Archives for September 2012

How to Make Smooth Concrete Rough

Under normal circumstances the issue pond builders are faced with in regards to concrete is how to make it smoother. However there are times when the surface is so smooth that there is not a lot of surface tension for a coating to hang on by and it will be necessary to make smooth concrete rough.

One of the most recognizable scenarios for smooth concrete is a water slide for a pool. Generally, these concrete surfaces are polished smooth enough to resemble nice polished stone work. When they are coated, the epoxy will have nothing to grab hold of and can eventually peel.

Most people think that the easiest way to make smooth concrete rough is by acid etching it with muriatic acid. The problem is that muriatic acid is not eating away at the concrete to make it rougher, but eating away at the calcium within the surface of the concrete. When that calcium is dissolved, the concrete will then have the appearance of having been roughed up. The problem is that the concrete did not actually become rougher. Instead the surface pores of the concrete have become clean, thereby making the concrete surface appear to have changed.

So when it comes to a polished concrete surface, the rock, sand, lime and cement have been polished so smooth that there really are not any surface pores to be exposed. Because of this acid etching a surface like that will not really accomplish t task of making smooth concrete rough.

There are only two ways to get a concrete surface to become rougher. This is accomplished either by grinding with a very coarse but flexible disk, or by sandblasting with a very aggressive media that is used to blast the surface. Once the task is completed, then the surface can be etched with muriatic acid. It is important to not forget this step as the grinding or sandblasting will expose new calcium that will also need to be cleaned off prior to coating.

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What to Look for in an Epoxy Paint Sprayer

If you have decided to coat your pond with Pond Shield and have determined that using an epoxy paint sprayer is the way to go, there are some equipment aspects that you should be aware of. Not all spray machines are the same and if you rent or purchase the incorrect one, it will cause problems during the application process. When you are in the middle of spraying, the last thing you need is problems caused by the equipment.

Machine Pump Size – It is important to look into the machine pump size because a epoxy paint sprayer with a pump that is too small will do nothing more than struggle the whole time the coating is being applied. That is not to mention the fact that a smaller pump may not even move the material to the spray gun. Machine pump sizes are usually a standard specification that can be found on any spray machine label.

Normally, the machine output should be as close to 3000 psi during normal operating. In some cases, the machine label will state this pressure as a range such as 250 – 3000 psi. This means that the normal operating pressure might really be somewhere in the middle of that range. In this example, the normal operating pressure might be about 1375 psi. That could be too little and the machine could struggle.

Spray Gun Tip Size – Because Pond Shield is thick, it is essential that the orifice in the spray gun tip be big enough to accommodate the flow of material. Just like the pump size, bigger is better. Most spray gun tips will measure at about .017 to .021 which is fine for lacquers and some latex paints. However, those materials have a much smaller viscosity that Pond Shield epoxy to the orifice should be bigger. A good place to start in regards to spray gun tip size is .023 – .027. Of course an even bigger tip up to .038 or .040 will assist even further.

Fluid Hose – Normally the hose on a machine will have an inside diameter of 3/8 inch. On occasion, a machine will come with a hose that has a ½ inch inside diameter. This is a lot better in regards to moving more material at a time. In some cases the hose size will also be an indicator that the machine can handle a larger volume as well, which may mean the pump is bigger and the spray gun tips are bigger.

If you have any questions about a particular epoxy paint sprayer that you are considering using, please give us a call.  We would be happy to assist you with that and get you moving forward with your project.

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How to Smooth Rough Concrete

When consumers start to look for advice on how to smooth rough concrete, they may feel frustrated or confused. Many people claim that there is no easy way to do this yourself, but this is misleading. There are actually a few things that can be done if concrete is too rough. Smooth concrete in a pond is essential for several reasons. The fish in the pond can be injured from a rough finish, or the pond’s concrete may need to be smooth so that a waterproof finish can be applied to it. Without the right sealant, water may escape from the pond, and this, of course, can be disastrous. Whether you have an old pond that you are currently not using because of rough concrete or a new pond that needs to be smoothed before you can use it, the following steps can guide you.

