Consistently cemented at the centre of architectural and engineering implementations, Sephaku Cement unveils some of the most innovative concrete creations you may never knew existed.
Selected as a building material of choice some 2000 years ago, cement based civil engineering continues to stand the test of time when it comes to strength and lasting durability. While cement checks all the obvious boxes when used to erect any steadfast construction, to follow, see some of the coolest concrete innovations we bet you’ve never heard of!
- Concrete that heals itself
Whether you are in the construction industry or have ever installed cement based DIY applications, no matter how much care and attention is paid to pouring concrete to perfection, concrete cracks. Attributed to the porous nature of concrete components and its capacity to absorb water in the capillary pores expanding and contracting under extreme temperature conditions, this process eventually causes fissures and cracks in solid installations. Although there are tactics to avoid these cracks as best as possible, a team of industry leading scientists in the Netherlands are perfecting a cement based product that could potentially heal itself once cracked. Bioconcrete is mixed following the same process as regular concrete however it contains a selected set of bacteria. When Bioconcrete cracks, the bacteria present in the concrete blend activate and respond by forming either limestone or calcite materials which ultimately fills and heals the cracks formed in cracked concrete.
- Concrete 3D Printer
Gaining momentum in a growing number of industries, 3D printing is currently one of the leading techniques to roll out with an impressive selection of innovations. Joining forces with 3D printing practices that typically employ the use of plastic, a technology-focused University called TU Eindhoven are using cement as a material put to task by 3D printers. Based in the Netherlands, a concrete 3D printer is shaping concrete into highly customisable designs, including pavilions and recyclable concrete products.
- Grey Goes Green
Reducing the typical carbon footprint of concrete by as much as 25%, cement producers have begun blending cement with fly ash; a waste product generated by power stations that burn coal inevitably ending up in landfills. By up-cycling this fly ash waste, cement producers have begun to take much needed steps to becoming marginally more eco-friendly while offering a cementitious product that is smoother, cost effective and more durable to work with and versatile across a broad range of construction projects.
- The Porous Pavement
While traditional concrete is known to be impervious, it sees surface water that gathers on concrete installations run off expansive flat concrete areas such as freeways and slabbed roofing. As a leading cause of urban flooding, erosion, pollution and other ecological challenges associated to poor water drainage, the construction industry and city planners have begun to troubleshoot solutions to these adverse ecological circumstances that result from the concrete condition. Outside of architects finding more focussed ways to direct the flow of water when rolling out urban developments, the implementation of the “porous pavement” may just be the next big concrete solution.
Pervious concrete is made up of larger concrete particles that create larger voids between concrete bonds, with more space for water to be absorbed, instead of sheeting off the surface of large concrete installation surfaces; water is more easily absorbed allowing for the gradual infiltration of water into the ground beneath.
Much in the same as your skin may peel when over exposed to harsh conditions; Sephaku Cement describes the causes of spalling concrete and how to apply concrete repairs to unsightly damage. Spalling concrete sees the surface layers of the cement applications peel, chip and sheet off often exposing aggregate, joints or reinforced steel beneath the surface layers. Peeling between 15cm to 25cm in depth, spalling concrete can occur as a result of various reasons causing a flaky surface area across a broad range of cement based applications including concrete slabs, flooring or paving.
What causes Concrete Spalling?
While the most common culprit is attributed to the exposure of harsh weather conditions, there are a few different factors that can cause concrete spalling.
- Concrete Spalling can take place as a result of the corosion of the reinforcing steel set beneath the surface. As the steel rusts (as a result of the presence of moisture and oxygen inside the concrete), due to the increased volume of matter, pressure building from the "inside" of the concrete installation causes spalling to take place on the surface.
- An expansive effect of Alkali Silica Reaction, where the alkali’s present in cement reacts with the strained quarts in aggregates.
- Through exposure to fire or water the moisture present in the particles of concrete converts into steam, placing internal pressure on the construction which results in the consequential spalling of the concrete surface.
- Much in the same way as the effect of freeze thaw can cause cracks and fissures in concrete, the process is also linked to a leading cause of concrete spalling. Prolonged exposure to extreme heat as well as excessive cold conditions both compromises the surface of concrete.
- Concrete Spalling can also take place when steel reinforcements installed in concrete applications are not covered by an adequate volume (depth) of concrete.
- Joint spalls can also be caused as a result of construction joints that have not been correctly installed. Even the slightest error in installation can impact the overall integrity of the concrete
While this flaking condition of concrete caused by spalling can be effectively repaired; reversing the appearance of pitted and peeling concrete, if left untreated the area of concrete spalling will continue to expand, compromising the durability of the installation and requiring even more repair work. The key when it comes to repairing concrete spalling is to act fast and not compromise on quality.
As soon as you note concrete spalling taking place on any concrete installation follow these simple concrete repair steps to prevent irreversible damage.
- Step 1:
Using a high pressure water washer, clean the spalled surface from dirt build up and debris that may later prevent a stable bond from forming on the area to be repaired.
- Step 2:
Chip away broken concrete pieces still attached to the surface using a hammer and chisel. This step will ensure that repair work is able to attach to the original concrete application that has not yet been compromised by spalling. You may need to implement shot blasting or a grinder to adequately prepare the area to be repaired. You could also tap the surface of the original installation listening for hollow sounds that would indicate imminent spalling keeping in mind that every area of deterioration needs to be exposed for effective and lasting repair work. If reinforcement is exposed brush steel until free of dust and rust coat with a rust preventive sealcoat.
- Step 3:
For spalling damage no more than 1/3 of the original concrete depth, now all that is required is to fill the spalled area with a repair material mixture making use of a good quality Portland cement such as Sephaku 42N. Once adequately cured, it’s recommended to seal the full surface area including the original application as well as your repair work with a quality concrete sealer, by doing so the lasting surface of the installation is maintained and future spalling avoided.
Sephaku Cement shows you how crafting with concrete to create your own miniature concrete water fountain is not as difficult a task as one would think. Concrete crafting can seem complicated, messy and requiring experience and expertise. On the contrary, there are many simple and easy to follow instructions when creating concrete art forms or ornamental water features that require little to no previous know-how.
In fact if you are able to follow simple cooking recipes or basic DIY assembly instructions we don’t see any reason not to try out this Sephaku Cement indoor or outdoor DIY water feature project.
Indoor water features are a popular aesthetic addition to indoor atriums or as an outdoor water feature on your patio. Whether used to fill dead space outdoors, on countertops or even in the bathroom, together with the soothing lap of running water, this DIY concrete water fountain is one of our most simple cement craft Ideas.
You will need:
- 1 Bag of Sephaku 32 or 42 N Cement
- Water to mix
- An Arts and Crafts paintbrush
- 15mm Polystyrene sheeting
- An upcycled or single use bowl or basin (to form the base)
- Fabric gauze or bandages
- A water spray bottle
- A mini submersible pond or fountain pump (300 L/hour should do)
- 20mm Or 25mm PVC conduit (Depending on the size of the pump’s outlet)
- 20mm Or 25mm waterhouse PVC tubing
Steps on How to make you DIY Cement Water Fountain
- Step One:
Measure and cut tiered layers out of the polystyrene sheeting. These tiers will create the concrete water feature’s stepped gradient along which the water will flow down and into the basin below. The 1st layer at the base should measure to fit the base of the basin and should preferably have a ledge or lip to sit on. You can create as many “steps” as you wish, keeping in mind the taller the number of steps the stronger the water flow pump will need to be to tackle the gradient. Using a glue gun secure each layer together to create a tiered gradient. Once secured together using the PVC conduit, pierce and press a cylinder-shaped tube through that apex of the tiers, running from the very top through to the base. This is essentially where the water feature will spout from the top tier and trickle down the steps.
- Step Two:
Prepare the base basin by fitting a “block” or ledge for the fountain steps to sit on. You can do this by securing a wooden block or single use container turned upside down to create a “stool”. Mix your measured cement and water ratios together creating a semi fluid mix that can be painted onto layers of gauze, coating the basing to create cement “plated” bowl. Think of this process similar to that of concrete papier-mâché where the cement fills the role of the flour and water and the fabric gauze, the newspaper. Layering coated cement gauze in and around the base basin, by lining the surface with cement, you are effectively retexturing the base of the bowl to create a more rustic and authentic “stone” bowl cast.
- Step Three:
Much the same as you have resurfaced the base basin as detailed in step two, now you will do the same for the tiered step that will create the gradient flow of your concrete water feature. Secured using layers of gauze, paint on the semi fluid cement mix smoothing out the surface of the polystyrene mould to create a natural looking “stone” formation. Remember to adequately coat the entire surface taking into account the underneath of the polystyrene staircase.
