to life? It’s taken a turn for the worst.
The thing is, at one point the plain concrete foundation had been painted black. I have a feeling it was in the early 90’s, when the shutters on the then white house were also black, and a painted black staircase led to the front door. But in those past 2 decades, the base of the house has endured it’s share of weather. Especially the foundation along the driveway, from which the black paint had almost been entirely removed and the cement itself is a little more roughed up than in other areas. From this angle, the you’re getting glimpses of the unfinished (but now finished) glassblock window frames, the cracking driveway and the unpainted foundation, which is kind of like a triple-dog whammy of embarrassment for me. And all that after showing you the deceased azalea… rest her little soul.
But let me defend the foundation situation for just a sec: If I take a minute to do some calculations, snow must have sat in the driveway for 4 months out of the year for 20 years which means the black paint was possibly frozen for 80 months or approximately 2,440 days. Brr. So it’s no surprise that the paint has been peeling and fading away, whether they used the right paint or not; repainting it just to neaten up the foundation and general appeal of the exterior of my home seemed like a good (and easy) project to take on.
Armed with a rough scrubby brush, paint scraper, and power washer, I went to town on the foundation and lower siding (anyone else purposefully plan misty projects for 90-degree days?). In some areas, I had been able to scrape all of the remaining black paint off, and if it had been so effortless all the way around, I probably would have left it neutral and natural cement instead of painting it. But because it didn’t work out quite that way, I formulated a plan to paint the foundation the same shade as the trim, the not-quite-white-but-close Silver Leaf that I used on the garage trim and door a few weeks ago.
I had plenty of the latex-based exterior Silver Leaf paint to use, and the foundation wouldn’t need much anyway, but a brief investigation told me that I shouldn’t use latex on cement (nor should I prime it, which I had also planned to do anyways in the mindset that sealing things up makes for a happier existence). Latex was banned (so to speak) for breathability and possibility of peeling reasons. I should also note that different rules apply if your foundation is brand-spankin’ new, so it’s worth your time to see what’s right for your house if the foundation was constructed in the last year.
The many advising sites I looked at (none of which I can recall because I didn’t bookmark them) recommended sticking to a masonry paint with my 70-year-old foundation, and the folks at Home Depot recommended one by Behr that I was happy to find priced at $19, even less than of a traditional gallon of Behr paint.
They even managed to tint it to match Silver Leaf, even though it hadn’t been one of the colors listed in a paint coordinating stick-to-these-colors-or-be-disappointed-with-our-tinting-abilities pamphlet.
I gave the powerwashed and scraped foundation a few days to thoroughly dry before I painted, but as I began, I was pleased how easily the masonry paint went on the cement. Much thicker than I expected; I only needed one coat, and I’m sure that’s the first time I’ve ever said that.
The overall change is minimal but really nice. Fresh. So fresh and so clean-clean. Check out the side of the house how (with the glassblock windows all done too, hurray). Only embarrassing driveway cracks to take care of this fall.
Oohs, ahhs. And the azalea is still as dry as kindling.
Anyone else finding themselves doing odd spring cleaning like repainting foundation in the summer breeze? Just me?