If you have access to a sandblaster, you can use that to smooth the pond’s concrete. Unfortunately, this will make a terrible mess, and many homeowners do not have the skills necessary to use a sandblaster. Luckily, there are other options. Most hardware stores sell concrete grinding or sanding disks that can be attached to angle grinders. These attachments can also be attached to some power drills. In order to tackle a concrete pond, you should use a large 8 inch angle grinder. This size will allow you to smooth the concrete where it needs to be smoothed, but it is small enough so that you will not accidentally gauge any of the concrete. When selecting the grit on the sanding disc, you should look for a 24 grit. This will make the concrete smooth, but it will keep it rough enough so that the sealant will stick to the concrete. You will also need protective eye goggles and a face mask.

Once you have your concrete sanding disc, you will need to attach it to your angle grinder. You may need a few different polishing discs to ensure that you get the grit that you desire. First, you need to attach the largest grit disc that you have to your grinder. Once that has been attached, you need to make your first pass over the floors and walls of your pond. You should repeat this until you have smoothed the surface to your liking. Once that has been completed, you should replace the disc with a finer one. When you repeat this procedure with a finer grit, you will remove any extra impurities and smooth the pores of the concrete. If you want the pond to have a shiny finish, you may want to repeat these steps a third time with an even finer grit.

When you start looking for equipment, you may see diamond grinders for rent. These grinders come with dust shrouds that can be hooked up to your wet vac. Ideally, you should avoid these tools as they will only remove the high spots of concrete in your pond. They will not help to smooth the entire area. Another option that you may encounter while looking at how to smooth rough concrete is repair mortar. Polymer modified repair mortar may work on your pond, but it will not work as well as an angle grinder. While using your angle grinder and sanding discs, you should never forget to wear safety gear. If possible, you should angle the machine away from you so that the dust flies away from your face rather than towards it. If possible, you may want to vacuum the dust between passes as this will make the process more effective. Learning how to smooth rough concrete is the first step to getting your pond in working order.

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Benefits of a DIY Wood Pond

Having a pond in your own backyard or anywhere that seems appropriate for you can be one of the most amazing experiences in life. It is with this in mind that you need to carefully consider making a DIY wood pond. There are quite a number of benefits that you can enjoy when you opt for this type of pond. Learning a little bit more about these benefits is the key to appreciating just why it may be a good idea for you to build such a pond. Below are just a few of the benefits of a DIY wood pond.

Cost Effective – It is indeed true that creating a DIY pond can be very cost effective. This is because you do not really have to spend a lot of money on expenses that you may have otherwise had to incur when having one built for you. Most of the work will be done by you and therefore there is no need to spend a lot of extra cash on labor. The only amount of money that you may have to spend will be for purchasing the necessary tools for building a wooden pond.

Customization – Another one of the benefits that you are bound to enjoy when you opt for this type of pond is that you are going to be able to build it in such a way that it is unique to you and expresses your own personal preferences. The color, texture, width, length, height, and such among other things that are involved can be built as you deem fit.

Convenience – The next benefit is that you are able to construct the pond during the most convenient times for you. You can set your own schedule for construction and thus you will have the freedom to choose when to begin construction and when to end.

Building a DIY wood pond is not a very difficult task once you have all the information that is necessary to be successful. It is always prudent that you carry out a lot of research just so you are able to learn more on how to make the final product look amazing. Some of the important things to consider when building include; general safety of the pond, the construction methods used to built it and the materials used for constructing the pond.

Only choose quality components and be sure of how you plan to build the pond. Do not take any shortcuts wither either of these and the final outcome will be something that you can be proud of.

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How to Spot Repair Pond Armor Paint

From time to time it may be necessary to correct something that is adversely affecting the coating on a pond. For example, during a routine inspection of the pond, you find that somehow someone has managed to accidentally damage the surface of the Pond Armor paint. If it is dealt with now, it will be an easy fix, but if left alone can become more of a problem later. It is best to correct the issue now.

Spot repairing Pond Armor paint is a pretty simple task in itself. The biggest hurdle will be getting to the area needing attention so that the repair can be accomplished more easily. You must first drain the water level down to at least where the damage has occurred. At this point the surface can be cleaned and any organics like algae removed.

It must be determined now how bad the area needing repair is. In most cases, it will mean removing any of the coating that is damaged or loose. This can be done by scraping the area while attempting to keep the debris from falling in the water.  As long as the water level was drained back far enough, a small pan can be help against the side of the pond to catch falling debris. If the area is part of a waterfall, use compressed air to blow out any crevices between rocks in order to aid the drying time.

