The front porch is the gateway to our homes and can say a lot about the people who live in the house. As visitors stand at your door, waiting for you to answer the door bell, they are naturally observing your front door, light fixture, mailbox and of course the surface of the porch. Upgrade the concrete porch by installing stone and snow melting system.
Natural stone over cracked concrete
There are many different options available to resurface your porch, including paint, epoxy, tile, and various natural or man-made stone products. Some of these offer temporary fixes while others can transform the entire front of your house. Planning to include a full budget is critical prior to starting, register for a quinju.com account and start planning now.
The symptom: Water leaking into basement
A large front concrete porch with cold cellar was the entrance to this home. Years of mother nature had created cracks which let water into the basement damaging the furnace. Prior to the owner's replacing the furnace they needed to repair the porch. The needed repairs provided an opportunity to greatly improve the appearance and functionality of the warn front porch.
The Diagnosis: Poor slope and cracks
It was obvious that the cracks in concrete were permitting water penetration however poor slope of the concrete slab was exasperating the problem. Slope would have to be addressed for any long-term solution.
The remedy: Rip it all up or resurface
After reviewing all the options, to include cost, impact to living space and time on site, the homeowners were given two solutions.
- Rip up the slab and pour new concrete
- Resurface improving slope and water protection
The homeowners decided that resurfacing the porch slab with a natural stone would enhance the front of their home, adding elegance and style. While natural stone was significantly more expensive than the other options, it offered a long term fix. The option of pouring a new slab would have been more cost effective however little surety that cracks would not occur again and it would not greatly improve the appearance.
Treatment: slope, waterproof, stone
Step I: Preparation
While the cracks in the concrete provided access for the water, the fact that the concrete slab did not have an adequate slope to provide water runoff was a major cause of the problem. Simply installing the natural stone over the porch would not ensure the problem would not reoccur.
A thin set concrete was used to create a sufficient slope on the porch. A proper slope would certainly improve the situation, however concrete products are water proof so a water proof roofing membrane was then applied over the porch.
To ensure that water cannot get in where the concrete slab meets the house wall, the bottom course of stone veneer was removed allowing the roofing membrane to be installed 2-3” up the wall. This stone veneer would be reinstalled after the stone is installed on the porch.
Step #2: Heating
In order to prevent future damage to the stone caused by shovels and salt, a snow melt system was installed. This system uses low voltage wires, installed under the stone, to warm the stone preventing snow and ice build-up.
The snow melt system comes as mats for easy installation. Attaching the mats to a 6 x 6 wire mesh will ensure the mats stay flat during installation of the stone. The snow melt system is controlled by an external thermostat measuring the outdoor temperatures.
Step #3: Installing the stone
The natural stone select was a product called Banas Stone. It is a natural stone that is carefully cut to give you smooth, level surfaces and consistent thickness. Because it is a front porch, it is important that the surface of the stone is smooth and level to avoid water from puddling and people from tripping.
The stone is installed using a ½” to 1” thick cement mortar. This is the same mortar used to grout the gaps after the stone is laid.
remember when installing the stone:
- Cut and install the stone on the outside face first. Let it dry prior to installing the surface stone.
- Plan you stone to ensure no cut edge are along the perimeter of your porch.
- In your stone pattern, four corners should never meet.
- Ensure all gaps are consistent.
- Ensure all edges are even with each other.