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Select the Proper Type of Hinges Dear James: I bought an old house that needs a lot of work. It looks like most of the doors and cabinets will need new hinges. There are many types of hinges to choose from. What is the best type of hinge? — Larry N. Dear Larry: Contrary to …Read more. Apply Drywall Joint Tape and Compound Properly Dear James: I am ready to put up drywall in an at-home office for my business. I have put up drywall before to divide one large bedroom into two, but the joints look bad. This room must look better since clients will visit. What should I do …Read more. Install a New Exterior Door and Frame Dear James: My kids have thrown one too many baseball and soccer ball at my wood entry door. My house has aluminum siding. Is replacing an entry door a typical do-it-yourself job? — Andy E. Dear Andy: Installing a new entry door is a nice …Read more. Inlay Tile to Repair Damaged Countertop Dear James: The kids have burned a spot with hot pans in my laminated kitchen countertop. I cannot afford a new countertop. Is there any method to make a repair myself that will not look terrible? — Linda W. Dear Linda: Your countertop problem …Read more.
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Finish Your Exposed Foundation With Stucco

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Dear Pat: We have done some landscaping near the house over the years, and now quite a lot of the block foundation is exposed. It looks bad. What can I apply over it to make it look nicer? — Jen F.

Dear Jen: People don't often think about how a foundation looks, but in situations such as yours, or on sloping lots, the exposed blocks or poured concrete is not particularly attractive. Covering it will help protect it from rain and leaks and should also enhance the appearance of the nearby landscaping.

You have two basic options — siding or stucco — both of which you can apply yourself. I prefer applying stucco to the foundation because it also seals the foundation. Attaching synthetic siding is the easiest-to-apply option. Some types are specifically designed to be used over foundations.

The best type of siding to use on a foundation is made of tough plastic that is extremely durable. The style of siding you select will depend on the type of house construction. Simulated brick siding may provide pleasant contrast for a house with clapboard (wood, aluminum or vinyl). It is available in large panels, which you can easily cut to fit the foundation.

Simulated stone siding over the foundation is particularly attractive on a brick or stucco house. There are many patterns from which to select, but using a standard rectangular pattern is probably best. It simulates how a true stone foundation looks.

Your other option, applying stucco, may take a little practice to get the right surface texture and finish. It will still be an effective protective foundation covering even if it does not result in the appearance you desire.

You might want to practice on a piece of cement board, which you can buy at any home center, or start on the foundation in the back of your house.

You should be able to purchase all the materials you need for less than $100. Stucco is a mixture of cement, clean sand and lime. It is very similar to mortar used to hold bricks together. Once it is applied, it should last as long as the house stands.

A typical stucco mixture is one part cement to three parts sand and one-half part lime. Selecting various types of sand will impact the finished color of the stucco when it cures on the foundation wall. Stucco, similar to concrete, can be colored by adding pigments to the mixture.

Use a pressure washer to clean off the existing foundation wall. A garden hose will not have enough force. Scrubbing it with a cleaner and a brush is also effective and a reasonable method if you do not have too much foundation area to cover.

Wait until no rain is forecast for several days. Select the time of day and the side to start on so the fresh stucco is not exposed to the full sun. This will not harm the stucco, but it may set up a little too fast for an inexperienced person to get the desired surface texture.

Mix in enough water to create a stucco consistency similar to dough. Also, make up a small amount of very wet (much water) stucco mixture to paint on the foundation immediately before applying the stucco. Spread on the stucco with a trowel, and be creative with the texture.

Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com. To find out more about Pat Logan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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