Once all of the loose material has been removed, use a piece of 60-grit sandpaper to rough up the existing coating so that the new Pond Armor paint can overlap by at least ½ inch. Afterward, wipe the area clean and allow the bare surface to dry. The dry time will be dependant upon how saturated the surface below the coating had been at the time of the repair. Usually the drying only takes a day during summer weather and a little more during winter months when the temperature is cooler.

After the repair area has sufficiently dried, the new Pond Armor paint can be applied. Mix up a small amount of material and either a brush or roller can be used to apply to coating. Take care not to apply the coating too thick as it could sag and end up running on a vertical surface. The coating only needs to be a minimum of 10mils thick.

Let the newly repaired are cure for 24 hours.  During this time, the coating surface can be inspected and touched up in the event flaws are found. If touching up after 12 hours, use a piece of 60-grit sandpaper to slightly rough up the area that is to be touched up. After the surface has cured for 24 hours and no flaws are present, the pond can be put back into service.

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Why Pond Sealer is Better than a Pond Liner

If you are contemplating a backyard pond or water fountain, it is important that you spend some time evaluating the various methods available for lining your pond. After all, you cannot simply dig a hole and fill it with water; you need some type of liner to ensure that the water stays in place and that you can create the beautiful pond you have envisioned. There are a variety of options available and choosing the one that is right for you will depend on the type of pond you want to create, your budget and, of course, your own personal preferences. There are pre-formed pond liners that can be purchased to use as a pond enclosure; however, if you want something that will last for a longer period of time and that will also provide more flexibility, consider using a liquid pond sealer. These sealers are simply brushed on and form a waterproof barrier that can be used to create a beautiful pond or water fountain in just about any environment.

Fortunately, a liquid pond sealer can be an easy and affordable solution when you are looking for the best pond liner. This type of sealer can be applied to almost any material and will form a barrier that is not only waterproof, but flexible and durable. These benefits will certainly help to ensure that your pond looks great and remains intact for many years. Additionally, the liquid sealer used to create this barrier is completely safe for plants and fish, which makes it an excellent choice for any water pond or fountain.

The use of a pond sealer is certainly an effective way to line any type of pond; however, there are some people who prefer to use an alternative method. For example, you can purchase a pre-made form that can simply be placed in the ground and is ready for you to fill. These pre-made molds are available in numerous sizes and shapes and can be an excellent alternative for anyone who does not want to go through the trouble of applying a liquid sealer to the surfaces of their backyard pond. Another excellent solution would be to use a special liner that is designed to be used in a pond. These liners are similar to a sheet of plastic and are applied to the surface of the pond prior to filling. They can provide a waterproof barrier that is as simple as lying down a sheet of special film designed for this purpose. This method has the added benefit of being extremely affordable.

While there are certainly a variety of different solutions that can be used to seal a backyard pond, not all of them are as effective or convenient to use. For example, liners that come in a sheet can be extremely difficult to fit properly into the contours of your pond. Additionally, pre-formed pond liners can limit your design creations and are not as durable as a liquid sealer. There are certainly many advantages in choosing a liquid pond sealer over other types of liners. When installing your own backyard pond, seal it with the convenience and durability of a liquid sealer.

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A Checklist for Concrete Pond Repairs

Repairing a concrete pond can seem a daunting task. However, if you know what is needed prior to performing the repair, the task will be that much easier. The following list is made up of everything you could possibly need in order to get the job done quickly and correctly. Assuming the pond has been drained, you will need the following:

Cleaning tools – Scrub brushes, rags and pressure washer are the minimum cleaning tools needed. These will be used to scrub any organics off of the surface that requires repair. Buckets, a garden hose and any other item you think might aid in washing and rinsing the affected area are also helpful.

Trash receptacles – Trash bags and a good trash can will be needed to dispose of unwanted debris.

Scraper – Use a scraper to dislodge anything organic that was not removed with the pressure washer. It can also be used to scrap away failing coating around the affected area. If the concrete has cracked through and the coating has been compromised, it will need to be feathered back from the crack.

Angle grinder and cutting wheel – use and angle grinder and cutting wheel to cut straight down into a crack at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep depending upon the concrete thickness. This is to allow the new epoxy to get further into the crack where it can bond to and essentially glue the crack back together. If the repair consists of replacing a chunk of missing concrete, the angle grinder can be used to smooth the area and ready it for the addition of more concrete.

