How to Make Smooth Concrete Rough

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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

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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

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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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How to Spot Repair Pond Armor Paint

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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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How to Choose the Best Blue Pond Liner

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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

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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

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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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Using Pond Shield in a Bath Tub

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Bath Tub Pond

Bath Tub Pond

You would be surprised how many people ask me if Pond Shield epoxy can be used in a bath tub.  Do you know which tubs I am referring to?  Yes, those old enamel coated iron tubs.  Sometimes people like to sink them into the ground and use them as small ponds; and why not?  They are perfect for it.

If this is an idea you have been kicking around for a while but really did not know where to start, hopefully this article will serve you.  Usually, you will find these old bath tubs in one of two states, with the enamel still intact and pretty much bare.

If the bath tub is bare, this probably means that there is going to be a little rust on the iron.  You are going to have to clean all of that up prior to putting any Pond Shield on it.  Once all of the rust is cleaned away, it is also recommend that you prime the bare metal with a self etching primer.

The difference between a self etching primer and a rattle can of primer you pick up at the local hardware store is that those rattle can primers do not stick to bare metal properly.  You need a self etching primer that will essentially burn into the metal and stick.  This is how you will get a better finish coat to stick as well.

You can purchase a self etching primer form just about any automotive paint and body supply store.  If you are not sure where to find one, call one of the local auto body shops and ask them where they purchase paints locally.  Those are the suppliers that will have the proper primer.

If the bath tub still has an existing enamel coating on it, you will need to abrade that surface to rough it up.  The coating is going to need some tooth to grab hold of after it is applied.

Once you have applied the primer and it has had time to set up, you can apply Pond Shield epoxy over the top.  After the epoxy has fully cured, you can put the new bath tub/pond into service.

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Building a Disappearing Waterfall

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Disappearing Waterfall

Disappearing Waterfall

A disappearing waterfall is one of those perfect water features for someone who does not have a lot of back yard space, but still enjoys this hobby.

Building a disappearing waterfall is quite simple and if you have all of the components, can probably be completed in a weekend’s time.  They can be made from things as simple as a large terracotta urn that has been set in place that water flows from to an actual outcropping of rocks that water flows from.

You will need at least the following to build a disappearing waterfall:

Something that the water flows from – This may be a terracotta urn, several buckets, small concrete boxes, old wine barrel halves and so on.  You can even use stacked rock.  Think outside of the box here.  You can use almost anything that can hold water to create a unique look.

Fountain Basin – Welcome to the world of plastics.  Because of plastics, some of the world’s neatest things have been created.  These fountain basins can be purchased from pond stores and they are used to set your disappearing waterfall up on.  The water will flow out of the items listed above and over top of gravel, for instance, and down into this fountain basin where it is circulated back up to the waterfall exit point.

These fountain basins can also be filtered in order to keep the water as clean as possible.  The filters can be removed and washed on occasion with relative ease.  The top of the basin is grated so that you can pour large gravel over the top which will hide any evidence of the waterfall mechanics.
Pump – You will need a small pump.  Avoid just running out and purchasing any old pump.  You will need to make sure that the head pressure will be enough to at least operate your disappearing waterfall.
Refill Mechanism – One of the downfalls of a disappearing waterfall is that the splashing can cause the water to evaporate more quickly than standing water.  As such, you will have to fill the fountain basin often unless you install an automatic refilling mechanism of some sort.

Really, that is all there is to it.  Once a disappearing waterfall is up and running, the maintenance is pretty minimal.  Just make sure the filters are clean and that your refill mechanism is working properly.

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How to Spray Epoxy

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There are some great reasons why you would want to spray Pond Shield epoxy rather than squeegee or roll it on.  Learning how to spray epoxy is not difficult to do either.  It takes some patience, the correct tools and an assistant.

Since you are actually building a pond, let’s assume you have the patience.  You will also have to decide if you have an area large enough to spray.  This is important because Pond Shield is not sprayed with a normal, hand held paint sprayer.  The epoxy is just too thick, even if you thin it some.

So the type of spray machine you will need is an airless rig that can most likely be rented from a local tool rental store.  Now because you will be using one of these, this is where the total area to be sprayed comes into play.  The set up and cleaning of these types of machines take some time, not to mention the machine and the hose will cause you to loose some of the Pond Shield you have purchased.

I would recommend that if you consider spraying the epoxy, that you have enough area for at least 8 quart and a half kits and then purchase a minimum of a 3-gallon kit (which equates to 8 quart and a half kits).  Any less material for a spray job and you will be wasting your time and material.

So let’s assume you have enough area to spray.  Which airless spray machine do you rent or purchase (in the case of a professional installer)?  Bigger is always better, but there are some minimum requirements for a spray machine that you have to abide by.

Operating Pressure – 3000 – 3500 working psi minimum.  This means that the machine should operate in this range.  If the machine is rated for 3000 psi maximum, you may find that the operating pis is somewhere in the 1500 psi area.  That pressure will never do.

