Most Frequently Asked Questions:
What kind of mix is the best to use?
There are many different brands of mixes all over the United States. Some are not available everywhere and each brand has different types of mixes, they all work in our molds. You can use regular concrete mixes with aggregates to cement mixes with no aggregates or even fast setting mixes. Some mixes mix thinner than others some mix up like a brownie batter consistency while others are more like a pancake batter. The main trick to the mixes that they all have in common is to mix them as their instructions state. As adding to much water to the mix can give you problems.
Do I need to add reinforcement to the piece?
You can add reinforcement to the pieces when pouring if you want like fiberglass strands, chicken wire, rebar, regular wire (coat hanger thickness). You do not have to add reinforcement to the pieces if you choose not to as most mixes will cure to 3000 psi or greater if mixed and poured properly. Depending upon your application and what you are looking to achieve it is up to you.
Do I need to support my molds with anything?
You can use support for the larger molds if you feel you need to but all the molds can be used like they are. For instance if you wanted additional support for a bench top or leg you could use a sand box or a simple two by four jig to set the mold into for additional support.
Retaining wall block molds?
It is recommended that you use a jig to set these in for additional support. A simple two by four frame built around these molds will help support the sides more and allow for easier removal from the molds.
Can I make my own mix?
Sure just check out our recipes page for several different kinds of mixes. Including a light weight concrete mix and Hypertufu recipe.
Can I use a Fast Setting Mix?
Yes, this is ideal to use if you want to remove your pieces from the molds more rapidly. It can be removed from the molds with in a couple of hours of pouring. If temperatures are cool you may want to let set for 3-4 hours before removing from molds.
How long do I let my pieces set in the mold?
If using a fast setting concrete a couple of hours is good. If temperatures are cool then 3-4 hours is best.
If using a regular setting mix, 24 hours is best if temperatures are cool below 50 degrees you should let set at least 48 hours.
Should I use a mold release?
You don’t have to use a mold release, however it will prolong the life of your molds. It also keeps your molds cleaner, which creates better-looking pieces. A mold release helps so that your concrete will not stick to the mold when setting up.
What kind of mold release should I use?
A concrete mold release agent or a cooking spray like Pam works well. The cooking spray keeps your molds cleaner. You do not need to use a lot, just lightly spray the mold.
Do NOT use a petroleum based spray like wd-40 this will eat into the plastic molds.
Why do I have air bubbles in my finished piece?
There are several things that can cause air bubbles in the finished piece. One is using to much mold release, you only need a light coating on the mold. Second is not bouncing the air bubbles out of the mold. You need to lightly bounce the mold to draw the air bubbles up from the bottom. Another thing is moving the mold after you have bounced it. Once you bounce the air bubbles out of the mold do not touch leave the mold and do not bother it until you are ready to de-mold.
If you have a small amount of air bubbles in your finished piece and would like to cover them up you can make a small batch of mortar mix and using your finger or a paint brush fill in the small air holes.
How do I clean the molds?
A garden hose should clean the molds for the most part. If you want you can use a mild soap and brush to clean any other areas that might require a little more care that is fine to.
How many pours can I get out of the molds?
If the molds are taken care of you should be able to get lots of pours out of a mold. Our molds are made of a special blend of polyethylene plastic that we have especially made for us; it is very durable and long lasting. The molds are 80 mil thick.
Can I use colorants or Paints?
Yes you can use both
Colorants – These work well if you want to add color to the entire piece. Colorants are great for patio and stepping-stones. You can view the colorants we carry under our paints and colorants category in the left column. They will need to be added to the concrete mix before you pour into the molds. You can obtain different shades of the colors by adding more of the colorant or less to your concrete mix.
Paints – We carry a large selection of outdoor paints, you can view them in our colorants and paints category located in the left hand column. Our paints are all UV protected so they should not fade when left outside. When painting a piece that is going to be outside always paint both the front and back of the piece this seals the piece so that moisture does not get into the concrete and allow the paint to flake off.
If you need larger quantities of paints you can purchase outdoor concrete paints from your local hardware store.
Can I use resin in the molds?
Yes you can, resin is a great product however it is more expensive to use than concrete. Resin can be used indoors or outdoors, it also works great in the tile molds. You can find a lot of different resins available by searching on the Internet.
Can I use plaster in the molds?
Yes you can, plaster is great to use in the molds for indoor use. There are a couple of different plasters that are made for outdoor use but for the most part they are designed to be used for items that will not kept outside. When using plaster no mold release is used, just rinse the molds out with water and wipe lightly with a paper towel to remove water droplets. There will still be light coating of water in the mold that is not visible to the eye; this is a release agent for plaster.
Can I use soap in the molds?
Yes you can use soap in the molds.
Why do some molds say concrete molds and some molds say soap molds?
The reason they say concrete, plaster or soap in the description or titles of the molds is to give you more of an idea of the size of the molds. You can use any of the products in any of the molds.
What happens if my piece has cracks when removed?
Several things can cause this.
1. The mold was left out in sunny area and the concrete cured to quickly. If possible keep in a shaded area or keep a garden hose near by and mist often so they do not dry out to fast.
2. The piece was removed to early out of the mold. Let it set in the mold longer
3. The concrete mix had too much water in it. Be sure to only add the recommended amount of water to the mix. If to much water is added to the mix it can weaken the finished pieces.
What is dry brushing?
Dry brushing is when you paint the entire piece a solid color base coat (say a dark color like black) and then go over the piece with a second top coat (say a lighter color like gray or brown or bronze). Only the top coat is applied by dipping your brush into the paint and brushing onto say old newspaper to remove most of the paint, then brush onto the piece going over the raised areas allowing the darker color to stay down in the cracks, this gives the piece a weathered or antiqued look. It really shows off the detail and makes the piece look finished.