Sander – Usually and angle grinder can be used to feather back the existing coating but a sander will work just as well for this purpose.

Pond ShieldUse for fixing a crack in concrete to essentially glue the crack back together.

Fiberglass – 1.5 ounce chopped strand fiberglass mat is used in conjunction with the Pond Shield in order to give the surface of the concrete pond repair additional strength.

Concrete and bonding agent – If the surface being repaired consists of a missing piece of concrete, then concrete and a good bonding agent are needed. Because concrete does not stick well to concrete a binding agent is used to aid in the bond between the two. using a polymer concrete like hydraulic concrete or an accelerated concrete means the curing process will be quicker (7 days) at which point the surface can be cleaned and ready for the epoxy coating.

Muraitic acid – Used to clean new and old concrete before applying an epoxy like Pond Shield. Concrete hydrates and pushes calcium sulphate to the surface during this process. The acid is mixed 1 part acid to 3 parts water and applied over the concrete to clean away the calcium sulphate before coating.

Paint brushes and paint rollers – These will be used to apply the new coating prior to putting the concrete pond repair back into service.

There is a general walk-through in regards to fixing cracks in concrete that may aid you. It is called “Got a Crack in Your Pond? Easy Methods of Fixing a Crack in Your Pond” and can be found by clicking the link. if you have any questions, please contact us.

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Is a Plywood Pond Really the Wave of the Future?

Plywood PondWhen considering building a pond, most people think of using more conventional materials like concrete, rubber liners, stone, block or brick; but what about a plywood pond? Is it even possible? Of course it is. In fact there have been plenty of DIY pond builders who have successfully built plywood ponds and tanks and used Pond Shield to waterproof them.

Right now more and more people are building their own ponds and tanks with less expensive materials. For example a quick search on Google for DIY hydroponics tables or grow beds will yield a fair amount of web pages that revolve around creating your own system. Some of these search results even include instructions about waterproofing the wood prior to use.

There are also plenty of clubs and forums on the Internet that revolve around building a plywood pond or aquarium as well. This is mainly because the average do it yourselfer does not need a lot of specialized knowledge or skills in order to build these structures. The method of construction, as long as it is stout, will tend to last quite a while and at an extremely discounted cost.

The main thing to remember with wood is that it is going to bow unlike almost any other constructed surface. This means that you will need to take extra care when building your plywood pond. The last thing you want is all of your work to be washed away because of a faulty seam, for example.

There is a great starter article in the Wood pond section called “Building a Wooden Pond or Tank” that can give you a pretty good idea as to how to construct your own plywood pond. Though, the article describes a method of overkill in regards to construction, there are a lot of lessons that can be applied to your own construction method. Once the unit is built, it can be coated with Pond Shield and be put into service in as little as 24 hours.

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Why I love Colored Pond Liner

When creating the perfect pond for your yard, it is important to take a number of factors into consideration. First of all, you need to decide where you want to place your pond, how large it will be and what you will use for its construction. There are many pond liners that can be purchased in preformed shapes and sizes that are ready to be placed in the ground and used to create a beautiful pond; however, for anyone looking for a little more flexibility and the ability to truly create the most dramatic and beautiful pond, the use of concrete or Gunite offers many more options.

These ponds can be built in just about any shape or size you want and can be customized to fit your specific location. Once you have the pond built, it is a simple matter to seal it with a colored pond liner. This liquid sealer is an excellent choice for ponds and fountains because it creates a virtually impenetrable barrier that will help keep water in while offering a safe environment for plants and animals.

I love using liquid colored pond liner because it is easy to use and can be applied to almost any surface. The non-toxic epoxy is not only easy to apply to any shape or surface, but it is extremely durable, as well. Of course, another one of its advantages is that it looks incredible once it is complete. Other types of pond liners either limit the shape or size because they are already preformed or you can choose a flat liner that you must somehow conform to the curves and angles of your pond. This certainly is not easy to make look attractive because wrinkles are inevitable. Fortunately, with a liquid liner, you can easily apply it to any shape pond or fountain and it will always look superb.