- Step Four:
Once the basin and the tiered steps are generously layered in cement and gauze, spray both parts with water using the spray bottle allowing to dry in-between each interval, by doing so, this encourages the cement to cure with added strength that will result in a durable DIY craft. Once having cured for at least 24 hours now you can piece together your concrete water fountain to complete your project.
- Step Five:
Run the Waterhouse PVC Tubing through the pierced cylinder you created in the tiered layers of your cement fountain in step two. Connect the tubing to the mini submersible pond or fountain pump and place the tiered fountain "staircase" together with the pump onto the ledge or stool of the base basin. Fill the basin with pebbles adding to the aesthetics and lastly fill with water. Turn the pump on and behold as water cascades down your DIY cement craft water feature.
From large scale construction to small and medium sized building projects, Sephaku Cement shares free, open source construction cost calculators and project planning tools to make the building process simple. Estimating construction costs, calculating materials and project planning is a critical task for any contractor. Whether you are a large scale civil engineer, a SMME contractor or even planning a DIY home improvement project on your own, accurate calculations, estimating timelines and approximate materials required are what ultimately defines construction success.
To help with this process, Sephaku Cement shares their useful cement calculator together with construction estimating and project planning tools available free to construction specialists and DIY enthusiasts.
Sephaku Cement Calculator
Calculating accurate cement requirements using a reliable cement calculator should never be an oversight for any contractor, DIY enthusiasts or home improvement specialist. Accounting for a number of cost considerations that go into a successful construction project, the Sephaku Cement Calculator helps to equate the real cost of construction when building with cement. Calculating accurate volumes of cement required for any construction project together with aggregate and supplementary materials required, using the Sephaku Cement Calculator will ensure that costs are kept within budget and the purchase of wasteful excess materials are avoided. Not only is it important to accurately account for the correct volumes of materials required, but it is equally critical to understand different cement products and their uses. The Sephaku Cement Calculator will help you to do both and is freely available online to anyone visiting the Sephaku website.
With a variety of contractor specific task management tools and technology now available to make construction project planning and building estimation easy, calculate your team’s performance and overall project success to secure future annuity and construction project continuity to take your SMME to the next level!
Whether fitting these at your local park, on busy street corners, at taxi ranks or even on the pavement outside your home, Sephaku Cement shares top tips on DIY precast concrete litter bins for a socially conscious installation. With a growing community commitment to litter pickups and community based clean ups, precast concrete bins are an effective way to traffic litter and prevent rubbish from being carelessly dropped on the ground.
What’s more, channelling rubbish collection into precast litter bins strategically placed at cross paths with pedestrian traffic and picnicking visitors, further enables the sorting of items that can be repurposed, upcycled and recycled. Instead of assembling community members on foot to collect littered rubbish, a weekly service of your concrete bin will suffice in helping to keep your community, local park and playgrounds clean and litter free.
To follow see the Sephaku Cement top tips to moulding your own concrete litter bins that can be placed to prevent careless littering and dumping in your area.
Weighty, robust and of little monetary value, precast as semi-permanent fittings, because of the weight that concrete bins carry, placing this type of litter collection in public areas will less likely see these moved, stolen or turned over.
- Tip 1: Made to Fit Dimensions
Casting your own DIY concrete dustbin can be done using almost any shape or mould, however, made to fit a standard plastic refuse bag (which makes litter collection and removal much easier and more sanitary to do), the following dimensions of your homemade litter bins should be adhered to if you plan on placing a refuse bag inside.
- Large Square Concrete Bin - 550mm x 550mm x 1000mm high and with a capacity of roughly 165 litres.
- Outdoor Advertising Concrete bins that can be used for marketing and advertising - 700mm x 700mm x 1150mm high, with a capacity of around 320 litres (due to its height).
- Standard Round Refuse Bin - 625mm diameter x 880mm high with less capacity of all other options measuring at 150 litres.
- Tip 2: Finish and Appearance
Concrete litter bins cast by professional service providers are made with different finishes that serve different purposes. Many concrete bins are cast with an exposed aggregate concrete finish which results in a rough and course exterior. This may be a better option for you if you are planning on placing these litter bins outside your home, in park or on play grounds as they are difficult to vandalise or stick unsightly posters and marketing material to. With that said however, if forming part of a community clean-up project, you could also cast your concrete bin with a smooth finish with every intent of offering marketing objectives. In doing so, by facilitating outdoor marketing, community members could use these concrete canvases to communicate awareness messages, local projects or promote events, meetings and other activities taking place in the area.
- Tip 3: Reinforce
When moulding your concrete community bin, reinforce your cast with a steel frame or wire mesh helping to maintain the integrity of the structure and accommodating for shrinkage and freeze thaw cracks. It’s also recommended to cast your litter bin with a small hole in the bottom of the bin to allow for liquid seepage and water waste to drain from the base.
Simple to cast and made to last, creating do-it-yourself concrete bins is an affordable means to keeping your community clean and clear from unwanted mess, pedestrian debris and harmful litter.
Course, textured and offering a one of a kind expression, Sephaku Cement explains more about an exposed aggregate finish and how this can be achieved.
Although it may take an experienced contractor to pull off the desired look, an exposed aggregate finish is responsible for creating some of the most unique and one of a kind appeals in concrete construction. Making use of carefully selected aggregate, an exposed aggregate finish adds depth, texture and a unique feel to an otherwise smooth and flat concrete finish. Over and above the appearance that exposed aggregate accomplishes, when used in sidewalk paving, garden pathways or even poolside decking, exposed aggregate concrete is extremely effective in achieving a non-slip solution to outdoor areas that can become slippery when wet.
While a standard concrete mix can be used, for best results special aggregates are incorporated to influence the texture and colour of the exposed aggregate finish. Achieving an exposed aggregate appearance takes experience, specialised skill and patience. Although a seemingly rudimentary process, it is in fact an intricate installation that requires care and attention during each phase.
Where the biggest challenge is accomplishing the correct depth when installing exposed aggregate paving, because the process is somewhat of a manual application, expert attention needs to be paid in order to achieve a uniform and even appearance.
With two methods used to achieve exposed aggregate, one way is to pour wet concrete mixed with course aggregate stones and then to wash the surface of the concrete installation before the concrete reached final set in other words strong enough to withstand the washing operation but not set too hard to not be able to wash out some small amount of paste from the surface of the concrete. Using either water or spraying the wet concrete with a retarding agent, in doing so will reveal the exposed aggregate stone a day after the concrete has been allowed to cure.
The second method used is achieved by surfacing placed concrete by applying course aggregate stone to pre-poured wet concrete mix. This method sees contractors adding carefully the pre-washed aggregate to already poured and still wet concrete in converse to exposing incorporated aggregate by means of “washing the surface”, as described above.
Carefully agitating and smoothing out the surface of the applied aggregate, by pressing the stone into the surface of the wet concrete your contractors will take extra care not to trowel the stones too deep into the concrete leaving just the right ratio of stone aggregate exposed. This method is extremely effective in controlling the depth of the installation while also allowing for and maintaining a secure bond between the aggregate and the concrete as the concrete cures.
Another important consideration to factor in, although not unique to the installation of exposed aggregate cement fitting, is the effect of freeze thaw and shrinkage of concrete. As you may well already know freeze thaw and shrinkage is the leading contributor to blemished and cracked concrete fittings, regardless of whether you are installing an exposed concrete or smoothed out finish. As is the case with all cement based applications, careful attention needs to be paid in taking into account the expansion and contraction of concrete and installing supportive measures (mesh and or joints) that will allow for this inevitable occurrence.
While many of us venture no further than the couch in colder seasons, winter presents some of the most optimal conditions to get your garden summer ready with the help of Sephaku Cement’s concrete garden bench ideas. With outdoor entertaining kept to a minimum you can be sure that no one will notice the flux or be bothered by your concrete constructions or renovations. Winter in fact offers prime time to landscape and is a contractors more busy season to assist with remodelling, distinguishing and designing your dream garden furniture and features and outdoor entrainment areas.
In this instalment we share more on quaint concrete garden benches, contemporary outdoor areas and zen garden retreats.
Ideally purposed to outdoor applications, Sephaku 32 and 42 offer strength versatility and affordability when landscaping outdoor concrete pause areas. From standalone benches to picnic table and chairs, both of these Sephaku products offer superior quality, expert handling and lasting durability. Whether you are planning your outdoor area project as a DIY installation or outsourcing to your preferred contractor, be sure to use only Sephaku Cement sealed with the Sephaku stamp of quality assurance and guaranteed performance.
- Contemporary Concrete Bench
Blending well with modern and minimalist themes as well as Japanese zen, contemporary chic or industrial themed décor, the contemporary concrete bench is an angular standalone garden feature so simple by design it exudes elegance and sophistication. The simplest design to cast and mould, with straight lines and angular legs, a square or more commonly cast rectangular shape offers great versatility should you later wish to adjust your theme of your landscaping.
