Popout? Easy fix!
Chris & Maddy Ecker
Serenity Dome, Galax, VA
We recently had a concrete shell “popout” occur while attempting to set an exterior covering over our front porch. This occurred when we drilled 2” deep into our shell from the outside (2” beyond the foam and airform). The location was at 2 o’clock when viewed from the inside along the upper arch junction of the augmented main entry and the natural curvature of the dome. Two holes were drilled into and through the shell before the popout area was discovered. The rough measurement of the irregularly shaped popout was 4” wide by 5” long, and 1” deep at the center (fig.1).
The folks working with us were very upset and apologetic. They feared they had done serious and permanent damage to the Monolithic Dome shell. After a little convincing and explaining that there was no lasting harm done, they felt a little better. Here’s the steps we took to repair the “hole in our roof”.
First we reviewed notes taken during our Monolithic Dome Training Workshop lectures. Then we purchased a bucket of readily available concrete product from our local big box hardware store. The directions for mixing this product were on the container and were adapted slightly to make the mix thicker so the concrete patch would hold in the cavity which was slightly upside down.
The popout borders were cleared of loose paint debris by hand. Just before applying the concrete patch, an exterior grade 3” woodscrew was dipped in a silicone sealant to cover the threads, and then a screw was driven into each drill hole from the inside of our MD, outward. The screw heads were left protruding slightly to help anchor the concrete patch. Once satisfied with the patch mix consistency, it was ‘buttered’ into the popout, then roughed up and pockmarked to match the surrounding interior wall texture (fig. 2).
The patch was given two days to dry, then primed with two coats of the same interior primer that we used during our MD construction (fig. 3). It’s a good idea to save paint mix numbers, lot numbers, etc. when doing your initial construction. That also goes for every construction item you can think of; tile, faucets, windows, and so on.
A rough coat of paint was then applied to the textured surface. The color was a close match to the surrounding area, but we were aiming to cover the textured area completely (fig. 4). The final step was to match the paint as close to possible, and “feather” the final coat to blend in to the surrounding area. (fig. 5) We had customized this color on site during construction, and Maddy had a small contained of the product on hand.
The entire process took about four days from popout to final matched coat of paint. The final cost was less than $10. And for the exterior porch covering, we used a different counter lever construction method to support the finished arch joists to avoid further drilling. This method has proved to be just as solid and unnoticeable to all who pass by.