Another reason why I love using a liquid colored pond liner is that it requires no special equipment. This makes application extremely easy because just about anyone can take a brush and apply the liquid to create a custom liner that actually bonds to the surface. When considering the various types of pond liners that are available, the liquid liner seemed to be the most efficient and cost-effective. The liner stays flexible to help accommodate shifting soil conditions, but is permanently bonded to the substrate to ensure longevity. It seems to be a perfect combination of durability and beauty. Additionally, the epoxy is available in several colors to help you achieve the pond of your dreams.

Finding the right colored pond liner was certainly important and even though cost was a major consideration, I also wanted to ensure that it would be something that would last for many years. I love the fact that these liquid liners are so easy to apply and can create a long-lasting and beautiful liner that is safe for all types of animals and plants.

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Things To Avoid When Using Fish Pond Sealer

Things to Avoid When Using Fish Pond SealerIf you have a new fish pond, have some leaks in an older pond or you are having problems maintaining the proper PH in your pond water, you may be contemplating a Do It Yourself weekend of applying fish pond sealer. There are several steps involved, even after first choosing the best sealer for the job; from preparing the pond for the sealer to applying the sealer and then curing it properly after it has been applied. Once you have the pond sealer, make certain that you understand all of the directions, asking questions if needed and also take the time to consider a few things to avoid when using fish pond sealer. This is actually a fairly involved project and understanding all of the dos and don’ts involved will help your project proceed smoothly.

  • Avoid applying sealant to new concrete until it has properly cured. You should plan on waiting at least 28 days for the concrete to hydrate and cure. This can be a very difficult task because you have been waiting for either the pond or the repair to be finished and now you must add almost an entire month to the wait. Concrete takes time to hydrate and you do not want to seal in any residual moisture. Cracking could occur if this process is hurried. The only sure way to speed the process is to add an accelerator to the concrete when it is mixed. Then this process is cut down to 7 days.
  • Avoid applying the sealer on cold days. Carefully read the instructions on the product. Pond Armor recommends that you do not apply the sealer in less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit even though it will still cure in lower temperatures. Check the local temperature for optimum results.
  • Avoid applying sealer in rainy, wet or overly damp conditions. It may not cure properly and if your concrete is wet, the moisture is liable to be trapped under the sealer and this can cause the sealer to improperly bond which can also cause crack issues due to expansion and contraction in freezing temperatures.
  • Avoid missing any areas that need to be sealed. Just as a chain is said to be only as strong as its weakest link, so too, a seal is only as good as its thinnest application. Any leak or exposure due to a missed or improperly covered area can allow water to leak out or the PH to fluctuate. Do not hurry or attempt any shortcuts. Take your time and carefully follow all directions.

Sealing your own pond will save you money as long as you use the correct products and follow all directions. As long as you do not attempt to hurry or to skimp on the amount of product required to do the job correctly and allow both the concrete and the sealer to properly cure, you will have a great fish pond that will prove entertaining and easy to maintain. Fish ponds are once again gaining in popularity and can be fun and educational for the entire family.

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7 Things to Keep in Mind About Spraying Epoxy Paint

Spraying Epoxy PaintThere are many different ways of applying epoxy paint and spraying epoxy paint is one of them. If you have a large enough surface or the surface is too uneven for more conventional methods of application, this guide will assist you along the way.

1. Be sure to have either enough surface area or the correct surface area to spray before you break out the spray equipment. The area should be at least large enough to spray a minimum of 3 gallons of Pond Shield if the surface is smooth. If the surface is too rough such as a very craggy type of surface, then it would also be beneficial to spray rather than brush or roll.

2. Because most spray equipment consists of a pump, hose and gun, some material will be lost during the application process. This material ends up being left behind within these areas of the spray machine at which time it is cleaned out before the machine is put away. It is important to be able to justify this loss of material before you begin. Some machines have enough hose and mechanical parts to cause a loss of up to a half to a full quart of material.

3. Spraying epoxy pain is best accomplished by two people. One person can constantly spray material onto the surface while the other can mix new batches of material having them ready as the person spraying runs out. This team work will keep the risks of epoxy hardening up in the machine to a minimum.

4. Use proper protective gear. When you spray epoxy paint, the coating is atomized into small particles that float in the air. These particles remain in an uncured stated for as long as the coating is not set up. During this time it is possible inhale these particles unless a proper spray mask is worn to prevent it. You should always protect your eyes and lungs when spraying.

5. Epoxy can get onto other surrounding items as well. Use plastic sheeting or tarps to cover any areas exposed to accidental overspray.