- English Garden Round Table
Soft, classic, and antiquated, a garden (gnome) round table and concrete bench set creates an idyllic escape set amidst an old English rose garden or fairy flower bed. The perfect fitting for a country courtyard look often etched in decal and accompanied by a curved base, a concrete round table is somewhat trickier to mould when doing so as a DIY installation however, provided you can create your desired casting shape, the perfect results are still completely achievable.
- Delightful Concrete Domes
Simple sturdy and double backing as a perch to sit or décor to delight in, clustering concrete domes at random or arranged around a table offers a unique spin on outdoor seating options. Much like little Miss Muffat and her rounded tuffet, ball benches are seeing a new wave of garden seating wash over outdoor landscaping designs.
- Square Stacks
Minimalist, contemporary and extremely elegant, imagine square concrete slabs of varying sizes and perhaps pigmented in different shades of grey, slate and kohl, stacked in an opposed arrangement to form an asymmetrical block bench. Simple, chic and certainly a topic of much discussion, what a gorgeous way to add a modern design to your high fashion outdoor décor.
- A Blend of Both
In a juxtaposition of both angular and rounded forms, blending round with square creates a contemporary balance of the best of both. Perched on a base of two rounded balls, a stack-like slab makes for a modern concrete bench-come-art-form that not only fulfils its function but will intrigue seated guests with its outlandish design.
Whether you hope to create a tranquil simplistic pause area to reflect and mediate at, or rather looking to accomplish a picturesque English tea garden to picnic at, pull off your perfect outdoor pause area and bench set with your favourite Sephaku Cement mix.
Delving even deeper into the infinite world of DIY concrete creations, Sephaku Cement explores contemporary cement based crafts with an exceptional line up of new design ideas that will blow you away! By now we know to blend the ideal concrete craft mix we make use of Sephaku 32 or 42 along with good quality fine sand aggregate, desired pigment powder for effect and mix with the precise water to cement ratios. Always adding wet to dry, blend your cement and aggregate, mix well and when producing craft concrete / mortar on a small scale, agitate air bubbles and pockets out of the wet concrete/mortar by gently tapping the side or rim of the receptacle. Take care not to bang it out too much otherwise you may cause liquefication or force the heavier aggregate particles to sink to the base of the mix resulting in a weak and crumbly cured item/mould.
- Crumpled Concrete Cups
Using a large disposable plastic cup crumple up the base, kinking and denting the outside circumference. Using Vaseline or a spray on lubricant like spray and cook, line the inside of the crumpled cup which will later help to remove the mould from the cast. Pour pre-mixed wet concrete/mortar mix as detailed above into the crushed cup. Using a slightly smaller disposable cup, (being sure to lubricate the outside of this cup also to assist with removal later) gently press the smaller cup into the centre of the crumped outer mould. Wipe away dispersed concrete/mortar mix that may ooze out of the top of the mould and secure both cups in place using masking tape. Once adequately cured, gently remove the inner cup and then the outer crumped cup. Smooth edges and the lip of your cast with fine granular sandpaper and behold a contemporary concrete crumpled cup creation!
- Handheld Jewellery Organizer or Ornament
Begin by creating a mould of your hand in any form or pose you choose. Keep in mind if you are using this stand as a jewellery holder a better option would be to keep your hand open or cupped. Alternatively for a contemporary ornamental cast you can opt for a bolder, strong or statement poses. Blend together 6 Cups of rubber moulding mix with equal parts of water making sure there are no lumps or clumps in the mix. Cast your desired hand pose in the rubber mould mix and allow setting for five minutes. Carefully remove your hand to reveal a perfect casing mould. Blend together your concrete craft mix and pour this into the casting mould being sure to fill each chamber of the mould. After allowing curing for up to 24 hours, remove the concrete cast encased in the rubber mould and carefully cut and peel away the rubber. Smooth rough edges and snags with fine grained sandpaper and give yourself a hand for creating a gorgeous handheld jewellery organiser!
- Slender Stem Concrete Vase
Using a smooth edged container (think tall and thin), fill with concrete craft mix about ¾ ways to the top. Roll a standard pillar size candle in plastic wrap and lubricate using Vaseline of aerosol spray-on oil. Slide the lined candle into the mouth of the bottle being careful not to press it too deep into the base of the mould. Allow curing for 24 hours and once satisfactorily set remove the wrapped candle. Using a cutting blade cut away the moulding bottle to reveal a tall and slender hollowed out cast. Smooth out the mouth and any rough snags with fine grained sandpaper and dip the base in pretty pastel paint or gold leaf decals to reveal a stunning slender stem concrete vase perfect for 1 stem flower clippings.
No longer limited to cold, drab and “for function” only applications, Sephaku Cement inspires bespoke concrete furniture ideas using cement, water some aggregates and a little bit of creativity! Gone are the days that concrete was a material only considered functional for construction. With some of the industry’s most celebrated Interior décor specialists, together with award winning designers and architects, cement/concrete installations are being incorporated into design schemes and décor dream boards of the world’s most affluent homes.
From mid-century modern, to urban industrial, a perfect blend of Scandinavian fittings and décor to match, or even naturalistic, Japanese zen, farmhouse or Bohemian, cement/concrete has played its role in the décor and design of some of the most avant-garde feature furniture made.
Whether you are looking at renewing existing pieces of furniture in your home, or trying your hand at DIY concrete creations made from scratch, see some of Sephaku Cement’s favourite concrete furniture design ideas to follow.
Polished Concrete Coffee Tables
Made to resemble a marbled finish, polished concrete is the perfect material for small scale table tops, night stands and if you're really committed to the art of craft, even concrete TV cabinets and stands. When prepared with precision, care and patience, concrete can be used in some of the most gorgeous movable table tops, reinforced with load bearing capabilities and created at home at a fraction of the cost of concrete furniture purchased in store.
Concrete Bar Tables and Trolleys
Secured on steel slits or on roll-able wheels, bar stands and trollies add a “Great Gatsby” feel to interior decor inspired furniture. Made to stand crystal decanters, craft gins, collectable whiskies and wines, needing only to craft the top piece from concrete, using a curved or sharp edged mould, create a concrete surface to top-off an ordinary steel or roll-able trolley in a few simple steps.
Concrete Garden Bench
Sold in store with a hefty price tag, as well as expensive and strenuous to transport given its weight, crafting a modern DIY industrial styled or Japanese zen concrete garden bench will save on both cost and chiropractic expenses. Where constructing a casting mould is about as strenuous as this DIY concrete furniture project will get, simply design your garden bench casting mould from a melamine wooden frame to create a smooth and polished concrete look to finish your landscaped grounds.
Floating Shelves made from Concrete
Marbled, elegant and adding a seamless finish to concrete plastered walls, making floating shelves from concrete means you can mould these to the exact size, shape and dimension you desire. Creating a stepped ascent or symmetrical placement or mixing things up in a completely irregular layout, floating shelves are an effective storage and display space option in smaller rooms of the house.
Common across the full product range, Sephaku Cement guarantees only the purest grade original Portland cement, and where applicable, blended with the finest quality extenders designated to enhance performance and curing characteristics of all of our products across various applications. Whether creating conrete furniture to add to your interior décor or to complete your outdoor entertainment design projects, Sephaku Cement offers a range of products suited to your everyday DIY needs.
The second insert to our two part journey in uncovering a world of contemporary and classic concrete furniture, Sephaku Cement continues to reveal endless opportunities for DIY concrete furnishing and home fittings.
Having previously mused over polished concrete coffee tables, DIY bar tables and trolleys, contemporary garden benches and floating shelves, part two of Sephaku Cement’s “DIY: Concrete Furniture Ideas” sees even more inspiration motivation for home décor and furniture ideas.
Etched or Polished Concrete Patio Tables
Using similarly shaped or identical moulds completely change the look of outdoor patio tables by etching embellishments into semi cured concrete or polishing cured concrete furniture. As a starting point, when etching decals into semi cured concrete tables, using a few simple sculpture etching tools, follow your desired pattern template guiding your hand strokes and layout to ensure the end result resembles the look you were hoping to achieve. For polished patio tables, using fine grit polishing disks, buff the cured concrete (a process referred to as "Lapping") until the desired sheen is achieved.
Concrete-Wood Fused Side Tables
Casting the surface or “Table top” of your concrete side table is a synch. Using any size and shape concrete casting mould, simply mix and pour standard craft concrete mix, adding in a pigment for a more unique look. While the table top cures, source sturdy twigs and branches preferably selected from the same off-cuts. Peel away bark, sand to smooth out their surface and if desired varnish for a polished sheen. Just before the concrete table top cures to completion, press the twigs and sticks into the concrete in a closely, asymmetrical layout to almost form a “forest” of branches which will act as the “legs” of the table. Be sure these are cut to the same length to create a stable table stand.
