3 Things to Look for In a Quality Epoxy Sealer

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I get a lot of calls each day from people asking me about Pond Shield epoxy.  I receive questions about almost anything but the one thing the majority of them have in common is whether or not Pond Shield epoxy is the right product for the project in question.  So I will try and clear some of that up for you here by giving you three things to look for in a quality epoxy sealer.

As long as your project is sturdy in construction there is no reason why an epoxy sealer will not work for you.  The biggest problem though is that most people do not understand what makes a good, quality sealer.  Knowing that puts a pond builder that much closer to finishing a successful pond.

The first thing you need to find out is whether the sealer is designed for under water use.  This is probably the most important thing to find out.  An epoxy sealer that is meant to just provide nominal sealing to the surface applied does not mean that the epoxy or the bond will not break down after being subjected to an under water environment.  You would be surprised how many epoxies there are on the market today that cannot stand up to the punishment of an underwater service environment.

The second thing to consider is how much of the epoxy is made up of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  For lack of a better analogy, these are the amounts and types of solvents that are present in the epoxy sealer.  What happens with these volatile organic compounds is they will evaporate from the epoxy as the sealer cures.  Guess what happens when that evaporation takes place?  The coating can lose some of its body and can shrink.  The problem with shrinking is that if you are counting on the sealer to waterproof the surface applied, there can be repercussions if that coating surface diminishes after it has cured, especially in joint areas.

Finally, you have to consider how a sealer works.  A proper coating is not just applied like paint.  What I mean by that is when you apply a coating you are not just putting whatever color you chose onto the pond surface.  Because of this, you have to consider the minimum application thickness of the coating after it has been applied.  The reason there is a minimum thickness is because the sealer is going to be put under very specific stresses and has to be thick enough to take the punishment.  A mere 2 mil thick sealer, just is not going to withstand the forces placed against it and the pond will have problems.  Sometime people ask if they can stretch a kit that covers 60 square feet to 65 square feet.  The answer is no because if the kit is stretched to cover more area than it is intended to cover, then somewhere the coating is not going to be at the recommended minimum thickness and that area will have problems.

So keep these basics in mind when you are getting ready to coat your pond or water feature.  You will find that following the basic rules of coating will give you a much better outcome and greater chances of a successful project.

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Non-Toxic Epoxies and Their Benefits

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Most of us with ponds and other water features utilize them as a place to support life of all shapes and forms and that’s why it’s ever so important that all materials used are non-toxic.

There are a wide range of different materials used when producing a pond and any one of them can trigger issues with life in the pond at a later stage. Many of the materials used when creating a pond are also common in the construction industry; however, you should ensure they are non-toxic and suitable for use when constructing a pond – some aren’t.

For instance most epoxies are toxic and are unsuitable for constructing a pond. An appropriate epoxy should line and seal the area but create no risk to the wildlife and form a water resistant barrier that is both non-toxic and looks great.

VOCs

Volatile organic compounds can cause a lot of problems and exist in most epoxies. These toxic VOCs are known to cause cancers and are considered to be carcinogenic in humans and animals – far from ideal in your pond. In many cases VOCs are released for years afterwards and have long term effects rather than sudden ones. This is one of the main reasons you need a non-toxic epoxy.

Smoothness

The adding of epoxies to pools or ponds often involves sanding for smoothness and these results in dust which can be quite dangerous to breathe in or ingest. Of course, it is advisable you to cover your mouth and nose, when performing such a task. If you do need safety equipment they are often best at hire for one off jobs.

Non-toxic epoxies however do not have any such issues and generally contain no volatile organic compounds. A lack of harmful chemicals is something that non-toxic epoxies should adhere to.

Bio-Content

Many green epoxies are actually made from bio content and so often take a substantial amount less energy and effort to produce. Without the need for as many chemicals, these epoxies are greener to manufacture and don’t cause green issues in production like traditional toxic epoxies generally do. This means lower CO2 emissions and an overall greener stance.

Even though these non-toxic epoxies are green, they still provide the same level of quality you would expect. Non-toxic epoxy offers a high quality seal for ponds. Non-toxic epoxies are an essential for your pond, while pose no harm to your water quality.

Cormac Reynolds writes for Best at Hire a UK company that provides a hire service of tools and other items online.

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Setting Goals for a Pond Shield Epoxy Project

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With as many things that could possibly be happening during the life of any project, things can quickly get out of hand and disorganized if an over-all plan is not in place.  That is why it is so important for setting goals for a Pond Shield Epoxy project. It is very easy to do, in fact as easy as making a shopping list.