6. Be ready to clean the spray machine in the event something goes wrong. Epoxy will cure and if it is still inside the machine will do so there. This can ruin a machine very quickly.

7. Always pre clean the spray machine, especially if the machine has been rented. It is impossible to tell what was used in the machine prior to your use (if rented) and anything left in the machine can easily contaminate the epoxy.

Spraying epoxy paint is no different than spraying any other material except that the curing process of the coating is chemical rather then mechanical in nature from heat, ultraviolet, evaporative or pressure. Because of this, the mixture needs to be tended to more closely which is why a team is always more successful than a single person spraying epoxy paint.

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10 Reasons to Choose Pond Armor Pond Sealant

There is not a large variety of materials available to coat your water feature with. It is important to choose a sealant that will serve you well and last a decent amount of time. The last thing you want to get caught up in is reapplying the sealant year after year. Here are 10 reasons to choose Pond Armor sealant over others.

1. Very easy to apply – Anyone can apply Pond Armor pond sealant. Just read and follow the instructions and ask questions if you are unsure of any of the steps.

2. Multiple colors available – Pond Armor produces eight stand colors (Black, Clear, Tan, Gray, Forest Green, Competition Blue, Sky Blue and White) that are available in a variety of kit sizes. If one of these colors does not suit the project, a custom color can also be mixed.

3. Fish and plant safe – The sealant is safe for both fish and plants.

4. Excellent technical support – You are not alone in your endeavor to seal your water feature. If you have any questions or are unsure about any aspect of the process, Pond Armor staff is available to assist you.

5. Lasts for years – If applied properly and maintained properly, the pond sealant is designed to last for years. There is no need to recoat year after year.

6. Very versatile – The uses for other than water feature types of project are almost endless. It can easily be used on Koi ponds, waterfalls, fountains, pools, manmade lakes, streams, bird baths, aquariums (both fresh water and salt water), hydroponics systems and so on. if you have a project that needs to be waterproofed and are not sure if our coating will work, give us a call.

7. Tough and flexible – The sealant was designed to be both very tough and flexible at the same time.

8. Easy to maintain – There is not a lot of maintenance that needs to be done to Pond Armor pond sealant. It has a very smooth finished surface that can be cleaned with either a soft cloth or sift bristle brush.

9. Great price – Per square foot, Pond Armor pond sealant is roughly the same cost as a good rubber liner. Also amortized over the lifespan of the coating Pond Armor pond sealant will cost a lot less than other inferior coatings on the market too.

10. A 24 hour turnaround – Pond Armor pond sealant can be ready to be put back into service in as little as 24 hours. It does not need to be cleaned or rinsed prior to this either.

Please give us a call if you have any other questions. We will be more than happy to assist you.

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A List for Preparing to Use Pond Armor Epoxy

The last thing anyone wants is to experience what it is like to have forgotten one single item, especially after Pond Armor epoxy has already been mixed and is ready to be applied. The epoxy is going to start to cure and there is going to be absolutely no time to run back to the local hardware store for anything forgotten.

The best thing one can do is follow a plan and a good plan always starts with a good list. Tomorrow is the day planned for applying the Pond Armor epoxy. Here is a list things that could aid in getting the job done. Take note, this list is only for the coating application process, not the surface preparation or inspection.

Gloves – Needed for keeping your hands clean.
Safety glasses – Keep your eyes protected during any DIY project.
Proper clothing – There is no sense in ruining perfectly good clothing. Wear something old that you do not mind damaging.
Paint brushes – Perfect for touch up and hard to reach areas.
Paint roller handle and refills – If you plan to roll the Pond Armor epoxy, make sure you have spare refills and a good handle.
Squeegee – Only needed if you have a smooth surface to work with and you have experience using a squeegee.
Plastic tarp – Use this to cover and protect surrounding areas.
Masking tape – Use to aid in covering up areas not to be coated.
Paper or plastic containers – Used for mixing Pond Armor epoxy.
Measuring cups – Use these to measure specific amount of Pond Armor epoxy and alcohol.
Mixing sticks and a mixing wand – Use sticks for smaller batches being mixed and the wand on the end of a drill for larger batches being mixed.
Electric drill – See above.
Extension cords – See above.
Large plastic paint pan and refills – Use these to pour Pond Armor epoxy into while coating.
Denatured alcohol – Used for mixing with Pond Armor epoxy (see instructions and included recipes that came with the kit). In Canada, look for 99% Isopropyl alcohol in place of denatured alcohol.
Acetone – Use this to clean up any tools after coating.