Concrete Block Bench
So simple to pull off it should be a concrete crafters crime! Using a rectangular casting mould preferably with a slighting smaller inner (a solid block will be extremely heavy to move into place), cast a concrete block bench and allow to cure for 3 to 4 days. Once moved into its desired position, finish the block off by fitting wooden slats to create a decked seat on top of the concrete block. If you’re feeling especially crafty you could even assemble a matching back rest using the same wooden slats used to form the seat.
Simple Concrete Fire Pit
Another concrete no-brainer, provided you have a suitable mould to cast the desired design, a DIY concrete fire pit adds an elegant ambience to any outdoor entertainment area. Whether using a bowl like mould, a large cube or hollowed out rectangular shape, a concrete fire pit offers a low maintenance, effective means to keeping warm or adding a bit of “fire” to night-time entertainment.
Offering endless opportunities to add contemporary or classic concrete furnishing to your home, Sephaku Cement has been scientifically formulated to deliver controlled performance and consistent quality. Suited to specific applications and sealed with the Sephaku stamp of quality assurance, find the perfect Sephaku Cement product for your concrete furniture creations!
Taking your DIY concrete creations to the next level, Sephaku Cement talks you through the steps to curing your own concrete table or countertop. Trendy, affordable and not too taxing to craft from scratch, making your own concrete counter or concrete table is one of the simplest ways to spruce up your kitchen area, dining room or even entrance hall with an elegant receiving table.
Crafted into any shape or size you desire, to follow see Sephaku Cement’s simple steps mapping out the process to creating gorgeous concrete tables and countertops.
To begin with you will need:
- 1 to 2 bags or Sephaku 32 or Sephaku 42 depending on the size and depth or your countertop mould
- Double the volume of aggregate sand where the measurement equals to 1 part cement to 2 parts aggregate
- Wire Mesh (Typically available in 1.2m x 2.4m sheets)
- Melamine Wood - Cut to the shape, size and depth of the desired table top
- Painters tape
- 100% Silicon Caulk
- Water to mix
Step 1: Prepare Your Casting Mould
Start by assembling your concrete countertop casting mould by securing the selected pieces of wood together. Using the measured melamine wood and drywall screws, secure the base (which will actually create the surface of the countertop once moulded) to the side pieces of wood. Keep in mind that it will be the inside measurements of the melamine wood mould that will form the final table top results. It’s also important to take care to use the correct length of drywall screws. You want to avoid the points of the screws piercing through the wood frame as this will create a blemish in the cast concrete mould.
Step 2: Complete the Mould
Once assembled, the smooth surfaces of the inner melamine frame will be the mould that the outer cast of your table top will form. Prevent poured concrete from oozing or bleeding between the joins of melamine wood by sealing the corners with 100% silicon caulk. For an even more perfected edge, before "gunning" the silicon caulk into the grooves of wood, place painters tape for a guided and more accurate application.
Step 3: Measure and Cut Metal Reinforcements
Once the silicon caulk has cured, carefully remove your painters tape and proceed with preparing the wire mesh reinforcement. Using a bolt cutter, measure and cut the metal wiring to loosely fit into the melamine casting mould leaving about an inch to measure around the border. Once measured and cut to fit, clean the inside of your casting mould, preferably using rubbing alcohol and paper towels to ensure that no dust, sawdust, metal filings or unwanted particles line the inside of the mould. Lightly oil the contact surface(where concrete will make contact with mould)
Step 4: Mix and Pour your Concrete
Using a face mask, protective gloves and clothing, measure and mix the accurate ratios of cement to aggregate to water. It’s not recommended to mix your countertop concrete blend inside the wood mould, but rather in a wheel barrow or trough so as not to agitate any scratches, dents or unsightly marks in the mould (which will ultimately form part of the surface of your table top once complete).
As detailed in pervious posts it’s important to begin by mixing your dry ingredients together including any pigment powder or coloured sand. Slowly add the water, taking care to mix well in between additions, following this step slowly will ensure that the accurate consistency is achieved, taking care not to add too much water too quickly which will result in a sloppy or soggy mix. Once mixed well, pour half of your concrete mix into the melamine casting mould and firmly tap the wooden frame with a rubber mallet all around the circumference of the boarder. Now place your wire mesh into the centre of the mould and pour the remaining concrete mix on top. Tap the frame once again using a rubber mallet which will remove any air pockets and unwanted air bubbles and finishing the step by smoothing the concrete surface with a trowel.
Step 5: The Big Reveal
Once again, depending on the size and depth of the casting mould, allow your table top to cure between 3 and 4 days (or longer if you can). Once adequately cured, remove the secured screws that have kept your casting mould in place. Bang the frame using the same rubber mallet as above and the frame should fall away without too much effort. Using a sanding block smooth over any rough edges and borders and turn over your table to reveal a perfectly smoothed concrete countertop.
Poised to mix, pour and mould your favourite concrete craft into shape, Sephaku Cement shares top tips on how to pull off concrete crafting without a hitch. It’s no surprise that our last few Sephaku Cement blog inserts have got your concrete creative juices flowing.
Feeling inspired to forge ahead, to follow see some of our tried and tested top concrete tips to make sure that all your concrete crafting and concrete creations are cured to perfection!
Tip 1: Safety First
Although a seemingly user friendly crafting material to use, it’s important to keep in mind the chemical reaction that cement undergoes during hydration. As a result of this reaction, when coming into contact with water, hydrating cement gives off heat which is referred to as “Heat of Hydration” (cement is exothermic “giving off heat when in contact with water”).The larger the volume of cement, the greater the heat. As a result, no matter how small scale or elaborate, when working with cement/concrete always make use of protective clothing, gloves and goggles to protect your skin and eyes.
On the same note of safety, given the powdery consistency of dry cement, it is also advisable to cover your mouth with a surgical mask or at best a handkerchief to ensure that no particles are inhaled while the product is being agitated.(Cement is also alkaline and contact with skin and eyes must be prevented at all costs)
Tip 2: Selecting the Appropriate Product
Varying cement based products are blended with different types and different volumes of extenders. Designed to enhance strength and performance as well as influence curing characteristics of poured cement, it’s important to select the appropriate cement product for its desired purpose, from the Sephaku Cement range, Sephaku 32 and Sephaku 42N are most ideally suited to home crafting and DIY cement based projects. Where both of these are general purpose, cost effective, normal strength cement products, Sephaku 42 and Sephaku 52 are more specialised products better suited to high-strength, extreme load bearing civil engineering and construction.
Tip 3: Blend Dry Ingredients First
As most bakers will know, before adding wet ingredients to dry, it’s always best to briefly blend dry ingredients together before adding the wet solution. Once your cement and aggregates have been measured, combine all of concrete crafting dry ingredients together including pigments, sand and other aggregates added in the mix.
Tip 4: Water Ratios and Consistency
There aren’t enough opportunities to stress the importance of achieving the ideal consistency of mixed cement. An intricate blend of science and art, the best advice is to use exact water to cement ratios as detailed on the specific product packaging. While your measurements are critical, another useful tip during the mixing process is to add water slowly, mixing well in-between additions. This allows greater control to continuously assess the consistency of the cement, being careful not to add more water than what is needed.
Tip 5: Let your Imagination Run Wild
Versatile, easy to work with and quick to cure, let your creativity run free when crafting with cement. Only limited by the ideas you have and the moulds used to create various shapes and figures, for more elaborate concrete craft ideas, think leaf stamped coasters, concrete garden orbs, hollow concrete geodes and even smiling stones.
Casting concrete from moulds is one of the most simple and satisfying home crafting options for DIY enthusiasts. Simple to measure and mix, mould and cure without too much fuss, there is no reason not to create your own cement based crafts using Sephaku Cement.
Where baking and cupcake making has become a favoured South Africa pastime, Sephaku Cement shows you how to make a homemade concrete cake stand and other concrete ideas to compliment your culinary crumbs, buns and cake creations! Paired with an interchangeable decorative base, this concrete cake stand completes every baked cake creation or cookie station at high teas across the country.
Serving cake on a stylish stand or replicating a sought after concrete centrepiece, when putting Sephaku 32 or Sephaku 42 to task to create concrete cakes stand, concrete centrepieces or a themed tablescape, see these simple steps to follow.
For the base of the stand you will need:
- Decorative “base” bowls (to stand upside down) that your concrete cake stand will be secured to - this is where the interchangeable element comes in to your concrete creation.
