Grout and Screen Hole Patching




About: I'm a refugee from Los Angeles, living in backwoods Puerto Rico for about 35 years now and loving it. I built my own home from discarded nylon fishnet and cement.

For irregular patching jobs, like this one in an exterior privacy wall, plastic window screen and grout can be a cheap, quick, and easy way to do them.  

This wall is made of nylon fishnet and cement.  Although only about 1/8 inch thick in many places, it has somehow managed to survive hurricanes.  You can probably credit that to its irregular shape, which includes a serpentine foundation line.   It is the nature of cement to shrink and crack, though.  When a banana plant and heavy raceme of bananas fell on it, the wall failed and a big chunk broke out of it.  

The patch, made of plastic window screen and grout is probably only about 1/16 inch thick.  We shall see how it holds up, but I am confident it will be around doing its job for many years to come. 

Step 1: The Hole

This is the hole.  I strung a few ropes through it, as best I could, to act as clotheslines to pin the screen material to.  

I used my trusty pressure sprayer to clean the area so that the grout would stick well.  Grout doesn't shrink, like cement does, so the crack problem should be reduced, or eliminated.  

I used a pressure sprayer to clean the wall before applying the grout.  

Step 2: The Screen

Here the screen has been put in place using clothespins.  The screen comes in rolls.  I hung the two pieces I needed vertically so that the seam where the screens overlapped would be vertical and tend to stay together as I brushed on the grout.  

Step 3: Adhering the Screen to the Wall

Adhering the screen to the wall was simple.   I just mixed up some grout and brushed it on.  It penetrated the screen and stuck it down to the wall underneath.   (The pink color was just from pigments added for a previous sculpture project.)  Painting the seam stuck the two pieces of screen together.   Folding it over the top rope made a nice edge.    

Step 4: Covering the Screen

Covering the screen was also very simple -- I just brushed on more grout.    

Someday, if I want to make the colors match the wall I'll just paint it with colored cement.  For now though, I have other things to do.  Maybe someday I'll colorize the whole wall.    ( see:  )

Step 5: Material Test Sample

Just to see what it is like, I did a sample with 4 layers of screen on a flat, non-stick plastic film surface.  It is about 1/16 inch thick.  I'm not sure what I might make with it yet, but its strength is promising.  



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    5 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Interesting. ;)

    Definition of Murphy's Law:

    A structure that can survive a hurricane, but gets damaged by bananas.

    4 replies
    black holecanucksgirl

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    So true. =D

    "The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle" -- John Stapp, the guy who strapped himself onto an open rocket sled(think Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), to see what it was like.


    That sounds like quite a ride. Wasn't there some guy that flew in a lawn chair with a bunch of helium balloons, too? I think he came down by popping a few balloons.