Use the Clean Print feature found at the top of any article to print this list. Have it handy on the day you will be applying the coating. Check off any items that are already present and collect the rest.

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How to Choose the Best Blue Pond Liner

How to Choose the Best Blue Pond LinerLet’s face it.  There are many different shades of blue.  There are blues that are very dark, there are also light blues. Some blues lean more towards green where others tend to be on the purple side. The ultimate question really becomes how do you choose the best blue pond liner for you?

Have you ever been to a Koi show where judges are examining fish and awarding them for their coloring, size and shape? If not, you are missing something very interesting to watch.  You can learn a great deal about a particular fish just by being present at one of these shows. The one thing you will notice right away is that the fish being judged are almost always displayed in a blue container.

This is not just any ordinary blue container. These containers are made with a very specific shape of blue. The reason for this is because this particular shade of blue is not found in any type of Koi. Sure there are Koi out there with blue in them, but it is a different shade than the containers are made of.

The other reason is that not every part of a Koi has a distinct color. Did you know that some of the areas of a Koi’s fins can be transparent? Take a closer look at yours and you might just see that. It is because of this that this particular shade of blue works well too. Those transparent areas show up very well against the blue and allow a judge to look at the shape and edges of things like fins to determine quality.

Pond Shield Competition Blue is made for this reason. Not only does it have a specific purpose, but it looks good too. The pictures page shows several projects that have been completed using Competition Blue. You should have a look at them if the color blue interests you.

Bear in mind that we also make a Sky Blue which is perfect for pools and fountains for the most part, but also looks pretty good in a pond setting as well. If none of these colors works for you, you can give us a call and we would be happy to discuss a custom color mix for you as well.

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How to Choose a Pond Sealant

You have found yourself at the right place if you want to know how to choose a pond sealant. I have personally heard of people using all sorts of things to seal their pond or water feature with. I have heard of people using asphalt, tar, latex paint, liquid rubber paints, various unknown epoxies, polyester resins, deck sealers and even spray paint, just to name a few.

While there are all types of sealants available to make something waterproof, most of the list of products available generally has to be thrown away simply because they are toxic in nature to fish and plants.  If you are building a water feature that will house either of those two life forms, then you need to steer your project towards a sealant that will do the job and not kill your stock. So that is the very first thing you need to consider. Many sealants can actually leech toxins off into the water and cause serious harm. This can happen rapidly or in some cases over a long period of time which could also lead to misdiagnosing the illness being seen in the stock.

The next things you need to consider is what the pond sealant is made of. I keep using the word sealant here because generally that is a recognizable terms when it comes to waterproofing. What you should not confuse the term with is a type of material that is used to saturate a surface and repel water or moisture. These types of sealants are not really sealants per say but repellants that normally need to be reapplied on a regular basis.

What you are looking for is a pond sealant that will not only waterproof, but bond to the surface it is being applied to. Bond is very important because without it, the sealant will eventually fall off of the surface in which case you will see peeling. When peeling happens, water can get behind the sealant and the decomposition of organics in the water can actually expedite this process. Rubbers and latex materials are prone to peeling because their bond strength is inhibited by their flexibility.

You also need to choose a sealant that was specifically designed to work under water. Too many times people take this simple fact for granted. Just because the sealant is capable of waterproofing a surface does not necessarily mean it can withstand the rigors of existing under water. This is also a reason why so many sealants can fail.

Flexibility is also important. It should be considered very carefully because too much or too little can cause premature failure of the sealant. Rubber for example tends to have the highest amount of flexibility, but with that comes its inability to hang on to the surface it has been applied to. Epoxies on the other hand have exceptional bond strengths. This means that when they are applied, they tend to not want to come off. Arguably though, most people tend to think epoxies are a bad choice because they think epoxies are brittle and are prone to cracking through.  Generally with the average epoxy this would be correct. However, a good epoxy sealant will not only have great bond strength, but it also has a certain amount of flexibility built into it that allows it to move with the surface applied to and not be prone to peeling because of it.