- A masonry drill
- 6 to 8 mm bolt (length will vary as described in text below)
- 2 x 6 or 8 mm hex nuts
- Black Marker
For the concrete platter you will need:
- Disposable plastic, aluminium loaf pans and pie tins or reusable silicone moulds of any shape, size and design, keeping in mind standard cake and loaf cake sizes. Where smaller moulds hide blemishes and imperfections, larger moulds will be better equipped to fit various cake sizes ranging from 24, 26, 28, 32 and 36 centimetres.
- Mark and drill a hole in the centre of the base of the decorative bowls being sure to use the same diameter drill bit as the bolts and nuts (6 or 8 mm). If drilling into ceramic bowls, a tip to prevent the base from chipping and cracking is to mark the centre with a cross made out of masking or painters tape.
- Next, drill the same diameter hole into the centre of your Concrete Cake Stand mould so that when the base and the mould come together the two are aligned, allowing the mould and the stand to be bolted together – which will be your next step.
- Take into account that the 6 or 8 mm hex bolt and nuts selected will need to stick about 3/4 into your cement mould and around 2 centimetres into the stand’s base so that while the bolt remains secured onto the concrete stand it can be removed and interchanged to a new base.
With the construct of your cake stand and mould prepared you can now proceed to mix your desired concrete/ mortar mix, pigmented or with coloured aggregate sand and the correct water/binder ratio.
Sephaku 32 or 42 N offer the ideal consistency when blending your craft cement mix. Both suited to general purpose use, Sephaku 32 offers a versatile, consistent and cost effective option while 42N is more serious strength cement suited to various home improvement and general purpose projects.
Following the below recipe mix and mould your Sephaku Cement concrete cake stand.
Depending on the desired colour intensity when blending your cement craft mix you can either use;
- Half a part of coloured aggregate or 5% pigment of your choice if normal aggregates are used to 1 part Cement (strongest mix)
- Equal parts of coloured aggregate or 5% pigment of your choice if normal aggregates are used to Cement (even stronger than the next mix)
- Two parts of coloured aggregate or 5% pigment of your choice if normal aggregates are used to 1 part Cement ( stronger mix)
- Three parts of coloured aggregate or 5% pigment of your choice if normal aggregates are used to 1 part Cement (strong mix)
Protected by a dust mask and gloves, blend the above dry ingredients, namely the coloured aggregate sand and Sephaku Cement together. Slowly add water, this being approximately 1 Tablespoon (15ml) of water for every approximately (60ml) sand and cement (combined volume) to the dry ingredients.
Blend in the water slowly taking care not to add too much too quickly with the end result resembling a slightly dry but wet almost pourable consistency. Once mixed, pour the semi-fluid concrete/mortar mix into the concrete mould that has been sprayed with aerosol oil similar to “spray and cook”. Remember that the mould will be anchored to the interchangeable base and the curing cement will secure to the top of the 6 or 8 mm hex bolt and nut in place.
After allowing the casted mould to cure for at least 24 hours, unscrew the nut on the inside of the interchangeable base. The casting mould should be easy to remove from the cured cement revealing the surface and secured 6 or 8 mm hex bolt in place. If finish is slightly uneven, now is the time to put sand paper to the uneven spots to smoothen the surface. Replace the base and nut back in place on the underside of the interchangeable base to complete this cake stand casting mould project.
Sephaku Cement shares insights into the various types of Concrete Staircases, how these are installed and where each are best employed. As we approach the first change of the season for the year, these indoor days present the ideal opportunity to spend winter months landscaping and renovating outdoor entertainment areas and gardens. Offering a cost effective and durable installation to outdoor areas and gardens, from pathways to concrete stairs, edging and outdoor flooring, cement based outdoor projects offer some of the most simple ways to beautify the exterior of your home.
Offering years of service, concrete in the garden and outdoor entertainment area, concrete steps can be strategically placed to achieve garden landscaping goals or to offer a more functional passage from interior to exterior areas of your home. Styled, stained and finished in a variety of designs, colours and textures, concrete garden stairways installed for function or for aesthetics can take on any natural or contemporary design desired.
Constructed using one of a few methods, concrete stairs are typically built on a wooden frame in the shape of the desired step ascent or decline. Using the wooden framework to mould the desired stairway, concrete is poured into the stairway mould and allowed to set and cure. Once fully cured, the concrete staircase can be placed into landscaped gardens, filled in with foundations and packed with soil.
An alternative method to installing concrete steps and stair cases is by sculpting gardens to fit concrete treads. Also known as flat steps, concrete treads are placed on landscaped ground where garden soil is shaped to fit the “steps” of concrete slabs. A more rudimentary and intermitted stairway option, this concrete staircase essentially resembles stepping stones that are placed at an incline (or decline) and not as a uniform, continuous flight of concrete steps.
A third alternative to installing concrete stairways, typically fitted more for function than for aesthetics, is the installation of a prefabricated staircase complete with a made to fit handrail. These stairway units are usually mass manufactured and assembled off site but can be made to measure depending on the service provider employed. These staircases can also be cast as a flat "runway" styled incline more ideally suited to wheelchairs and prams.(Where some sort of anti-slip material or pattern should be employed)
Both wood moulded, poured concrete steps as well as concrete slab steps can be further decaled and beautified with a variety of designs, stencils and stains to suit a specific theme or colour palette. Stamped and stained to resemble cobbles, stones, bricks and even wood. Further scored and sponged with pigment and stains to resemble a more authentic appearance, specialists have also been known to add rock salt to poured concrete to create a pitted and more natural texture that also acts as a non-slip solution for outdoor (and sometimes wet) surfaces.
Whether installing a DIY staircase moulded by a wooden frame or making use of concrete flat steps, make sure to use a higher strength concrete in the garden. Both hard wearing and load bearing outdoor concrete staircases will not only be exposed to harsh outdoor conditions, they will also see years’ worth of foot traffic and load bearing duties. Sephaku 42N is a general purpose blended cement, extremely versatile and suited to a wide range of concrete, mortar and screed applications. As a more serious strength cements its ideal to more specialised structural concrete applications, Sephaku 42 is the perfect Portland Blended Cement solution for your outdoor staircase project.
With a simple mix of coloured sand, cement and water, Sephaku Cement shows you how easy it is to make contemporary concrete bowls to beautify your home. Concrete creations, whether being used in construction, garden landscaping or home décor and other concrete ideas, is prepared using Portland cement, sand or gravel aggregates and conservatively mixed with water. The recipe stays largely unchanged regardless of its use but where most variations come in is with the type of aggregates that are incorporated into the mix. As already explored in previous Sephaku Cement article inserts, for the purpose of decor, the best mix to make use of when making concrete crafts is with a selection of the finest granular aggregate available. The finer the sand used, the smoother the mix that ultimately results in an even textured finish to your craft, and as if the aggregate was the secret ingredient to creating the perfect concrete craft, add a splash of colour to the aggregate sand to breathe unique life into your design.
Versatile, consistent and cost effective, Sephaku 32 is a general purpose, normal strength blended cement perfect for home and DIY projects that offers lasting durability. Best put to task by Wheel Barrow Builders and Home DIY Enthusiasts, to follow Sephaku Cement lays out, in easy to follow steps, the process to making your own coloured contemporary crafts using Sephaku 32.
What you will need:
- Disposable and preferably plastic bowls resembling the ideal shape to mould your coloured craft in
- A measuring cup and 1 tablespoon for measuring.
- Dust mask and protective gloves
- A disposable mixing bowl
- 1 Bag of Sephaku 32 or Sephaku 42N
- Coloured craft sand
- “Spray and Cook” / aerosol oil
- Water to mix
An important safety tip to adhere to when mixing cement is to always use a dust mask and protective gloves (and clothing). Not only is it harmful to inhale the powdery cement particles, keep in mind that cement is alkali and reactive and gives off heat during hydration which can burn your skin.
Depending on the desired colour intensity when blending your cement craft mix you can use either use;
- Half a part of coloured aggregate to 1 part of Cement
- Equal parts of coloured aggregate to part Cement
- Two parts of coloured aggregate to 1 part Cement
- Three parts of coloured aggregate to 1 part Cement
Blend one of the above options with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) of water for approximately every 60ml sand and cement (combined volume).
Mixing Made Easy
Protected by your dust mask, blend the dry ingredients, namely the coloured aggregate sand and Portland cement measurements together. Slowly add accurate water amount, blending the mix slowly, taking your time during this process prevents the mix from resulting in a too wet and runny consistency. For the ideal texture, your coloured concrete/mortar mix should resemble a slightly dry but soggy ball similar to that of thick porridge.
