Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paving stones (cont.)

A short while ago I showed you my first attempt at making a paving stone [link]. Here's my 11th.

Brick dust proved to suck as far as coloring the blocks. Instead you want some concrete dye. There is powdered dye and liquid dye. They come in red, terra cotta, buff, and black. If you want to get into other colors you need to use stain. The difference is that dye is added to the concrete mix while stain is added afterward.

Don't add the dye to the concrete. Add the dye to the water that you're using to make the concrete. It mixes more evenly this way.
You can see here that my coloring isn't even. I'm not too stressed about it since I don't want the blocks looking too uniform. If I were using this as flooring instead of blocks it would look kinda cool once polished and acid stained.

The color will fade as it dries more thoroughly.

You'll also notice that the concrete is pretty rough. I'm using some good strong Quikrete. It has stones already added. My initial batch was pretty smooth because I'd been using leftover concrete from repointing my library wall. That had no stones. It could also be why my first block broke. But I think it had more to do with improper drying.

When you smooth out the lumpy concrete you want to use your trowel (seen right by the bucket of dyed water) to jiggle the surface a bit. This will cause the rocks to settle and allow for a smoother surface. I think I used too much water in the last batch. It causes some strange color changes on the surface. It also makes it a bit shiny at first. That will come away as the blocks are walked on.

I did that last night. This morning I took the bricks away from the block.

Initially I'd been wrapping the bricks in plastic so they'd come away from the dried concrete easily. That left plastic looking marks on the sides of the blocks. You can see something similar on poured concrete walls. Where plywood was used in the mold the wall has a wood grain pattern.

Then I rubbed candles on the bricks and put them in the oven so the wax would melt in and penetrate thoroughly. Not bad, but still not a winner. What worked really brilliantly was PAM. Yeah, the non-stick cooking spray. Makes pans release muffins and concrete release bricks.

Tonight the block gets put outside to bake in the sun. After 2-3 days I'll move it out in the yard.

9 down, 7 to go.


Scott said...

So this is why paving stones are so expensive. ha...

Do you have an image of the stone pattern from Myst that you are trying to immitate? Could you share, or are you waiting until you have yours together?

Ibid said...

I've gone looking online and haven't found one.

Kate Dunkin said...

This was a great post about Paving Stones! I really didn't know this so this was very informative and interesting. Thank you for sharing this with us!

CARL MASON said...

Great article, It is always good to share ideas & techniques for paving and stone laying. As long as the quality of product is high, then the job will look good,,,

Janifer said...

Love the way of making coloured pavestone.

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MPG Stone said...
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Maria said...

Your first attempt at making a paving stone was great.This was a great post about Paving Stones!

paving-mould said...

I read your post and I really appreciate your experience. I will get good knowledge from there as well.

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