Finally, the pond sealant should be designed to work properly for a decent amount of time. The last thing you want to be doing is recoating every year. The effort in preparation alone does not even equate to the stress cause on your stock each time you have to empty the water feature, clean it, recoat and fill it again. This does not even take into account the new cycle the water feature needs to go through in order to hold your stock again.

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Applying a Concrete Sealer

There are many things you should keeping mind when applying a concrete sealer. Generally these can be categorized into surface preparation, sealer application and inspection. This way it is easier to follow along because you will know what phase you ought to be in regarding any specific topic. The assumption is made that you already have your materials in hand and are ready to go.

Following that line of thought, the first thing you need to consider before applying a concrete pond sealer is how the surface ought to be prepared. Concrete, like many other surfaces has its own unique properties that need to be examined before applying anything to it. First and foremost is the type of concrete that is being sealed. There is some confusion at times in regards to what concrete is. Concrete is a mixture of sand, rock, cement, lime and water. The sand and rock components can actually vary in size some which will eventually determine the over-all strength of the concrete in the end.

Mortar is not concrete nor is cement concrete although these terms are by and large used synonymously to describe concrete. The fact is that mortar for example, is use mainly for adjoining brick or block but should not be used where concrete should be. Mortar has no rock and if used like concrete, will end up being too weak to perform properly.

With that said, it will now be assumed that you are working with concrete. The surface preparation for new concrete dictates that the concrete cure at least 28 days before preparing (7 days for accelerated concrete). Once cured properly, the concrete is cleaned using a mixture of one part muriatic acid and three parts water to clean the calcium sulphate from the surface. It is rinsed off and left to dry. Older concrete should be cleaned the same way.

Now you are ready to begin applying a concrete pond sealer. There are four types of tools that can be used to accomplish this:

Tool Pros Cons
Paint Brush Good for tight areas and cutting in Difficult to control sealer thickness
Paint Roller Excellent for moving material over
larger areas
Sealer applied thinner so multiple coats may be necessary to build up to the minimum thickness
Squeegee Great for smooth surfaces, coating can be applied in one coat Poor for uneven surfaces, can be tough to learn for new users
Spray Gun Perfect for larger areas both smooth and uneven especially when larger amounts of material need to be applied Not ideal for small jobs

While each of these methods is equally as effective if done properly, it is important that all instructions are followed.  In the case of Pond Shield epoxy, there are very specific recipes for mixing the sealer that should be used.

With that said it is best to take you time and really make sure that you have covered the surface well. After applying the concrete sealer, you need to inspect the surface. Most people tend to think that if the sealer looks good from afar that it must be completely intact. This is not true. The concrete surface may have small flaw that will allow a sealer to settle down into leaving very small areas that are not entirely coated anymore.

Because of this it is recommended that each square foot of surface be inspected for flaws and touched up as necessary. All it takes is one flaw to become a leak that will more than likely cause you more grief than it could have if the small amount of time was spent inspecting the surface before the sealer was put into service.

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Pond Armor Colors

We offer eight standard Pond Armor colors including Black, Clear, Tan, Gray, Competition Blue, Sky Blue, Forest Green and White. We also can mix any solid custom color that you choose.

Many people often ask what the best color is to choose. It is difficult for us to recommend a specific color because everyone’s tastes in color is going to be different. The simple answer is that you should choose a color that you think will compliment both the water feature you are coating and the surrounding area.

For example if you have a mostly natural setting, then the Pond Armor colors like Tan or Gray might suit you best. If the area surrounding your water feature is more artsy, then you might consider Competition Blue or Forest Green.

Clear is typically used when one is trying to maintain a specific look, like a concrete surface that is already stained, or a portion of a water feature that include either real or faux stone work. Waterfalls are another great use for Clear.

Sky Blue and White are almost always used for fountains and swimming pools, though there have been people who have coated their Koi ponds with these colors too. The reality is as mentioned above. Chose a color that you like and that best fits the water feature you are coating and its surrounding area.

Don’t forget that we can also mix customer colors too. The easiest way to accomplish that is to get a color chip of what you would like us to make for you. Please only choose a solid, single color.

If all else fails, there is always Black. Remember the days when you could choose any color pond liner that you wanted as long as it was black? Well we make Black also and contrary to what some may think, using Black in your water Feature will not affect the water temperature at all. That is unless you have virtually no water in the feature at all.

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