Ready, Mould, Set
Spray the inside of one and the outside of the other of your disposable cement moulds using “Spray and Cook” or any spray on oil product. This will assist in the separation of the disposable bowls once the concrete has cured. Once prepared, fill the concrete mould (sprayed on the inside with the aerosol oil) with your "stiff peak" cement mix. Now press the second bowl (oiled on the outside) into the centre of the cement and secure in place with a weight being careful not to press this too far down. Allow to cure for 24 hours following which carefully separate the inside mould and then the outer concrete mould to reveal your coloured concrete creation! Complete your craft’s finish with sand paper on rough edges and by sealing the concrete which will improve its overall appearance and prevent efflorescence, a powdery masonry salt seepage should your creation come into contact with moisture.
Although made using the same ingredients, Sephaku Cement explains the different recipes followed to create poured concrete walls and walls made with concrete blocks. Differences between poured concrete walls and walls erected using concrete blocks begin with the very basic construct of the two variants.
Pros and Cons of Poured Concrete Walls
Where poured concrete walls are constructed using semi-fluid concrete poured into pre-built forms, these poured concrete creations harden to form one solid and uniform partition. When installing a poured concrete wall, as a starting point, building a concrete wall from scratch using a semi-fluid concrete mix requires a framework to mould the shape of the wall before the project has even begun. This means that before the Portland cement and aggregate can even be mixed, a fairly labour intensive process to create a mould to cast the wall must be built before mixing and pouring the concrete. Over and above the work needed in preparation of casting a poured concrete wall, the placing and compaction is of the utmost importance for durability and longevity of the structure and the curing process required for the fluid concrete mix can also be a time consuming process.
The time required for the concrete to adequately cure is that which must not be neglected in order to ensure the poured concrete project results in a steadfast concrete construct complete with an efficient load bearing capacity. While a poured concrete wall may seemingly require added effort, a monolithic concrete wall boasts a far more impressive load bearing capacity than its "Brick-like" concrete cousin construct. It also offers a versatile solution made to form a diverse range of shapes, curves, bevelled and decorative frameworks. Poured concrete walls are also known to leak far less than concrete blocks but do run a greater risk to encounter freeze-thaw and other types of cracks and fissures as a result of the unbroken, continuous concrete structure.
Benefits and Features of Concrete Blocked Walls
Concrete walls erected using concrete blocks are made of concrete masonry units (CMU's) that are joined together with mortar to create a similar walled structure with the same type of patterns resembled in brick masonry. Pieced together to form its very own form of concrete masonry brickwork, concrete blocks are cost effective and time conscious, which means little to no long-term maintenance. Concrete block walls also naturally keep temperatures cool in the summer and warm in the winter as a result of their thermal mass, making these the most ideal materials to use when building a home. Not as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as poured concrete walls that offer a smooth and uniform appearance, once erected walls built using concrete blocks are usually plastered with mortar or rhyolite after and later painted to add a finishing touch.
Whether installing a uniform, poured concrete wall or building a walled construct using concrete masonry units, concrete offers a cost effective and long standing solution free from various vulnerabilities that other walled solutions are at risk to.
Powered by Dangote Cement, Sephaku Cement continues to evolve the South African cement industry offering a range of state-of-the art quality cement products equally committed to having a positive impact on environmental management efficiencies as they are on cost, sustainability and quality.
With close to nine summer months on the South African climate calendar, Sephaku Cement shares top tips on how to install a concrete Pool Deck as your next DIY home improvement project.
Where poolside pastimes are a firm favourite amongst many South Africans, keeping pool decks and outdoor entertainment areas in pristine shape is a priority to many homeowners. Under the harsh African sun, wooden decks, brickwork and tiles can weather, tarnish and spoil from extended exposure to the elements. While you might assume installing a concrete pool deck to replace former installations is an expensive and labour intensive home improvement project, on the contrary.
To follow Sephaku Cement shares a step by step installation process on how to fit a classy concrete pool deck.
Made to last a lifetime and withstand even the most contrasting weather conditions, a cement based pool deck is one of the more common-sense fittings to transform your poolside appearance into something to be envied.
Ideally installed around in-ground, dug out and those swimming pools that is built below the ground level. Concrete pool decks and outdoor entertainment areas need only be maintained annually depending on conditions and exposure to fluctuating elements. What’s more, concrete pool decking can be accented in an array of colour stains, finishes, stamps and decals to echo any theme and colour palette.
- Step 1: Measure the Poolside Surface Area
Critical in determining materials needed, whether placing concrete decking on top of existing pool decking or excavating the area surrounding the pool to place your concrete decking, be sure to take accurate measurements.
As a start, measure the pool’s perimeter (that being the pools itself), and then the border breadth of the decking and don’t forget to take into account the depth at which the decking will be placed. With your measurements in hand, take a look at the Sephaku Cement concrete calculator to determine the amount of cement and other materials required. We suggest for a deck, being exposed to the elements, that you choose a higher MPa mix design,
- Step 2: Place a Frame
Prepare a frame to guide the extent of the area where you plan on placing the concrete pool decking. Take into account the placement of control joints or planned breaks on the surface to help guide inevitable cracks either beneath or on the surface of the decking. Remember you will need an outer frame marking the outside border of the decking as well as a frame for the inner border making use of timber boards and nails to secure it in place. The planks / boards used must be securely fixed as you don’t want the concrete, which is heavier than you imagine, start pushing the sides out of position.
- Step 3: Prepare and Pour
Prepare the bed or "foundation” of the concrete decking using sand spread evenly over the compacted ground inside of your frame. Once satisfied that the surface is level and smoothed over, after carefully mixing your concrete, pour the prepared concrete mix into the frame paying close attention to so do evenly resulting in a level decking surface. Be sure to remove air bubbles and pockets by hammering the wooden frame using a rubber mallet all the way around the circumference of the decking and prodding with a stick to ensure most air bubbles are expelled as good as possible from the poured concrete.
- Step 4: Texturize
Once poured, an important consideration for poolside decking is to texturize the circumference of the concrete deck which will help to prevent swimmers from slipping while enjoying the pool. Action this step just before the concrete has fully cured. Using a push broom, "sweep” the surface of the decking creating fine textured lines for more grip. It is during this phase than many may opt to stamp or etch the surface of the decking to create decorative decals while at the same time adding a planned and predictable texturized outcome.
- Step 5: Sealing
Once fully cured, carefully remove the wooden frame and using fine sand paper, rub over any bulbs and barbs hanging to the border of the decking. Seal with a damp proof sealant to preserve the surface and prevent premature weathering and damage.
Sephaku Cement shows steps to create concrete rubber moulds to cast future concrete creations over and over again. It’s no surprise that craftsmen, creators and art or sculpture enthusiasts are making use of concrete more and more to create concrete décor, statues and arty ornaments. Once having mastered the basics of creating concrete forms using single use plastic containers or ice trays and other precast moulds, you may just be ready to take your concrete creations one step further. With your favourite form in hands, from an ornament, vase, pot, bowl or sculpture see how to create rubber moulds to be used to create your next concrete masterpiece, on repeat.
To create a durable rubber mould to create concrete designs you will need:
- Sealing Agent
- Leak-Proof Container
- Release Agent (that works on latex)
- Pourable Mould Rubber
- Razor Blade
- Step One:
With the desired model item in hand, seal the surface of the item with the sealing agent, coating the surface with two layers of sealant. Be sure to allow each layer of sealant to dry between coats which will make sure that the models form is not manipulated by the layers of sealant. Haste is not on your side with this step whereby applying one thick layer of sealant will create bubbles and run lines influencing the shape of the original mould. Rather apply two thin layers taking time and having patience to ensure an accurate replica is created.
- Step Two:
Using a leak proof container (plastic is usually your best bet) such as an old Tupperware, bucket or bowl, with the same sealing agent, seal the surface of the container.
- Step Three:
Follow this step by applying a release agent to the sides of the container as well as the model mould. The release agent needs to work on latex and polysulphide materials for best results and will assist with releasing the rubber mould from both the container as well as the model item.
- Step Four:
Typically made up of a powder and a liquid agent, using a disposable container, mix up the pourable mould rubber by adding the powder and liquid together. Ensure that the mixture is blended well with slow and steady mixing (rigorous mixing may result in air bubbles which will influence the smoothness of the mould).
- Step Five:
Pour a few centimetres of the rubber mix into the "host container" to form a base for the model item to sit on without touching the bottom of the container. Wait a few moments for the base rubber to set slightly, forming a skin on the surface. Place the item to be cast onto the rubber base, gently pressing it down but not allowing it to touch the bottom of the container. Once placed in the centre, pour the remaining rubber mix around the item to be cast covering it completely in the rubber mix.
- Step Six:
Having allowed the rubber mould to set for a minimum of 24 hours, it’s time to remove the rubber from the host container as well as the item cast to reveal the concrete mould. Slide the rubber "block", still containing the cast item from the "host container". Using a razor blade or scalpel like knife, with great care, cut the mould in half creating two parts to the mould. Gently remove the cast item to reveal the perfect rubber mould to re-create duplicates of the original model item.
