We answer frequently asked questions about how to color and seal concrete fountains and birdbaths.
Phillip Cooper: You are listening to LISTEN.DIRECTCOLORS.COM podcast: Episode 1. Today we’re talking about Coloring and Sealing Concrete Water Fountains and Birdbaths. So let’s get started.
PC: I’m here at Direct Colors with our General Manager Shawna Turner to talk about common decorative concrete questions.
We have a lot of DIY concrete decor customers. A woman called us last week asking how to best color her concrete water fountain. What would you recommend?
Shawna Turner: Well, water fountains are a very common project and I hear from a number of customers who are looking to spruce up concrete birdbaths and water fountains that they get at their local hardware supply, but you have to treat them very specially because water is flowing over these water fountains most of the time so you have to select a colorant that will actually get into the pores of the concrete, color it, and allow it to be sealed in a way that will protect it from the elements.
So when I’m doing these kinds of projects, my first choice is the Acid Stain or the Deco Gel Acid Stain, which is just a gelled acid stain that works very well for vertical surfaces and other things like that and I’ll explain more about that in a moment. We have ten different Acid Stain colors. They can be easily sprayed on or can be applied with a foam brush. You do need to be careful not to create drips when you’re applying Acid Stain because that can be unsightly. I sometimes use the Deco Gel… which has sort of the consistency of oil paint… to really get into crevices [of a concrete project] to provide darker accents or if I’m just trying to create a look that has multiple colors. For example, I did a concrete planter a few years ago and it had leaves and grapes on the surface… so I chose one color for the leaves and another color for the grapes. It works really great because you have a finish that is inside the pores of the concrete. Remember Deco Gel and Acid Stain are a chemically reactive stain and it’s a permanent alteration of the colors so keep that in mind. Deco Gel is very easy to use and we’ve got great how-to information if you’ve never done anything like this before and once you’ve done it, it gives you a lot of different sealing options and that’s a very important step.
PC: I know choosing a sealer for a water fountain or bird bath can be tricky because the concrete is often under water for long periods of time. What’s the best option?
ST: Well what I most frequently recommend to customers, and this would be for the… basin part of birdbaths as well as any part of the water fountain, would be to use a product on our website called Penetrating Lithium Hardener/Sealer and the reason for that is principally the fact that It is penetrating which means it’s not leaving anything on the surface. Lithium Penetrating Hardener/Sealer is going into the pores of the concrete. Now you may ask yourself what difference it makes; if [sealer is] putting something on the surface of the concrete, wouldn’t that be a good thing? Well on a floor, driveway or patio, yes it is; but If you’re going to submerge a piece of concrete under water, eventually that water is going to get under the sealer, it’s going to turn [the concrete] milky, and it’s also going to make [the sealer] release from the concrete and that’s not what you want.
So the Lithium Penetrating Sealer allows the piece to be sealed by putting sealer inside the pores of the concrete, not on the surface. The water can’t penetrate under [the sealer] and ruin your piece. Lithium Penetrating Sealer also has a number of other added benefits, one of which is really helpful. Lithium Penetrating Sealer makes the concrete harder and stronger so when the piece is sitting out in the winter months (for those of you who live in those parts of the country), it’s less likely to be damaged by inclement weather so freeze/thaw cycles will no longer cause [the concrete] to break up or otherwise lose its strength so that’s a very good thing. The other positive benefit is that the sealer itself only has to be applied the one time. You’re not out there [sealing your concrete] every other year. You’re putting a [single] application of the sealer on to your piece and… that’s the end of it. [The concrete is] sealed for the rest of the life of that piece, and it has a good coverage area. For the average water fountain, you might just be purchasing a quart of sealer and that’s a really inexpensive purchase to make. So overall, [Lithium Penetrating Sealer] does provide you with excellent protection but it is a matte finish sealer so when you turn that water off, it will look a little bit dull when its dry so keep that in mind when you’re making the choice.
PC: That’s great and I’m sure these suggestions will be a big help to people with planned fountain and birdbath projects. Thanks for all that information. We hope this podcast will help customers find the products they need for white countertops and other concrete projects. LISTEN.DIRECTCOLORS.COM DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at LISTEN.DIRECTCOLORS.COM. Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. I’m Tommy Carter and thanks again for joining us!