There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza…
One of the items left at the house by the previous owners is a galvanized 225 gallon stock tank set up as a rain barrel at the northwest corner of the house. The tank holds water from the downspout and has a spigot for filling watering cans. Unfortunately, the tank also has a hole– a foot-long fissure to be precise.
The burst seam along the bottom back edge of the tank looks like the result of a full tank of water freezing over winter. The inital damage occurred on the previous owners’ watch and they managed at least one repair of the crack using silicone caulk. Unfortunately, the fix didn’t last. I found this out the hard way when storm water pouring out the bottom of the tank flowed right down the foundation and seeped into the laundry room.
Well fix it, dear Henry…
I looked into replacing the stock tank and found that it would cost over $100 for a new tank half the size of this one. So before I part with that kind of jing, I thought I would try to fashion a more durable repair to the tank than caulk alone. My initial thought was to weld a patch over the crack, but I’m not a welder and I don’t know anyone with the tools or skills. So then I decided to keep the patch idea, but to use the patch metal to make a “caulk sandwich” held together with bolts.
I used some spare galvanized sheet metal left over from my mouseproofing last fall for the patches and I bought about $3.00 worth of nuts, bolts and washers to hold it all together. Recognizing that the leak couldn’t get much worse, I then drilled holes for the bolts through the patches and the tank itself. With the hardware ready to go, I put the sandwich together by applying a very generous amount of silicone caulk between the tank and the patches. Then I fastened the nuts and bolts and cranked them down tight. The pressure of the bolts forced the caulk into the nooks and crannies of the burst seam and out the sides as well. As a final touch, I ran an additional bead around the edge of the patches and over the tops of the bolts to make sure they are water-tight.
The end result isn’t pretty, but it should be functional. The caulk has a short working time and it was hard to get the bolts tightened quickly enough. If I was doing the project again, I would get a partner to help tighten the bolts to get make sure this got done while the caulk was fully soft. But no matter how quickly the bolts were tightened, there was bound to be a lot of caulk oozing out the edges of the patch. I’m not proud of how ugly this looks, but the patch faces the house where it will be concealed from view.