This mould is perfectly suited to casting concrete décor and ornaments, making use of the original “host container when putting the two halves back together again.
Sephaku Cement weighs up the pros and cons of installing concrete sinks. With Homemakers Expos and interior decor trade shows lining up to rollout in the weeks and months to come, interior design and DIY home improvement enthusiasts gear up to discover the latest trends in design and home décor. Set to remain a firm favourite as a 2019 interior décor trend, we continue to see concrete being incorporated in some of the most affluent of homes throughout South Africa. Extending beyond flooring, fire place fittings and the more obvious of applications, this year we see cement based applications taking shape in kitchens and bathrooms with stunning bath and basin concrete installations as well as concrete countertops.
As typical bathroom and kitchen décor trends move away from mainstream porcelain and steel fittings, we see concrete cameo as feature basin and bath fittings creating a contemporary appeal, freshening up the ordinary.
Pros of Installing a Concrete Bathroom Basin or Kitchen Sink
- Made to fit with a one-of-a-kind design that you have never seen before basin and concrete countertop offers a unique and inimitable installation that can be customised in infinite ways to suit your theme, colour palette and design requirements. From stains to decals, etching stamping and even polishing, concrete sinks create a matchless appeal to home bathroom and kitchen renovations.
- Another benefit attributed by concrete’s made-to-fit construct, designs can be engineered as a seamless design anointed to countertops, feature walls, light fittings and faucet fittings. Where many more modern home interiors look to achieve an unbroken flow of fittings in a harmonious continuum of form and function, concrete is the perfect material to mould around every design dream board.
- With careful design and guidance by a specialist, concrete items can be made a little less heavy (special aggregates and higher strength) and therefore won’t necessitate so much attention to support and or floor reinforcing.
Cons of Concrete Sinks
- A little more vulnerable to chips, cracks and blemishes, Concrete kitchen sinks and bathroom basins will need regular maintenance and sometimes repairs to hard wearing surfaces (especially in the kitchen). With regular dam proofing and applying a sealant every few months, although not a taxing task, it is one that will need to be added to your to do list more frequently than the typical sink installation.
- As strong and as steadfast in nature, so too are concrete sinks and basins dense and extremely heavy. As a result, floating sinks engineered out of concrete and concrete countertops will need added load bearing support to secure the installation. As much as concrete countertops will need to be reinforced, flooring will also need to be a consideration when fitting a concrete sink to be sure that all surfaces impacted by the weight of the concrete can withstand the load.
- While materials used to create your concrete kitchen sink or bathroom basin are affordable, because of the added engineering, the special reinforcement and custom design, concrete sinks can be a little more costly home improvement to fit.
In review of the list of positive and negative characteristics of concrete sinks and bathroom basins, it’s apparent that the cons seemingly outweigh the pros of concrete sink installations. While this might be so, taking into account the various considerations, we still think a concrete sink is well worth the effort and investment that results in a fitting built to last a lifetime while adding gorgeous aesthetics to any home!
With our concrete creative appetites wet following former Sephaku blog posts showcasing concrete Christmas gifts and Concrete Décor ideas, Sephaku Cement continues to explore endless DIY gift ideas made from concrete. With a little help from Sephaku 32, mixed with 2 parts sand to 1 part cement and just a little less than 1 part water to blend the ideal DIY concrete mortar mix, let the creativity flow!
While we already know how to make concrete planters, tripod tables, cubes and even checkers boards, as we explore more creative but equally as simple designs, to follow see a few of our favourite concrete gift ideas.
Using a cost effective bag of Sephaku Cement (Sephaku 32 or Sephaku 42) available at your leading home depot’s and builders outlets, measure mix and pour/mould your way to hand crafted concrete gifts.
- Marbled Concrete Designs
Using any design desired, DIY Marbled Mortar/Concrete offers a stunning spin on your concrete gift's finish. To DIY dye marbled concrete, simply mix up your base cement mix, blending the dry ingredients first and adding water measurements slowly, so as not to add too much water. When your wet cement mix resembles thick yoghurt, remove a small amount (the volume to be dyed) of mortar mix into a separate container. Add the pigment dye to the smaller quantity of the separated mortar mix and blend well. For lighter tones only add a small amount of pigment and for deeper hues and a more striking marbled appearance add more pigment. Once the pigmented mortar mix is blended well, reintroduce it to the base mix and slowly combine the two coloured mixes together, taking care not to blend the mix too well or the marbled effect will be lost. Once satisfied with the marbled swirls in your mortar mix pour into desired moulds and allow curing for at least 24 hours or longer if possible.
- Concrete Ring Cones
Possibly the simplest design we've ever made, concrete ring cones offer a modern spin on jewellery keepsakes and make for the sweetest gift for young and old! Offering a more weighty solution to other ceramic and clay materials, using your basic cement mortar mix, simply pour your mortar mix into a cone shape of cardboard and allow curing for 24 hours. Once set, remove the card cone mould and smooth out any barbs with fine sandpaper. Add character by dipping the tip of the cone into different coloured pastel paints or even add a little gold leaf for a glamourous shimmer!
- Antique Wall Art
Equally as easy to create, using a discarded plastic or cardboard tray (A5 or even A4 depending on how large you want the design to be), pour concrete mortar mix into the tray and allow for a few hours of curing to take place. Before the cement has completely cured, using an old piece for costume jewellery, gently press the piece into the semi-cured still softish mortar creating a "fossilized" look allowing the costume jewellery to slightly sink into the cement tray. Instead of costume jewellery other semi submerged items that create beautiful wall hanging art include sentimental shells collected on your last beach vacation, smoothed pebbles, gemstones, pressed flowers and dried leaves or even sentimental keepsakes such as a baby’s rattle or favourite toy, or even Lego designs, action figures or marbles for a fun kids bedroom motif.
With a number of concrete ideas for home improvement projects, let your interior décor vision boards come to life with the help of Sephaku Cement. As we become entrenched in the New Year the prospects for home improvements, remodelling and renovations become clearer as budgets are renewed and your threshold for construction inconvenience is restored.
Attributed to its strength, affordability and heavy-duty durability, what was once reserved for industrial or civil engineering and factory fittings, today concrete installations and décor applications have made their way into the hearts and onto project plans of interior designers and home improvement specialists. Easy to work with, versatile by way of colour, finish and form and accessible to even the most rigid budget, cement based home improvement projects offer much to be desired. Not only by way of its load bearing strength and undeniable affordability but incorporating concrete focal points and fully functioning features brings a simplistic and unforced sophistication into any home.
Combined with organic and untreated materials such as wood, natural stone and other naturally occurring matter (crushed shells, quartz and gems or marble etc.); concrete creates a minimalist and tranquil ambiance that translates into an unperturbed and effortless elegance. On the contrary shaped by sharp angles, pounced lines and strong, bold fixtures, contemporary concrete interior design boasts an avant-garde industrial décor trend found in sun-flooded lofts or open plan studios.
- Or You-tube: How to make concrete counter tops
- DIY Pete
From concrete floors to kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities and fireplace fittings find our favourite concrete décor ideas for every home improvement project, resulting in some of the most modern minimalist interiors.
- Concrete Kitchen Tops
Installed as one seamless pouring process, concrete counter tops can take shape around just about any angle or curve and can even be installed to a kitchen where the concrete countertop and kitchen basin are fitted as a single unit. Stained, stamped or etched with elegant designs, concrete countertops can also lend its hand to creating a striking focal point to any kitchen. Concrete countertops are also not limited to applications limited within the kitchen but can be incorporated into bars and pubs, outside entertainment areas, dining room table tops, coffee tables and any workspace surface imaginable.
- Concrete Fireplace Fittings
Offering a welcomed design alternative to the typical brick cladded or cobble stone fireplace, creating a prominent centre piece to a lounge remodelling project, concrete fireplace fittings are not only aesthetically appealing but fulfil the ideal function. Wonderfully fire-resistant and naturally retains its heat, cement based fire places can be installed as a pre-cast option or made to fit, stained, embellished and even stamped to with brick or cobbled cladding offering an affordable lookalike to more authentic and costly fittings.
- Concrete Bathrooms
From concrete floors to feature walls, shower surfaces, bathtubs, basin and vanities, with its innate love of water, concrete bathrooms are far from cold and clinical. Think Japanese splash spas, or seamless floor to wall bathtubs and basins. Polished, stained, or detailed to reflect your desired theme, concrete offers the ideal function and form for an every day beautiful bathroom!
