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Author Topic:   FAUX STONE: boring details
posted 07-09-2003 12:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Whitemanfrtown   Click Here to Email Whitemanfrtown     Edit/Delete Message
Then evalutate wether or not you want to read the following.

FAUX STONE TILE MANUFACTURING PROCESS: Materiels list: many strips of 5/8 in plywood roughly 1 in wide/ 6in-2 1/2 ft in length
heavy duty tin foil, sand, portland cement, masonry trowels, wire brush, cement mixing tools.
The whole idea here is to build a mini swimming pool with a textured bottom for your cement mix to set up in.

1) Make a "picture frame" on the ground or a flat surface using the plywood strips.
2) sprinkle sand unevenly within the picture frame. This will create depressions in the tile so the more "mini-dunes" you make the moire wavy the tiles face will turn out.
3) Tear an oversized piece of tin foil off the roll and place it flat on the floor (not on the frame yet)
3a) crinkle the foil with your hands. This is where you can adjust the ammount of texture and cracks you want to have in your fininshed tile.
3b) place the tinfoil in the frame as a liner. (just like lining a baking pan) and curl the foil around the edges of the plywood.
4) repeat the above for as many tiles as you wish to create in this batch.
5) mix the cement to your own specifications taking into account that larger tiles need to be stronger (less sand/more cement) and that the ammount of water added not only will influence the tiles strength but also will affect the degree that the tin foil will stick to tile.
6) pour all the tiles smoothing out their backsides with a masonry trowel as you go. try to keep this side flat as its whats going to be affixed directly to the substrate and if your using mastic it is easier to have it flat.
7) wait for it to set up but not too much - i found that 6-9 hours was ideal depending upon the concentration of portland cement in the tile.
7a) CAUTION: remove the foil to soon and the tiles will crack as the cement is still too soft.
Wait too long and the foil will start to bond to the cement requiring romoval with a wire brush (and it isnt too fun).
the trick here is to gently lift the set tile on edge and peel off the foil and to then allow the tile to finish curing before installation.
there are variables in this proceedure and different textures can be made. Ive made a wide range of tiles from almost smooth to just wrinkled, deep cracks, granite-like, sandstone-like, and some that were just ugly.

If youre going to make some youll for sure see what i mean.
My first attempts at this were 3/4 in thick using 1x2 lumber for the frame. The tiles were large, heavy and it ate up too much cement. I next went to 1/2 in. ply (just for uniform thickness and had it laying around) 1/2 in. was ok but 1) larger tiles were weak and broke easily especially when removing the foil and 2) it was difficult to make much contour in the face of the tiles because you couldnt heap the sand under it more than like 1/4 in. - looked funny.
I found that unevenly sprinkling the sand in small flat piles added the needed realism to the tile. otherwise they look too phony - wont fool 'em.
TIPS ON TEXTURE: real rock tends to have grain. for added realism look at rock and fashion your foil cracks to approximate it.
Too many cracks and whatnot makes it look heinous.
best texture (crinkle) technique I have is to lay your hands on the foil and crinkle it slightly - dont try balling it up or anything like that.

As an experiment, I believe 1-3 tiles could be made by anyone (no special skill) inside of 1/2 day if they wanted to see what it was like.

Removing the foil: after approx. 6 hrs have elapsed start checking your tiles to see if theyre ready. Try to take one out. if it breaks.... well i guess it wasnt ready yet.
if you got wrapped up in watching tv and you forgot about them and then the next day you remember... Loser! make sure you bring your wire brush with you.
See, the tin foil has to come off in order to expose the texture of whats underneath. at this point you cant have a smooth texture on your tiles face - it will have to be a little rougher and almost sandy looking because youll be wire-brushing he tile free of foil. Bon appetite!
This action gets dusty too.
LETTING TILES DRY: once the foil is removed, stack the tiles gently on their sides somewhere out of the way and leave them there for 2-4 days. For experimental use you can let them dry 1-1 1/2 days before handling them etc.
Remeber the 28 day law with concrete and use it accordingly. I didnt follow this but instead primed my tiles anywhere from 6 to 14 days later and then painted shortly thereafter. If your making a project that has to last you gatta wait. The tiles will spald prematurely and that would probably destroy them or at least lessen their visual appeal. they will also need painting touch up. If they were installed outside and there was a clear coat of weatherproofing applied .. well you see all the additional work that will need to be done stemming from incorrect proceedure.

Coloring: once the tiles have beeen primed and that has dried go to town on faux painting them.
Best proceedure i can think of is to go get some pictures of stone walls that you like, that compliment the decor of space your creating, get 2-3 colors of flat paint that match those and apply with a rag or sponge (see a faux finish book for details)
PAINT IT BLACK: you want the color of the wall your going to be affixing the tiles to to be either black or off-black so that when viewing the finished product, one seems to only see shadow between the stones. Flat black spray paint works well - just spray it around the edges of the tile on the wall while youre installing them. (rather than paint the whole wall black)
MASS PRODUCTION: If one were trying to do several rooms worth of stone veneer in this fashion i would recommend constucting a massive "cookie rack" to "bake" your tiles on. Its more economical to do them in larger batches and the floor space gets eaten up pretty quickly.