The first thing that needs to be done is to divide the over-all project into pieces that are better managed on a level alone. For example, the easiest breakdown would be to section of the project into three sections: surface preparation, coating application and inspection. Of course any of these tasks can also be broken into smaller tasks if it benefits the project.

Surface Preparation – The goal will more than likely be one of those items that require a span of days. It is best to check the calendar for availability of both crew and equipment depending upon your particular project. It is also recommended that the scheduling not be broken up over different parts of the week. Once the crew begins, breaking their momentum could quite possibly slow the surface preparation down. It is best to schedule work to be done over a consecutive set of days.

Coating Application – In regards to total days to coat, this will be dependant upon the size of the project. If the total surface area of the floor of the project is too large to properly apply the coating to in one day, then this process must also be broken up over a span of days. The only time this may not be a factor is if the crew performing the application has the equipment to traverse the surface of the coating while it is still uncured. It is in this manner that the days scheduled for the application process can be cut back. The step should also be scheduled as soon after the surface preparation is complete as possible so that extra time is not spent to clean the surface a second time prior to the coating application.

Surface Inspection – Any under water service coating will have to be inspected thoroughly before the project is put back into service. Goal setting here will mainly revolve around the total square footage of the project as it takes a varied amount of time to inspect every single square foot of surface area properly. Smooth surfaces can be completed quicker where rougher surfaces will take additional time. The general rule of thumb is that it takes approximately 3-6 seconds to completely inspect one single square foot of surface area. Unlike the previous portions of the project, this task can be broken into various days as needed, again this step being dependant upon the size of the project. However it is crucial that this step be completed correctly or the waterproofing project will have issues and no amount of goal setting with the project will correct that.

So set proper goals for the Pond Shield epoxy project that you are under taking. It will mean the difference between the project ultimately lasting longer than it should and being completed in a timely manner. Discuss these goals with all of the people involved with the project to ensure that they are all focused on the same time constraints.

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Things To Avoid When Using Fish Pond Sealer

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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

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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

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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

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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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Pond Armor Colors

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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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3 Things to Look for In a Quality Epoxy Sealer

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I get a lot of calls each day from people asking me about Pond Shield epoxy.  I get questions that are about almost anything but the one thing the majority of them have in common is whether or not Pond Shield epoxy is the right product for the project in question.  So I will try and clear some of that up for you here by giving you three things to look for in a quality epoxy sealer.

As long as your project is sturdy in construction there is no reason why an epoxy sealer will not work for you.  The biggest problem though is that most people do not understand what makes a good, quality sealer.  Knowing that puts a pond builder that much closer to finishing a successful pond.

The first thing you need to find out is whether the sealer is designed for under water use.  This is probably the most important thing to find out.  An epoxy sealer that is meant to just provide nominal sealing to the surface applied does not mean that the epoxy or the bond will not break down after being subjected to an under water environment.  You would be surprised how many epoxies there are on the market today that cannot stand up to the punishment of an underwater service environment.

The second thing to consider is how much of the epoxy is made up of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  For lack of a better analogy, these are the amounts and types of solvents that are present in the epoxy sealer.  What happens with these volatile organic compounds is they will evaporate from the epoxy as the sealer cures.  Guess what happens when that evaporation takes place?  The coating looses some of its body and can shrink.  The problem with shrinking is that if you are counting on the sealer to waterproof the surface applied, there can be repercussions if that coating surface diminishes after it has cured, especially in joint areas.

Finally, you have to consider how a sealer works.  A proper coating is not just applied like paint.  What I mean by that is when you apply a coating you are not just putting whatever color you chose onto the pond surface.  Because of this, you have to consider the minimum application thickness of the coating after it has been applied.  The reason there is a minimum thickness is because the sealer is going to be put under very specific stresses and has to be thick enough to take the punishment.  A mere 2 mil thick sealer, just is not going to withstand the forces placed against it and the pond will have problems.  Sometimes I have customers ask me if they can stretch a kit that covers 60 square feet to 65 square feet.  I tell them no because if they do, then somewhere the coating is not going to be at the recommended minimum thickness and that will cause problems later.

So keep these basics in mind when you are getting ready to coat your pond or water feature.  You will find that following the basic rules of coating will give you a much better outcome and greater chances of a successful project.

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Other Types of Projects Suitable for Coatings

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You know, ponds are not the only types of projects that water proofing coatings can be used on.  There are a lot of other things that are perfectly suited for apply a coating like Pond Shield epoxy.

Remember that just because this coating was designed with ponds and housing aquatic life in mind, that does not mean that this is its only use.  Pond Shield epoxy is in comparison to other epoxies a very high performance type of epoxy.

