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How to deal with stucco support columns; what's inside them?


SwampNut
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I want to hang plants and shades on our patio.  Well, the shade is mostly done, and I discovered weird shit doing it.  There is a hummingbird feeder on a column, where I found more mystery and a few clues, but then doing the shade clouded everything more.  Anyone know how these things are typically made?

 

What I've found...

 

The verticals are hollow.  Big gaping void.  There is something structural in the corners.  I haven't started drilling corners yet.  I want to hang plants on the two columns, which means it needs to be strong for the dirt and water.  How...?  Zip toggles, which work great on the house, not so much here.  The column stucco is super thing with less backing.  The house accommodates the toggles great.

 

On the horizontals near the edge, I've hit both metal and wood.  At the same level line.  Seriously.  When I put up the shade, two of the clips went into a metal stringer, and the third into wood.  WTF!!  I'm good on this shade, if I decide to do another on the South face I wonder what I will find.

 

I'm also charging up my wifi endoscope to have a look inside.

 

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I don't understand the dilemma.  If it's just one of not knowing what's there before drilling I'd drill a small-ish hole for a screw, if it's hollow drill bigger to use a toggle or other similar thing.  If I hit steel/wood then I'd just run a screw into it.

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I don't think it's thick/sturdy enough to handle the weight from a toggle.  I fear it could just break off.  It's poorly done stucco in some spots, on top of being super thin with nothing inside.  The house itself is way thicker with a backing.  I think putting 10-20 pounds of dirt basically pulling on a single toggle is risky.  And that hole had a zip toggle in it, which is normally very sturdy.  But it was loose, because as you tighten it, the stucco gives way.  Shitty.  I'm just going to give up.

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...think wind loading. That will quite pissibly outweigh the static load.

 

The straight up weight, did you use really heavy material?

 

One thought, will the structure cover at least a small area of the face? Open it up a little more and add blocking behind. Repair the stucco and cover it withe the shade framing?

 

I'm in the process of not finishing a project I started months ago. I cut a hole in the basement ceiling to fish a new antenna wire for my wife's new television. I got the patch started, and quit. I have a 4 day weekend with my wife out of town. Last night I got a bunch of stuff done in the garage. Today I'm kind of sort of watching golf.

 

 

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I placed the piece that I cut out back into the opening and used fiberglass drywall tape to reinforce it.

 

For your project I'd consider cutting out a piece saving the piece and then just repairing the seams when you put it back in?

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14 minutes ago, XXitanium said:

..think wind loading. That will quite pissibly outweigh the static load.

 

Yes, absolutely.  We get insane winds here.  We would have to take the pots down if we expect wind, or best case, they'd fuck the plants up.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought, nah.

 

16 minutes ago, XXitanium said:

Open it up a little more and add blocking behind. Repair the stucco and cover it withe the shade framing?

 

I texted my stucco guy with a thought like that.  He said to go for it, and he'd charge one hour plus materials for it.  Which, I think, might be $80.  Dunno, never asked him to itemize his work.

 

But nah, I give up.

 

Reminds me I need to get the drywall dude here too.  This has been like this for...embarrassingly long.

 

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Yeah, #4 run from the panel to the second garage, for a sub panel.  For years I ran the wood tools from a leftover shore power cord with the legs modified to connect to 240v.  Then I got my low voltage (networking) guy to run a pull string for me, and pulled and installed a real connection.  I've pretty much forgotten and stopped seeing the holes.  I had left them thinking I'd also pull an air line in there, but haven't.  

 

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1 hour ago, XXitanium said:

That process looks like a good kind of somewhat rewarding work kind of like sculpture, less like masonry or carpentry.


Problem is it's all three.  Because you have to do carpentry for the base, then masonry is your medium, and you end up with a piece of sculpture.  It's functional art.  All built on chicken house parts.  Or a really nice elementary school project considering everything around him turns to this in the summer.
 


 

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You should have been in sales. ...my second career, preschool art projects for all the money ...

 

I have actually thought about concrete work. I got a quote on a two lane driveway, 90 feet long. It sounds like a goldmine.

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