Spray Tip – This is the part of the spray gun where the epoxy exits the machine.  If the spray tip is too small, the psi that the machine operates at will be impeded and not enough coating will exit the gun to do the job properly.  The spray tip should be a minimum of .023 to .027.  I personally try and find the bigger tips work better.  The more volume you can move, the easier it is to cover your project.

Fluid Hose – Typically there are tow types of hose, both measured in inside diameter, 3/8” and 1/2.  Again, the need is for volume, then try and get the large inside diameter hose.

Gas or Electric – Either type will work fine.  I do find that gas machines tend to be larger in terms of the operating pressure and such but you should check the machine specifications before you rent.

So now we know there is enough area to be sprayed and we have picked out the proper machine.  What is the assistant for?  Well when it comes to spraying epoxy and you are going to be the trigger man, you will want to continuously spray without stopping.  Being an exothermic material the epoxy will want to heat up as it cures and airless spray machines have a tendency to further this heating process as the fluid lines are charged.  So with that said, you will probably not have enough time to stop spraying and mix additional material yourself, nor will you have the time to change from epoxy to solvent to clean the machine when you are finished.

Your assistant should be well versed in the timing for mixing new epoxy and having it ready at the same time you need it.  You, as the person spraying the epoxy should not be waiting for your assistant to finish mixing materials and likewise your assistant should not be waiting for you to finish spraying the epoxy.  This timing is essential for sake of the machine.  You do not want the epoxy hardening up in the machine while you wait, nor do you want to epoxy starting to cure in a bucket while the assistant waits for you.

Now that all of the logistics are handled, let’s talk about the actual spraying process.  Spraying is not that difficult and you can quickly get used to the manner in which you should do it.  The first thing you want to do is wear a respirator.  Yes, Pond Shield epoxy is non toxic, but the small coating particulates that will be floating in the air are not something you will want in your lungs, so protect yourself.  Any good painter will tell you this too.

You may also consider safety glasses as well because of the same reason.  There is bound to be some bounce back of epoxy from the surface being sprayed and you do not want that in your eyes either.

The first thing you should do is purge or pre-clean the spray machine of contaminants.  This is done by spraying denatured alcohol through the machine for a few minutes.  This denatured alcohol can be sprayed into a separate bucket and used later for cleaning the machine. Acetone will work as well, but it is always best to check with the owner’s manual of the machine for proper cleaning methods.

Now that the system has been purged, your assistant will load a fresh batch of Pond Shield epoxy.  Thinning the epoxy is crucial to the operation of the machine, so you may wish to speak to a support technician at Pond Armor who will be happy to help you with a proper recipe before starting.  Be sure to have all of your spray machine specifications handy before the call.

Initially the material that you spray will be mostly denatured alcohol, so purge this off with the properly mixed Pond Shield epoxy into a different bucket than the one you just pre-cleaned the machine with.  As soon as you see good epoxy coming from the machine you can move to the work area and begin.

The spray tip on the gun will either have a flat fan pattern or a round funnel pattern.  This will not make much of a difference for the type of spray job you are doing but will tend to designate how close you hold the spray gun to the surface of the pond.

Hold the spray gun somewhere between 12 and 18 inches to start.  This distance will vary depending on the type of pattern the gun sprays.  Typically, the funnel type of pattern feels like a lot more epoxy is being delivered at one time, so you will probably end up holding the spray gun further away and you perform a stroke.

The other thing that will affect this distance is the volume of epoxy being released from the machine.  If you have a machine that delivers 4000 psi and pretty large spray tip, then you’ll have a lot more material being released, so the distance again, will be a bit further away from the surface.

The trick to spraying is moving your hand across the surface in one even stroke, keeping the gun the same distance away from the surface.  The speed at which you move through this stroke will also be dictated by the volume of epoxy being released.  Pond Shield epoxy can be sprayed down at 10 mils thickness in one stroke, so try and run a stroke and then stop for a moment to measure the thickness of the epoxy with the gauge.  If the coating is at 10 mils, then your distance away from the surface and your stroke speed are perfect.  If not, then adjust accordingly.  If the coating was thinner than 10 mils, you may have to move closer as well as slow your stroke speed down.

A caution should be mentioned here.  If you lay the coating down thicker than 10 mils, you may experience sagging.  The same can be said, if the epoxy is thinned too much. The main problem here is that you may not initially experience this sagging right away.  This may happen after you have moved on to another location to spray.  Sagging is an aesthetic issue and if it bothers you, you will have to clean that up later and possibly touch up those areas.

Immediately after you have sprayed all areas satisfactorily, you can begin the cleaning process.  This means that your assistance will switch from epoxy to a solvent like denatured alcohol, acetone or methyl ethyl keytone (MEK).  The acetone or MEK should only be used for cleaning afterwards and not in the pre-cleaning stage.  Spray the solvent through the lines thoroughly to ensure no epoxy residue remains.  Uses brushes and such to clean all of the machines moving parts, pick up tube and spray gun.  Afterwards, drain the hose of excess fluid before returning it.