It can be used in a whole lot of other situations and you’d reap the benefits of the coating in doing so.  So let me stop this paid advertisement type of speech right now.  I got carried away.  Instead let me just run down a list of things that you may never have thought of using the product for.  These are in no particular order.

  • Garage Floors – Garage floors need a coating that is chemical resistant and that can take a lot of physical punishment.
  • Hydroponics Tanks – Yes, growing your own vegetables these days seems to be a keen way of saving money.
  • Below Grade Waterproofing – Places with high water tables are susceptible to water seeping through concrete walls and into basement areas.  A coating with a high hydrostatic barrier rating can stop this.
  • Man Holes/Storm Drains – For you city engineers out there, most of these units are made of concrete so the bond of the epoxy to the concrete would be just like that in a pond.
  • Baptisteries – You’d need something tough enough to constantly walk on with some baptismal units.
  • Industrial Kitchen Walls – In any kitchen, especially industrial kitchens, the areas need to be easily cleaned.  Having an ultra smooth surface means less time getting the cleaning job down.
  • Public Showers/Restrooms – A very inexpensive alternative to stone tiling.
  • Rot Damaged Wood – In cases where a portion of a wood structure has rotted, Pond Shield can be used to repair those areas and put them back into service.
  • Broken Tile/Ceramic – The high elongation break strength will allow you to successfully bond broken pieces of tile or ceramic back together.
  • Abrasion Proof Decks – Use in conjunction with woven fiberglass to create an abrasion proof exterior deck.
  • Repairing Wood Trim – Some wood trim will have knots or other flaws that can be repaired with Pond Shield.
  • Sealing Plaster/Drywall – Especially useful when trying to keep a tub or shower area sealed against water damage.
  • Wooden Post – posts like those use on porches or for fencing would benefit from being sealed off from the environment.
  • Anchor Bolts – Used where extra holding strength is needed for anchor bolts in concrete.
  • Post and Beam Splicing – Any time you need to splice a new section of post or beam into and existing section.
  • Sagging Beams – Beams that have begun to sag over time can be reinforced and straightened out.

These are just a handful of ideas that you may be able to use around the house right now.  Yes, Pond Shield epoxy was created with ponds in mind, but it will definitely work better than any other epoxy you’ll find in your local hardware store.

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Pond Painting – Get Artistic!

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This is just a brief article to get your creative thinking going.  I am the type of person that likes to construct things that are unique, things that people just do not see everyday, things that people take a look at and think, “Well there’s something you do not see everyday”.

This is not done for praise, but rather I like people to appreciate the finished effect and hopefully get ideas from what I have done to go and build something that is unique for them and that they can enjoy.  So with that said, I would like to talk about using paint in your pond.

If I have said it once, I have said it a million times.  You cannot just put paint on your concrete pond and expect it to stick.  Yep, but here I am talking to you about painting your pond.  Well there is a way to do it.

First consider what you plan to do with the paint.  Are you going to put some sort of mural down in the pond?  Are you going to paint it in a fashion that makes the bottom of the pond blend in with the natural surroundings?  I have seen golf courses put logos and such in the bottoms of their ponds.

So, if paint does not stick to concrete very well, how are you going to paint the pond and get any sort of life expectancy out of it?  That’s pretty simple.  You will end up sandwiching it between two coats of Pond Shield epoxy.

You prepare the surface for the first coat of Pond Shield epoxy and then let it cure for at least 24 hours.  If you plan to paint the entire surface, you can almost use any color of Pond Shield epoxy that you want.  If you want to maintain any natural rock for example you may want to use clear as your first coat.

After the first coat has cured for 24 hours, it can be sanded to give the surface some tooth for the paint to stick to.  What you use to paint the surface now will be a very important choice.  The first kind of paint that probably pops into your head would be latex paint.

Latex paint would probably be the worst choice in my opinion.  The problem is not how well it would stick to Pond Shield epoxy, but how well Pond Shield epoxy would stick to it.  This is because in attempting to prepare a latex surface for the purpose of sticking epoxy to it, you may inadvertently destroy the latex finish you have created.

Think about what the latex might look like if you accidentally sanded through it, especially if you have just finished a nice faux look to the paint job.  Trying to touch that up and make it blend properly can be very difficult to say the least.

You might even consider an exterior oil based paint.  While these pains are pretty good and can be prepared easier than latex, the real problem comes from how they cure.  Oil based pains have quite a bit of solvent material in them and it is the evaporation of this solvent that acts as the drying method for the paint.

When oil based paints dry, they tend to shrink.  This shrinking, not to mention solvent release can cause issues later when the project is complete.