MASTIC: This can be used. Consider the quality of mastic required by thinking about how long you want your project to endure for. The tiles could be mortared onto a cement substrate and this would probably be ideal as all materials would be similar (cement) . mastic is simpler, faster etc but if done outside one needs to think about its longevity.

GROUT: Ive made these with and without grout. For interiors its ok without grout though I did have an experience with centepedes that somehow got inside and found it easy to hide anywhere they wanted.
Grouting outside would be important to keep water from collecting and freezing and breaking the tiles.
A recessed grout probably would be best with a clear-coat waterproofing sealant overtop - keep the sheen of the sealant to nothing higher than satin or your stone will look plastic. Id try to get flat.

posted 07-10-2003 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sailorman     Edit/Delete Message
Great writeup -look forward to seeing your results. And you are doing this in Hawaii?
For others with more knowledge than me, fell free to jump in and correct me.
1. - 28 days - concrete has to stay moist for the 28 days to continue to cure. Letting them dry out with cease the chemical reaction. I would suggest a VERY humid environment. I flooded my basement floor with several inches of water as soon as it set up to improve the strength. And I never sawcut it afterwards.
2. have you tried concrete colorants so the base color is more than skin deep?
3. The Cultured Stone® is not smooth on the back but looks like they took the trowel and made a series of edges to improve the bonding.
4. Considered latex molds? They make a product http://www.smooth-on.com/concrt.htm I have used something similar for hobby models casting onto large chucks of coal to make molds. I also found this just for fun: http://www.hirstarts.com/
5. Do you use any lime? Ideas to keep the concrete surface from pitting over time like most old sidewalks?
6. Anyone know the mix they use to mold concrete keystones? The ones I have on my house still look great after 10 years

posted 07-11-2003 01:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Whitemanfrtown   Click Here to Email Whitemanfrtown     Edit/Delete Message
Im planning on biuiding it in SE conn. I ve already done some land surveys covering maybe 100 sq. miles (from gilletes area north)
Here are some answers to your Q's:
2) I didnt use the powdered concrete colorant - hard for me to get. it would be good to use as a topical thing - mixing it in or staining the top so as to get a patina .
3) I went to the cultured stone site and the schematics that they have there are very close to what i came up with myself (above proceeudre) so those can act as a visual for the hanging proceedure. (the section referenced is is "technical" )
4)Didnt do the latex molds yet. I figured that i would later when i needed to mass produce. that target is down the road for me now and im more focused on generating money and doing other castle research.
You know i found that "whiteman's 5/8 ply recepie" was fast and inexpensive. the only materiel that gets expensed was the foil. I looked at latex and after going to shops and talking to pro's (and because i was a little lazy and didnt have to make 20 k tiles) I just used foil. Further, each one is unique and I was scared that the mold-creation phase would take much longer to do.

5) Didnt use lime. my masonry knowledge is limited.
6)no data.

Just had this thought though: while making the tiles, time and again I was wishing that they could be a little larger. It could be done if one used a wider sheet of tin foil but i could never find any. See, if you added lime (for strength, right?) and "super-sized" the recepie and then mortared them onto CMU and then did a recessed grout I think it would be Great! Could use 2-by lumber creating tiles about 1 1/2 in. thick.

posted 09-07-2003 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ladyhawthorne     Edit/Delete Message
Great ideas for tile. I created stone look walls on the interior by apply a liberal amount of joint compound/sheetrock mud to the wall with a wide broad knife. I worked in small areas about 3' by 3' so the mud would not dry out too fast and not totally smoothing the mud out either.
Then I took one of several different sized plastic storage containers I got at the dollar store, that had rounded corners, and pushed them open side against the wall and pulled them off. This stamping created the outline of the stone with an indentation for the crack between.
After I stamped the pattern in I used a putty knife to clean up any area that needed smoothing or straightening. By overlapping the edges of the stamps - fitting the edge of one container into the existing stamped edge of the last - you can create a wonderfully realistic effect.
Where the area is too small to fit in a container, I used the 3" putty knife to scrape in the crack in between stones. It looks nice, but you cannot really create curves, you end up with very straight, sharp edges & corners.
After the whole area you want done is dry, you can prime and/or paint. You could do a number of faux finish effects, I opted to paint my walls with a light beige base coat that worked well with the existing pickled cabinets (it's in the kitchen) and then got a quart each of 2 medium deep tones in the same color family. Make sure to let your base coat dry at least overnight to cure.
Using 2 plastic containers, I mixed equal amounts of paint and water for the 2 antiquing colors. I painted the thin mix on a small area and immediately wiped it off using a damp wash rag. Alternating the 2 antiquing colors in a random way I got a more natural look. The color will stay in the crevises and how much you wipe off determines how dark your finished wall will be. I also went back later and dry brushed some of the original base coat color onto some of the blocks to give an even more random and natural look. You could also add in moss and vines for an outdoorsy feel.
One of the really nice things about this technique is that you can work on just one wall at a time if you cannot fit a large project into your free time. It really goes fast, with the drying time being the longest wait.

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