The next day you will be ready to inspect and touch up the coating.  Keep in mind that even if the job was perfect today, it is not likely to be perfect tomorrow.  Concrete has a way of letting coatings settle in and there may be places to touch up before you fill the pond with water.  Always inspect your surface and tough up as needed.

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How to Rough up Concrete

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So if you want the coating to stick to the concrete it has to be at least a little rough.  If you have not acid etched the concrete yet, then you are in luck.  The chances are that when you do acid etch, the calcium sulphate will be removed from the surface and leave you with a more porous surface, which in essence equates to being more rough.

However, there are times that even after a good etching, the surface is still too smooth.  If this is the case, you will probably be stuck with either sandblasting or grinding the concrete to get it into shape.

If you are going to sandblast, be sure to choose a quality professional to do the job.  Sandblasting can make a mess and the last thing you need to worry about is the guy doing the job and whether or not he does that without making a serious mess or damaging surround items.

If you prefer to grind, then an angle grinder equipped with a flexible sanding disk that is about 36 or slightly finer will do the job as well.  Make sure you wear proper protective clothing as flying debris can damage your eyes.

Once all has been blasted or ground down, you will have to acid etch again, as the newly acquired surface will have fresh calcium sulphate in it that will need to be removed.

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How to Fix a Leaky Fountain

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3 Tiered FountainIt is time to run a hose through that old fountain you have sitting in your yard.  The darned thing has not been fired up since… When was it?  Was it last season?  Hmmm, maybe it was the season before.  Bah!  Who cares?  It’s time to fire it up and bask in its beauty!

Now that you have got the fountain full of water, it is time to pull out the lawn furniture, something to drink and…  Uh oh!  The fountain is leaking!  Grumbling as you drag the lawn furniture back inside and put the lemonade away, you realize you have no idea how you are going to fix this pesky leak in your fountain.

Not to worry.  Fixing a leak in a fountain is just as easy as fixing a leak in any other water feature.  First you have to determine where the leak is.  Most yard fountains are made up of several preformed, concrete tiers and a visual inspection of the fountain should tell you that pretty quickly.

Cracks can form in concrete fountains if left out during the cold winter months.  This usually happens when water that has been left in the fountain was allowed to freeze causing the concrete to expand past its capacity.

Start at the top tier and look at the underside of it.  Does the concrete look damp?  Are there any visible signs of cracking in the concrete?  Inspect each tier and see if any of these conditions exist.  Just because you find one culprit doesn’t mean there isn’t another.  Inspect the whole fountain for these same conditions.

Let’s assume for a minute that you did not find anything with that cursory inspection.  Tiered fountains are usually constructed by stacking these preformed concrete basins on top of one another.  Then in the center of them there might be a hole that travels the standing length for which the electrical wiring can run.

If this is the case and you have not found any indications of a leak, then the problem may be at the base of one of these tiers where the next tier sits upon the first.  If you remove a tier from the top of another tier, you’ll usually find a rubber type of cork that has a hole in the middle.

The wiring runs through the hole and when the top tier is in place it sandwiches the rubber between the two tiers making a water tight seal.  Check to see if that rubber cork has deteriorated.  Check each tier’s rubber cork as well.  If any are damaged, replace them and check for leaks again.

With that said, it’s probably not a bad idea to check these from time to time anyway.  However, if you had found these to be in good shape and the problem was a crack in one of the tiers then you are going to have to correct that issue.

Fixing a crack in concrete is not a big deal.  With a few simple tools, you can have a simple repair done in a couple of hours.  Evaluate the crack and try to determine of it needs to be ground out.  By grinding the crack out, you allow the repair material to bond to each facing side of the crack which will in essence, act as a permanent stitch in the concrete.

I usually use a small 4 inch angle grinder with a concrete cutting wheel attached.  Wear gloves, safety glasses (maybe even a safety face shield and possibly a dust mask when repairing concrete.  Small bits of stone will fly through the air and you do not want to injure and eye or even your face.

Cut into the crack and make a slight groove.  For hairline cracks, the groove only needs to be about ¼ inch deep.  Follow the crack as far as it goes.  Once the crack has been grooved, use air to blow out any debris from the crack.

At this point, you can use Pond Shield epoxy to stitch the crack back together.  Mix a small amount of Pond Shield and over thin it so that it has a more watery consistency. Then brush that into the crack and allow the concrete to wick up the mixture. After that mixture has started to set up, mix the appropriate amount and use a putty knife to press the coating into place.  Once the coating begins to set up, use a small roller to coat the entire inside surface of the tier.

To make things uniform, coat each tier and any areas that will be submerged by water.  Once complete check, for leaks and touch up as necessary.  Your leaky fountain will now be leak free and a lot better looking too!

The Pond Shield coating will also make things easier for you to clean.  If your fountain collects any muck or algae, simply wipe it clean with a terry cloth rag.

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