So if this is something you really want to consider, I would recommend that you use an automotive type of paint; either an acrylic, enamel or a polyurethane.  Any of these types of paints are made to stick to other plastic surfaces too.

The trick will be this.  You will need to apply the paint to the prepared Pond Shield epoxy and if the painted surface is small enough apply Pond Shield clear over the top just after the paint has flashed.  By flashed, I mean when the paint has just cured enough to be hard but still susceptible to having a coating applied over top of it without sanding.  This flash time will be described in the instructions for the paint you purchased.

Now, if you surface area is large and you are forced to sand, sanding an automotive paint is pretty easy.  It’s harder than a latex type of paint so the likelihood of you sanding through is a lot less, especially if you’re careful.  Just sand it and then wipe it clean and the surface will be ready for the top coat of Pond Shield clear epoxy.

So that’s basically all there is to it.  If you do not know where to get automotive paint, just call a local auto body shop and ask them.  Usually there are one or two automotive paint stores in any given town or at least in a town close to you.

Remember to think out of the box here.  There’s a lot you can do with paint as long as you do it correctly.  You need a base coat of Pond Shield epoxy, then the paint and finally a top coat of Pond Shield epoxy clear.

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Just a Word about Colored Pond Liners

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Most people have gotten used to the color black being their only choice when it comes to pond liners.  While black is not a bad color, Pond Armor for instance, offers a large selection of standard colored pond liner epoxies.  We also offer custom colors as well.

Think of the possibilities of using a different colored pond liner.  Take for example the difference in appearances between limestone and granite or shale and slate.  All of these rocks are very different in color.

Using a gray or a tan colored pond liner will enhance a partner color found in a specific rock.  This in turn can also add to the natural aesthetics of the pond over-all.  Picture in your mind what the pond would look like if the colored pond liner blended into the surrounding stone.

If you have a more formal type of pond, you may need to use very bold colored pond liner epoxy.  Colors like white or competition blue might make a statement.  By the way, competition blue is a perfect color for fresh and salt water aquariums too.

So what it all boils down to is that you might consider thinking outside of the box when trying to decide which colored pond liner to choose.  The two or three design possibilities you have in your head right now may turn into a couple dozen new ideas just by adding a little color to them.

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Is Epoxy Toxic to Fish?

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Is epoxy toxic to fish? That is a very valid question, is it not? There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when trying to decipher this, especially if you’re building a water feature that is going to house fish.

First remember that generally, epoxies that can be purchased at local hardware stores may indeed be toxic to fish. This is because these types of epoxies have a very specific purpose intended for them and that purpose does not revolve around housing aquatic life.

Epoxy coatings can leach off toxins both before they are cured and after they are cured. For purposes of housing fish, it’s this time afterwards that is most important. You will have applied the epoxy and let it cure before filling you pond back up and if the epoxy leaches toxins off after the cure, then your fish are in danger.

So how do you know if the epoxy is toxic or not? Well the easiest way is to read the epoxy technical data sheet and the MSDS (material safety data sheet) provided by the manufacturer. These two documents, along with a chat from a representative of the company can help clarify that.

The MSDS sheet will contain general information about the epoxy, including handling information. The technical data sheet will have scores of information in it regarding the coating you will find test data that covers anything from strength properties to, yes you guessed it, toxicology testing.

So do not be afraid to ask for these documents. You might be amazed at what you can learn.

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Koi Treats – What You Should And Shouldn’t Feed Your Koi

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There is a variety of foods available for Koi on the market today.  Generally speaking if you read the packaging of the food you plan to purchase it is almost like reading the back of a can of soup.  You will get to know what makes up the stuff you’re about to feed your Koi.

But what about other types of food or treats?  Do Koi even care for a treat or are they willing to taste test just about anything you throw in the water to them.  Here’s a reality check.  Would a Koi know the difference between a piece of brown bread and a piece of white bread?  I doubt it and guess what?

The white bread contains bleached flour that can cause the fish harm.  So the point is that just because the food is acceptable to you, and you have no trouble eating it, does not mean your fish can.

You will probably want to avoid any type of treat with a hard outer casing like corn or beans too.  Your fish will not be able to digest the outer layer and this can also cause them problems.  You can feed them lettuce or leafy vegetables like duckweed (as long as they are clean of pesticides) and your Koi will enjoy them.

I have heard that citrus is somewhat of a treat for Koi too.  But it has been said that you should only treat them to this once per week, if you do at all.

How about live food?  Yeah I know the thought of holding a squirmy earthworm above the water for a frenzied Koi isn’t the best picture I could place in your head, but people do feed them to their fish.  Just clean any dirt off of them first.

