Working with concrete: the basics forum: Problems & Solutions with Concrete

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ImageCottage_Rose
Feb 27, 2010 8:46 AM CST
Name: Vicky
Michigan
Problem:
I have a concrete bench.
Its 3 pieces...the seat and 2 legs
you set the seat on. The bottom of the legs are starting to crumble.
I bring it in the house and store it in the basement every winter.
It was only 2-3 years old when the crumbling began.
Is there anything I can do about this?

Also a tip I heard...if you break a piece, Gorilla Glue is suppose
to work real good with gluing concrete back together but use sparingly because
it foams up and doubles in size.

My bird bath fountain has alot of algae buildup.
What is a good way to clean concrete?
I've tried bleach and a wire brush but even that doesn't seem
to get all the stains cleaned up.

Please feel free to post your problems and solutions here.
ImageCottage_Rose
Feb 27, 2010 8:49 AM CST
Name: Vicky
Michigan
Question: can concrete be left outside during the winter in cold climates
that gte lots of snow?
ImageRoadrunner
Feb 27, 2010 1:46 PM CST
Name: Jo Miklovic
Hereford, AZ

To clean concrete my DH used Muretic (sp) acid....then washed it off with lots of water////Be careful with it though...Jo
Imagectcarol
Feb 27, 2010 4:00 PM CST
Name: Carol Corry
Santa Ana,Ca.
zone 10- Sunset zone 22
Physan20 is another option. It has directions on the bottle. I'm having good luck with it in my birdbath.
ImageRoadrunner
Feb 27, 2010 5:19 PM CST
Name: Jo Miklovic
Hereford, AZ

Goo to know, Carol... I tip my hat to you.
Imagedana
Feb 27, 2010 6:01 PM CST
Name: dana aka iris28
tristate area, ky z6b
GO JO! yes muretic acid is used to clean brick and masonry. we also unclogged the toilet w it. there is an adhesive that is made for concrete. it works well i used it to fix a broken tufa. the bottom legs might be crumbling because water seeps in and freezes and expands but since its in the basement im not sure ill do some research,

heres where the sealing comes in .. i think in cold climates it would prevent the water from seeping in and expanding.
Learn and share ideas about how to make concrete garden art and hardscapes at Diy concrete art and hardscapes cubit. Also visit trash to treasure/mosaic with unusual objectsfor more garden art ideas.
ImageCottage_Rose
Feb 27, 2010 8:23 PM CST
Name: Vicky
Michigan
I'm not sure but I think I left it out one winter.
Will it continue to crumble?
Imagedana
Feb 27, 2010 9:50 PM CST
Name: dana aka iris28
tristate area, ky z6b
you may be able to let it dry out and seal it to prevent any more crumbling
Learn and share ideas about how to make concrete garden art and hardscapes at Diy concrete art and hardscapes cubit. Also visit trash to treasure/mosaic with unusual objectsfor more garden art ideas.
Calsurf73
Feb 28, 2010 9:55 PM CST
Name: Mike
Long Beach, Ca.
I bought one of those plain concrete benches (3 pieces: 2 bases and a slab for the seat) from Lowes.
I want to do tile on the slab (seat ) part...either a mosaic or traditional tile with a border or design.

The concrete has (I think...) some sort of sealer on it. It's very smoothe and looks like it might need to be etched before thin-set for tile will adhere to it. It almost seems to repel water the way it is now.

Would/should I wash it with Muriatic acid as described above before doing the tile on it ?

I want to do this right so I don't have to re-do it !
Imagedana
Mar 1, 2010 7:40 AM CST
Name: dana aka iris28
tristate area, ky z6b
either that or a wire brush i think would help. i use the mosaic adhesive from hobby lobby and it seems to stick to anything. dont forget to seal the mosaic when you are done, and post pics!!
Learn and share ideas about how to make concrete garden art and hardscapes at Diy concrete art and hardscapes cubit. Also visit trash to treasure/mosaic with unusual objectsfor more garden art ideas.
mwhit
Mar 4, 2010 4:21 PM CST
Name: Melissa
Tiffin, Ohio zone 5
When we had the same problem as Cottage_Rose (with a good bench seat but crumbly legs) my husband bought two cheap, sort of flexible, plastic oval wastebaskets (think Dollar Store!!)
He mixed up bagged concrete mix and poured it into the wastebaskets, let it set- several days.
The plastic was flexible enough that the set concrete dumped right out- Voila two thick, sturdy legs to support the seat! Not real glamorous but very functional!!
Just make sure the oval wastebasket is about as wide across the long way as the bench is wide- that way your seat won't tip if you perch on the edge of it!! Use the legs wider end up for best balance.
I have found that concrete ornaments etc. seem to hold up better and are easier to level if you set them on flat concrete pavers or those thin rectangular blocks made to top off a cinderblock wall. If the statue, bench leg or whatever is not real big my husband scores the block and snaps it in half, giving you two square blocks. I partially bury it in the soil, mulch or whatever and the bench or decorative piece sits very solidly on it. This way your bench legs don't "dig in" when the soil is soft. Good luck with your project! MW
MWhit
mwhit
Mar 4, 2010 4:42 PM CST
Name: Melissa
Tiffin, Ohio zone 5
I have one of the "flagstone walk" forms and it does a really good job. After a few paths I decided to get creative and on our next project I embedded some 4-6" decorative tiles randomly into the largest of the stones to create "themed "walks. The tiles were pressed into the wet concrete mix after it was poured but before it started to set up.I didn't use any sealer.
On one the decorative tiles were all waterfowl and the path led to my pond. Another had spanish tiles depicting scenes from The Man of La Manchia and lead to a really cool statue of Don Quihote hidden in the shade garden.
It was a great idea but unfortunately my tiles have not weathered well- some chipped and cracked, some broke up completely,although the stones themselves are OK -just marred by the imprint or left over tile pieces.
I am going to have to replace some of the pathway stones.
I guess my question would be- is there something I should have done to protect the tile? Are some types of tile better than others for a project like this? I just collected mine from garage sales and flea markets for a dollar or two apiece.
Thanks for any suggestions-I still have some pretty tiles I'd like to use!! MW
MWhit
Imagesunfarm
Jun 12, 2010 7:26 PM CST
Name: Sally
East Central Kentucky
The problem with concrete durability in cold weather is that water expands when it freezes. If it is rainwater turned to ice or snow that is saturating the concrete, it will break the concrete mortar (the mix except for the stone) apart unless you provide a place for the water to expand when it freezes. This is achieved in ready-mixed concrete with something called air entrainment, which puts tiny bubbles in the mix which provide the places for the water to expand and not harm the concrete. This is done with a chemical [air entraining admixture] that acts like a detergent in generating the bubbles of the necessary numbers and sizes to promote durability. The chemical is very concentrated; it is the mixing action in a truck or central mixer that whips the bubbles and spreads them throughout the mix. Too many bubbles will weaken the mix; too few bubbles will not provide the protection from damage.

It is harder to do this in small batches you mix yourself, but it can be done. It may be easier just to take your concrete inside during the winter to prevent it from breaking down from the expansion of water when it is saturated and freezes. I would be happy to provide more information.
Living sustainably comes with learning to see the world in a new way.
ImageCottage_Rose
Jun 15, 2010 6:46 AM CST
Name: Vicky
Michigan
Love all these tips!

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