Not signed in (Sign In)

Welcome, Guest

Want to take part in these discussions? If you have an account, sign in now.

If you don't have an account, apply for one now.

Vanilla 1.0.1 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

    • CommentAuthorlizz
    • CommentTimeSep 27th 2006
    I'm in the planning process for a patio. This will be a rather big project for me 25x35 with two different walkways one 28' and one 32'.

    I have been given 33 bags of high strength CONCRETE not cement. I am on a very tight budget and would really like to take advantage of this windfall.

    I have been studying up on pour in place stones. I've got the concept down. The only thing I can't get a handle on is how to end up with a "stone" that has the beautiful raised areas and dips, etc and not just have a flat slab.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for a total newbie? The only concrete I've worked with before was for fence posts and took absolutely no talent and very little thought.
    Happy Sculpting!
    Hi Lizz,

    I think you need two items:

    1) A point trowel which is a diamond shaped hand held tool for smoothing out concrete. You can get these at any construction supply store like Home Depot for usually $4 or $5 for the cheap ones and $15-$20 for the good ones. This will allow you to smooth out the concrete as well as hand sculp any "ups and downs" you want in the finished product.

    2) An artificial Rock texture mat. This will allow you to imprint the wet concrete with real rock texture and patterns which will give the finished effect you are looking for. Texture mats are almost impossible to find - but the E-store on this website will be opening this week with texture mats available for sale.

    Keep your bags of concrete very dry and use 3 of them to practice. I would be interested to know if the bags are cement powder only (very smooth) of if there is pre-mixed aggrigate like sand and stones. Even though the bag says "high strength" you may want to consider that most available "high strength" mixes are actually not high strenth at all. If you have rocks pre-mixed in the bags you will be in for quite a fight to make your patio smooth as the rocks will rise to the surface and be very uncomfortable to walk on.

    Keep the dialogue open and I am sure you will get much support from myself and others here in the forum.

    I hope this helps!

    Steve Goodale
    • CommentAuthorlizz
    • CommentTimeSep 27th 2006
    Thanks! I'll pick up a trowel tonight on my way home.

    The bags are pre mixed with stones included. Is there a better mix to use? I would like to use these as they are free, but if it's not to be......
    well, I really never mind going to Lowes or Home Depot. They are two of the happiest places on earth for me.
    So many projects!!!! I love starting new projects. (Finishing takes a little more will power though).

    Thanks for your help. I'm trying to get started this weekend on a few test stones in the walkways. I thought that would be better than charging ahead and digging shallow holes all over.
    Happy Sculpting!
    Hi Lizz,

    Definitely you will want to do a fair amount of practicing before taking on the real project. Those pre-mixed bags of cement are generally used for things like sauna tubes, fence post holes and rough finished flat work like concrete slabs, decks and walkways. The problem is that that type of aggregated cement mix is "the pits" to sculp with. If you are going to do much to the concrete in the way of sculting or texturing you will want to refine your process well before you take on the big job.
    You might have some difficulty in getting satisfactory results from sculpting such a rough mix.

    The difference would be like comparing what it is like to spread smooth icing on top of a cake, compared to smoothing wet cheerios on top of the cake. No matter how wet you make the cheerios they are still lumpy and stick together and just will not spread out nicely like icing will.

    If I were you trying to use up a resource of free cement like you are I might consider doing a 2 step process. Pour all of your patio, steps and walkways with the high strenght concrete you have but be sure to finish (level out) the concrete so it is still 2.5 - 3 inches below your finished grade. The next day (or as quickly as you can) you can apply a different mix of concrete which is better for sculpting filling the top 2-3 inches of your forms and then sculpt and texture.

    If you make sure to have a minimum of around 3" in the top coat you should not experience any major cracking. If you live in a harsh climate be sure account for this and increase the thickness of your top coat to near 4" if you want it to last.

    This would involve a further investment to get the materials needed for a better sculpting mix, as well as the slurry bonding agent you will need, however I think if you do some experimenting before commencing your project you will agree that sculpting pre-mixed concrete is an exercise in futility. It is simply too course to gain any appreciable detail.

    Hope this info helps!

    Steve Goodale
    Happy Sculpting!
    I was shopping in Rona Hardware (which is the Canadian vesion of the Home Depot or Lowes etc.) and I noticed that they are now carrying these plastic forms in the concrete section that can be used to create your own concrete "faux flagstone pavers" and it was only maybe $25 or so. I thought this was very interesting and could be beneficial to new artificial rock sculptors since they are available pretty much everywhere now. This would be a great project for practicing your painting techniques as well!