Ok here’s an appetizing choice for your Koi.  Young tadpoles.  Yeah this is even worse to think about than earthworms for me.  But apparently Koi love them, so a treat of these seems to be in order too.  You can probably find all sorts of freeze dried yummies at the local pond shop too that the fish will like.

Just remember to pick a treat that is actually big enough for the size Koi you have.  Daphnia fleas for instance, are great for fry, but way too small for larger adult fish.  Silkworm pupae are another great treat for Koi, but should only be a very rare treat and the high fat content can cause problems with Koi and diabetes later.

The best way to think about all of this is, to feed your Koi properly.  A good balanced diet with the proper amounts of protein, and vitamins is the best way to feed your fish and treats should be just that – treats.  Pick the treats carefully and make sure you are giving them something that they like and will not harm them.

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Going Green – Efficient, Sustainable Pond Techniques

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With all that is happening in the world today, the last thing you might think about while enjoying your pond is how efficient it might be.  There are statistics being thrown around today that talk about the ever looming global warming, greenhouse gasses, CO2 emissions and all sorts of stuff.

I bet you did not know, but even when it comes to your pond there are a few things you can do that will make it more efficient and thereby waste far fewer resources like energy and water.  Let me throw this little fact at you.  If your pond is 10 feet by 20 feet and leaks just one inch of water, you are loosing 119 gallons of water.

If that water is left to flow down any of the local sewer drains, it is not doing anyone any good.  Even if the waste water in your area goes through a treatment facility and is brought back to be used in some way or another, your leak is causing the treatment facility to waste energy on that water too.

Now of course you might be sitting there thinking I am some sort of conspiracy theory nut or something, but it’s not true.  I just think that if it is important to you to separate your recyclables from your trash each week, then you might find this information useful too.

By the way here is my shameless plug in this article.  Pond Shield epoxy is a water proofing coating that will seal up leaks in your pond.  Using it will help you not to contribute to a waste of water in the long run.

Ok going back to water issues.  How often do you back flush your filtration system?  Once per week?  Twice per month?  Ok, what do you do with it?  Let it go down a drain somewhere?  Bad pond owner!  Bad!  You should set up a way to irrigate existing plant life in your yard.  That would mean less watering with your normal irrigations system and then eventually, less waste.

What about the chemicals you use in your pond?  Are they eco friendly chemicals?  If not, they all have to be processed out of the water eventually you know.  Again, that means more energy exerted in the actual processing.

When you purchased your electric motor for your pump, did you make sure you bought one that would do the job efficiently?  You know over working or under working the electric motor will waste electricity too.  These resources come from somewhere and at the source if it means the exertion to create the energy is more than being used efficiently, then that too is considered a waste.

I hear all of these commercials every day where they say is X number of people replaced their dish washer with a brand new energy efficient one, it would be like removing X amount of cars from the road.  Yeah that sounds weird, but if you always think about the source that produces the energy and how it has to work more in order to do a less efficient job, then you can see the waste.

Anyway, just a little food for thought.  If you were planning to replace something in your pond because it is worn out, now you can applied these concepts to that new purchase.

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How To Purchase Quality Koi

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You know, purchasing Koi or any other pet is a pretty fun experience, but you have to remember that it or they are living beings and will need proper care.  Because of this you should make sure that your pond will be able to accommodate the Koi your purchase without breeching the limitations of your pond and its mechanical systems.

One of the things you may also want to consider is watching a particular Koi before actually purchasing it.  Of course this comes with the risk of someone else actually purchasing it before you get to, but if you keep notes on several Koi at your local dealer, you may find yourself with a better quality and better looking Koi than if you had just pulled one out of a batch of fry.

You will also have to decide where you will purchase.  They are Koi farms where they Koi are either bred or imported several times per year and there are retail locations that purchase from the farms on a more regular basis.  Where you might have more a selection at a farm, you will have multiple selections per year from a retailer.

They say that the best quality Koi are imported from Japan in November and December.  Typically, water temperatures are lower and can contain more oxygen for transport at this time and harvesting actually ends in October there.  Typically stateside Koi farms keep the same sort of breeding cycle if they breed their own.

When you choose a place to purchase from, make sure that the staff is knowledgeable about their stock.  They should be willing to answer and questions you have about the fish.  Take a look at the state of their ponds.  The ponds or holding tanks should be well filtered and clean.

Being a Koi enthusiast, you should remember though, that clean looking water is not necessarily clean.  Smell the water too.  Though this method is not a perfect science either, sometimes you can determine if there might be a problem.  Watch the fish for any signs of stress too.