With an endless variety of colours, designs and finishes, utilising water based stains to enhance decorative concrete features have further reaching advantages than that which meets the eye. With the promise of low odour, reduced or no volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), a user-friendly application and a simple clean up once applied, benefits to making use of water based stains advantage both the contractor, the client as well as the environment.
To follow, see why Sephaku Cement recommends making use of water-based concrete stains and the benefits to this method of decorative concrete staining.
- With a striking aesthetic appeal, the finished look to water-based concrete stains is the more obvious benefit for selecting water based concrete staining when enhancing concrete installations. With an abundance of colours and finishes to choose from - marble to mottle or a wood grained stain, pigmented in muted tones of stone, rust or sandalwood alternative options such as applying a more pronounced stain in moss green or azure blue is equally available in water based stains. Whichever finish you opt to select, water based concrete staining leaves little to the imagination by way of colour selection and finish.
- With little to no VOC's present, water based concrete stains provide a far lower environmental impact application. Made up of organic chemicals characterised by a high vapour pressure, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) see a large volume of molecules (with a lower boiling point) evaporate which can have a long term toxic effect on the atmosphere, the immediate environment as well as those in close proximity to the area in which high VOC’s are applied. Making use of water based concrete stain applications minimises exposure (by contractors and their clients) to VOC’s resulting in a more environmentally friendly and healthier decorative concrete installation.
- Cleaning up after water based concrete stain application is a synch compared to acid based or other pigmentation methods. Prior to sealing recently stained concrete, when pigmented with an acid application a very specific and detailed process must be followed not only to ensure no residue of the acid stain remains on the concrete as well as the appropriate disposal of acid stain waste. When staining concrete installations with water based products, clean-up is effortless and speedier to complete.
- Another benefit to making use of water based concrete stains is the promise of a longer lasting colour and quality. When using water based stains for decorative concrete installations, because the product takes longer to evaporate (unlike acid stains and the high volume of VOC's) the stain has a longer time to sit on the concrete leaving a longer lasting mark and more intense hue. As a result of a deeper colour, water based stained concrete maintains its colour for longer and with minimal discolouration, colour characteristics won’t fade or radically change as a result of exposure to harsh UV rays.
As awareness to environmental risks and concerns continue to raise alarm bells, a growing number of homeowners and businesses (and contractors) opt for a greener or environmentally conscious method to construction, renovations, installations and decorative concrete applications. Where water based staining offers an equally if not more aesthetic appeal to decorative concrete, many are finding more reasons to opt for water based staining techniques compared to others.
Believed by some to conjure healing, tranquillity and transcendence, unwind to the sounds of your new concrete water feature with the help of Sephaku Cement. Some say it’s because our bodies are comprised of 70% water and having evolved from water dwelling creatures, where a select few say it’s because the sound mimics the womb, and where Feng Shui fundamentalists say that water symbolises wealth and prosperity, others simply attribute the appeal of running water to the sensory satisfaction achieved through white noise. Regardless from where it may stem, it’s hard to find any individual that is not drawn to a body of water and further soothed by the monotonous sound of its babbling trickle.
Further to the calming characteristics of a newly installed water feature in your home or place of work, concrete fountains, pre-cast water features, or cascading bubbles spouting over concrete cobbles create an aesthetic allure to outdoor landscaping or interior design.
To follow find some of Sephaku Cement’s favourite concrete water feature inspirations that can be installed as an easy DIY home Improvement project or with the help of a garden landscaper to expertly position, install and maintain your new “pool of calm”.
- Go Geyser Gold
For young families with little children or clumsy pets that may be at risk of falling into a pool styled fountain, a concrete pit filled with smooth pebbles (a great disguise to hide the water pump) and a geyser type fountain offers a safe and affordable option for the water feature novice. Either sink your concrete pit to lie flush with the ground to form a naturally styled geyser appeal, or for a more modern contemporary charm, have your pit sit above the surface to form a “bowl” of babbling pebbled tranquillity.
- Oriental De-Stress
Begin by digging a trench to fit your pond and be sure to line the edges with landscape fabric or weed guard. Sink your cement basin of any size or dimension (accounting for enough depth to conceal the water pump) and using smooth pebbles of various sizes and desired colours, encrust the circumference of the pond by stacking the smooth stones and pebbles around a bamboo water feature that tips and taps as it fills and empties of water. For an even more authentic finish, surround the feature with delicate bonsai bowls and depending on the size (and more specifically the depth of basin) pull out all the stops and fill your water feature with a few Koi Fish.
- Tiers of Joy
Available as a pre-cast concrete water feature or alternatively you could create the same effect with 3 posts varying in size, stack the concrete posts from largest to smallest to form a tiered tower. Using a circulating water pump to create the water flow, stand the pots at varied levels (shortest and biggest to tallest and smallest) standing one inside the other and creating height by making use of discarded planter bricks. With the pump in place, fill the pots with decorative stones and pebbles to support the pots above while adding to the look of the water feature.
Whether using Sephaku Cement to create the ideal water feature foundations or to form one-of a kind ponds, hollows and bowls, common across the full product range, Sephaku Cement guarantees only the most pure grade original Portland cement blended with the finest quality extenders designated to enhance performance and curing characteristics. Sealed with the Sephaku stamp of quality assurance and fit for purpose compliance, each bag of Sephaku Cement adheres to industry leading standards certification, scientifically formulated to deliver controlled performance and consistent quality.
The new year rolls out its red carpet to an exciting new line-up of decor trends, interior design features and some super easy Do It Yourself concrete decor ideas. Designed to last a lifetime, concrete based DIY décor projects are not only affordable to attempt and extremely fulfilling to complete, concrete and cement based crafts add an effortless, minimalist and modern charm to every interior.
What’s more, with many New Year resolutions dedicating time to starting a new hobby, DIY Concrete Décor not only sees the addition of one of a kind focal features to add to your home, but is a terrific way to alleviate stress, focus your thoughts on what your hands are busy with and get lost in a world of concrete creativity!
As a starting point, the ideal concrete craft mix sees a basic blend of sand, water and cement made up of 2 parts sand to 1 part cement and 1 part (or typically a little less) water commonly called - mortar mix as there is no stone in the mixture. Begin by blending the dry ingredients (cement and sand) together prior to adding the water. When adding the water do so slowly, adding a little at a time mixing well between additions. When adding the water slowly, continuously check the consistency of the mix, making sure not to add too much water too soon. The ideal consistency to work with when creating concrete crafts would be similar to thick yoghurt or soft peak egg whites. Once blended you can begin creating various concrete decor designs.
To get your creative concrete juices flowing, to follow see Sephaku Cements favourite DIY concrete décor ideas; affordable, easy to execute, and on trend with 2019 concrete décor.
- Tripod Planter Stand
In a modern blend of nature and industrial design, making use of a single use plastic container and a 20mm hardwood dowel stick cut into three to create a tripod, pour your basic mortar mix into the single use plastic mould or bucket, agitating the mixture to remove as many air bubbles as possible. Just before the seat of the concrete stool has set, press the three legs of the tripod in the desired position which can later be reinforced with glue should the dowel legs not remain securely in place. Once cured remove the mould and using fine sandpaper smooth out any rough areas of the planter stand or cement seat of the planter stand. Later you can paint the legs or even the cement seat if desired to align with colour schemes or liven up the concrete.
- Concrete Checkers Board
Not only a fun game to play, but when applied with precision, this concrete craft project can create an elegant coffee table piece. Using a square plastic sheet pour your cement/mortar mix to form the base of a cement checkers board, once again agitating the mortar to ensure all air bubbles are removed. To note, just before the board has fully cured using a ruler, mark the checkers grid (eight by eight) where the playing pieces will be moved.
Using “X” and “O” silicone or plastic ice trays (you will need to make 12 pieces of each shape), grease the moulds with “spray ‘n cook” or sunflower oil which will help the set mortar pieces to be removed from the moulds once cured. Once lined with oil pour your blended mortar craft mix into the prepared trays and allow setting and hardening. Once both the board and the pieces are cured, paint the board and the applicable pieces in alternating colours to create the contrasting grid and player one and player two pieces.
- Restore Damaged Table Tops
From unsightly water marks to scratches, grazes and dents or cracks, revive a tired and damaged wooden table top with a concrete coating. Simply apply your craft mortar mix (you may want to add a little more water to make the mix "paintable") and using a sponge roller apply the cement “paint” coat by coat allowing each layer to cure in-between applications. Not only will this mask age marks and damage to wooden furniture but add a modern concrete-chic appearance to outdated pieces of furniture.
Ideal for home DIY and décor craft projects, Sephaku 32 delivers professional quality at an affordable cost, versatile, consistent and sealed with the Sephaku stamp of quality assurance. For more information on Sephaku 32 or to review the full Sephaku Cement product range visit SephakuCement.co.za