When you decide on a fish that you like, watch it for a while.  Pay attention to how it swims and moves.  Make sure it is not bumping into things and that its movements are not sporadic.  Koi swim in a very fluid motion and look very graceful as they move.

Look at the way the fish breathes.  A Koi breathes slow and regular and you should see this in both gills.  Gills that are flared out are a sign of sickness.  Check the fish for any appearance of white blooms on the skin of the Koi, or raised scales, holes, cloudy eyes.  These are also signs of problems with the fish.

You should ask a staff member to separate the fish you like from the rest.  Usually they will put the Koi into a tub for this purpose and allow you to view the fish more closely.  Watch the way the person handles the Koi.  This will also tell you how capable they might be.

When catching a Koi for close inspection, a flat pan net is usually used and the fish is encouraged to swim into the tub by itself.  This method is less stressful to the fish and causes virtually now physical damage.

In the tub, you can look more closely at the fish for the things mentioned above.  Here you can also get a closer look at the fins for parasites and such too.  You do not want to bring an infested Koi back to your healthy pond and risk the infection of all of your stock.

Once you have decided upon a Koi, you’ll want to make sure you transport it properly.  It is recommended that you use a large bag for the fish and that the dealer oxygenate the bag as well.  I would also ask for a box to contain the bag and maybe even call ahead to make sure one is available.

You do not want to let the fish in its bag roll around the inside of your car on the way home.  This can seriously stress the Koi.  I would further suggest that you bring a blanket to cover the box with too.  Being in a dark environment will calm the Koi and it will be less likely to thrash about and possibly injure itself.

There are two schools of thought here in regards to quarantining fish.  Some say that this causes undo stress in the fish in that you end up having to move it twice and that the repercussions of these actions might not actually be seen until a lot later, months and maybe even years.

Others say that it is best not to introduce new fish into your pond because there may be a risk of contaminating the entire stock you already have.  While this is a possibility, you should consider that typically fish that are imported in, they are quarantined at that time.  Though this does not guarantee that you would not experience problems, it just gives you something to consider.

Ultimately, it is best to use your head when choosing and purchasing a new Koi.  This fish will be with you for a long time, so you want to give it the best chances it can get for survival.

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Sealing Your Pond – A Simple Checklist To Prepare You For The Task Ahead

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The big day is soon to arrive.  You’ll finally get that pond of your back into waterproof shape.  You will be able to bust this job out in a day.  Well hopefully you will.  Best intentions and all that huh?

Well to ensure that you have a better chance at accomplishing your task in the time frame you want to, I have assembled a list of things you will want to go through and make sure you have completed before that day arrives.  This way your mindset can be on the project and not on what you may have forgotten.

Items Before Coating Day

Your new coating material – This is obvious.  You cannot start your project without the main material.  Also, you should think ahead.  Scheduling to waterproof your pond on a Saturday and ordering materials on a Friday might not produce the results you were thinking.  There could be issues with product availability as well as increased freight costs.

All instructions – You should read through all of the instructions prior to actually applying the coating.  This way if you have questions, you can ask the manufacturer for assistance.  Support may not be available on weekends.

Friends – Hit your friends up at least a week ahead of time.  You know as well as anyone that nice weather means people don’t hang out at home.  They go places and enjoy the outdoors.  If you need help, ask friends but give them plenty of time to schedule you in.

Preparation – Are all of your preparation steps completed?  Repairs, acid etching or anything like that will definitely slow you down on the day you plan to apply the coating.  Get this stuff done ahead of time.

Weather Forecast – Is it not always like this?  You get up to start that outdoor project only to find it raining cats and dogs.  Check your local weather forecast and make sure you have suitable weather.

 

On Coating Day, Prior to Coating

Consumable Products – Have you purchased all of the consumable products that you need for the job?  Paint brushes, squeegees, rollers, mixing buckets, cleaning solvents, cleaning materials, paint trays, are all part of the consumable products that you’ll need and not want to have to chase after once you have started your application.

Tools and Equipment – Drill and mixing paddle for the coating, gloves, eye protection, old clothes, extension cords, thickness gauges, any spray equipment you might be using along with an air compressor and tarps, are all of the tools you would need to complete the job.

You can download a checklist I created, by clicking here.  It is in PDF format so you’ll need Adobe Acrobat to read it.  Just visit adobe.com to get Acrobat.

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Have You Ever Considered An Indoor Pond? 4 Things To Consider With An Indoor Pond

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When you think of a koi pond, you usually imagine something in someone’s backyard.  Maybe a waterfall with a small stream leading to a bigger pool where all of the fish are kept.  Lots of nice plants surrounding it, giving it a natural look that blends in with the outdoor décor.

Well what if you do not have room in a backyard for a pond?  Maybe the inside of your home can actually house something nice, but have you given any thought as to the needs of an indoor pond?  Here are 4 things to consider with an indoor pond.

The filtration system – Well if you’re going to have a pond, you’ll need to keep it clean right?  Keep in mind that just because the pond will fit indoors, you may have to squeeze your filtration in somewhere too.

Give the actual plumbing some thought too.  You will have pipes that will need to get to the filtration system as well as the rest of the equipment used to keep your pond clean.  You may have to get creative in how any of the plumbing is run.

Heating – This really depends upon where you might actually have the pond.  Some people put their indoor ponds in the basement where it can be quite a bit colder.  Because the pond is not out under direct sunlight, it will not be heated naturally.

If you have ever paid attention to an outdoor pond’s water temperature, you’d see that even though the ambient outside temperature fluctuates quite a bit, the water temperature will not change as much.

Water Changes – You will still need to perform water changes on your indoor pond just like one outdoors.  This means you will have to take into account any water that may be spilled during the process.

Like the rest of the pond’s plumbing, you should also consider special plumbing needs for this sort of maintenance too.  Back flushing a bead filter can be a messy process that you just take for granted when you’re outside.  Who cares if water and muck splash around a little?  But you sure do not want any of that on furniture or other indoor accoutrements.

Escaping Animals – You know, one thing I have learned about turtles is that you may give them the Taj Mahal as far as a living environment, but if they don’t like it, they’ll just simply leave.  Turtles can be funny like that.  They seek their own solitude.

Think of that in the house.  You might not want to spend your days looking for Scooter the turtle under all of the furniture.  Oh and what about those fun loving Koi?  Yes Siree!  Some of them like to breech.  When that happens, you may find one hopping around on the floor.
Those are just a few of the things one ought to keep in mind with and indoor pond.  That is certainly not the end all be all of lists, but some of the more important things to keep in mind.

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Enhancing Your Pond With Faux Stone

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Faux Stone - Click for a closer lookWhen I first heard of faux stone, I pictured those funny plastic rocks you get at a big box store to hide a set of keys under.  Those are great!  I mean what burglar would ever think to look under one of those babies and check for your extra house keys?  They look so real. Not!

Over the years faux stone has gained in popularity as well as realism.  I am surprised by the quality of product one can purchase today.  Take amusement parks for instance.  I know that last time I visited one of those places; I was amazed at how I actually felt like I was in another world.  Those guys are artists.

Now you have these artists opening their own businesses and creating all kinds of realistic stone features that you can stand right in front of and be in sheer awe of the size of the piece.  All the while not even knowing that it probably weighs one tenth of what the real item might weigh.

The other day I was speaking to a faux stone artist and he had me looking at pictures of his creations.  He was interested in sealing them up with Pond Shield Clear epoxy, which would suit him perfectly.  In any event, the structure he made for one of his clients was massive.  It was a complete waterfall that was incorporated right into the coping of the pond.

Faux Stone - Click for a closer lookIn our chat he wanted to know if it might be a good idea to seal the underside of the piece as well as where the water would be on top.  I remarked that I thought it was a little late for that and he told me it wasn’t a problem.  He could just lift the piece off of the pond if he had to.

Simply amazing!  And how convenient!  Consider this.  That particular pond was made with a rubber liner.  When ever the pond develops a leak, all the rock that is incorporated into the pond structure would have to be dismantled.  Think of all of the rock that would be destroyed in the process.

Now with this faux stone structure there instead, a couple of people could remove it easily and render repairs.  The whole process might only take a day instead of the better part of a week.  Not to mention your fish wouldn’t have to be out of the main pond for very long.

Faux Stone - Click for a closer lookClick on any of the images that are embedded in this article for a closer look.  This particular guy definitely has his act together and knows what he is doing.

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Applying A Pond Coating – How To Apply An Epoxy Sealer And Have a Leak Free Pond

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Rubber Window SqueegeeWith so much research being done at this time of year, I thought an article about the application of a coating might be an interesting topic.  If you’re a professional installer that has used epoxies before, then you probably already know a great deal about the application process.

However, if you are a DIY (do it yourselfer), you might not have ever tried applying epoxy before.  No problem, I will cover all of the bases here.  Let’s assume that the concrete is already prepared and ready to go.

What tools do you have?  Some epoxies are pretty thin in nature and all they take to apply is a roller and maybe a paint brush.  But others, that are designed to not only waterproof, but provide a certain amount of strength will generally be thicker in nature.  Pond Shield epoxy, for instance is thick like grease.

Because of this, you probably wear your arm out just rolling the epoxy.  That iss why I prefer to use a rubber window squeegee on the epoxy initially.  Using a squeegee will allow me to control the thickness of the material better than with a roller.  Generally a roller will allow the epoxy to build up.

You do not want the roller to build up or everything will become gooey and sticky.  But with a squeegee, you can adjust how much pressure you apply to the application and this in turn, will make measuring the thickness of the material a lot easier.

I have heard of people trying to apply the coating with a paint brush alone.  The problem with just using a brush is that the bristles offer no resistance to the coating itself and trying to control the thickness will be virtually impossible.

The only time I use a brush to apply epoxy is when I am touching up, cutting in a waterline or working the uneven surface of a waterfall.  I will even use one when I cut in around any plumbing.

The important thing to remember when applying an epoxy for the first time is to read all of the instructions first.  If at that time you do not understand anything about the process, you should ask and clarify.  It is hard to find yourself in the middle of a job and not understand why something is going wrong.

For one thing, if you are irritated, you probably will not be thinking clearly, so solutions will not present themselves as easily as they would any other time.  However, if you read everything and have all of your tools handy, the job can go smoothly and without a hitch.

Getting back to the actual application process, you should remember to only mix what you will actually be able to use within the pot life of the material.  Epoxies are not forgiving when it comes to time.  Epoxies will not care if you have your pond coated or not.

Epoxies will harden up in the container you mixed them in just as easily as they will on your pond.  You are on the clock once you have mixed the epoxy.  Now is not the time to take a lunch break.

I have been on many job sites where the installer watches me demonstrate the application process to them.  The one thing they are all amazed at is the coverage.  More times than any, when I pour the Pond Shield into the pond to work with, I hear them say, “There is no way that is going to go 60 square feet”.

Then I whip out the squeegee and spread the material out.  I squeegee up the walls and along the floor, moving from a corner outwards.  I use the roller to smooth out squeegee marks as I go and test the thickness of the epoxy with the gauge here and there.

If the coating appears too thick, I pull it tighter.  If it is too thin, I pull some back to that area.  What ends up happening is I spend about fifteen minutes pulling and rolling the epoxy and when I am done, the Pond Shield has been applied at 60 square feet.

Now I have also been on job sites where the surface area was so rough that there would be no way to get the coating to cover like that.  In those cases, a decision has to be made that concerns how to properly prepare the surface.  In some cases, the application process itself is changed and we either switch to the rough surface application method or spray the Pond Shield. using the rough surface application method involves thinning the epoxy more than you would if you were to apply it with a squeegee.

It also means applying the coating in two thinner coats to build up to the minimum thickness of 10 mils. Spraying on the other hand, make easy work of a rough surface because you can apply the coating in one single coat (most of the time) with minimal effort.

Once everything is applied you’re done right?  Wrong!  Do not be fooled here.  A good application always ends with a thorough inspection of the coating.  I mean what happens if there was a small void in the concrete somewhere?  Over night, this void could have sucked up some of the epoxy and left a gap.

A gap is a hole in the coating.  No matter how you slice it and hole in the coating is a potential leak.  It doesn’t matter if you have put three coats on Pond Shield or any other product on.  If you miss a spot, you will more than likely experience a leak. You must look at every single square foot of the surface area and correct any flaws found.

So it pays to inspect.  Now I have seen some funky situations before.  I have seen a wooden holding tank appear to be flawless, yet leak like a sieve when it’s filled.  This is an interesting conundrum.  If the coating looks flawless, why and how would it leak?

Does anyone know?  Let’s say the holding tank is 8 feet long by 4 feet high by 4 feet wide.  The water weight of that would be over 7000 pounds!  Let’s say that the corner seams were not properly fastened and structurally, they were weak.

It is very conceivable that when the tank is full, the weight of the water would push the walls outward causing small hairline gaps to form in the seams.  When this happens, the water would leak out until the weight resided and the seams closed again.

This can happen with concrete block walls in a pond too if they are not build properly.  This is why if you have a leak, you need to check the coating AND the structure.  Think about what is taking place when there is water in the pond.

If the water leaks down to a certain point, that is usually an indication of what level the leak is at.  That is where you should start looking and correct the problem.  I cannot stress more that if you have a leak, it will most likely be from something you missed.

A lot of people do not want to hear that.  Either they cannot see the problem or in some cases ego might play a roll.  Unfortunately, it’s difficult to think that the perfect looking job you just did could be caused by something as trivial as a small missed spot.

Hopefully though, you can now be better equipped to install that coating better and know what to look for before it causes you trouble.  I think that being prepared is always a great vantage point to start any project from.

 

Found Santa

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