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This Hypertufa is expensive???

16 years ago

Just to make one somewhat thick walled 12x12x6 planter It takes

fibers Free

2 lg coffee cans Portland about 1/4 48# bag so 1.30$

1 lg Coffee can sand free

5 lg cans perlite about 2-3$ I bought the giant bag at a nursery supply for was it 20$

1/2 bottle admix 3.50$

2.50$ of color

thats at least 10$ in supplies.

I do note that my bottom and walls are near 2" thick.

Any one else figure up the costs??

Also how do I make the walls thinner.

even with a very dry mix where I couldn't squeeze any drops of water out it tries to slump on the walls??

Comments (11)

  • 16 years ago

    elkski, Are you talking about a 12 inch square by 6" deep planter? The inside dimensions are 8 inches by 4 inches due to the thick walls and bottom?
    You don't need fibers or admix for such a small container, so your price is down to $6.50. Is that cement dye that you used for color for $2.50? Use arylic paints or diluted latex exterior paint or wood stain for the outside of your containers. Nothing worse than adding not enough "terra cotte" cement dye and getting a yuck-o pink or adding too much dye or any colorant and the piece won't cure. That should bring your price down to $4. By decreasing the wall and bottom thickness you'll be cutting your costs too.
    You shouldn't be able to squeeze drops of water out in any of your mixes except a mortar mix. Make your mix dry, fill the bottom to the depth you need (12" square about an 1" to a 1 and 1/2"),tamp it to get out air pockets, use a stick or dowel to open up a drain hole and make patties (think hamburgers) a 1/2" to 1" thick for the side walls, just place them and pat to blend the patties together. Billie

  • 16 years ago

    Here's a link to an article from Fine Gardening on hypertufa with pictures. You might like to take a peek.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Make a hypertufa trough or bowl.

  • 16 years ago

    I would use more sand, some sifted peat or vermiculite and less perlite. I would not used the colorant or the admix. I like the Acrylic paints or wood stain after the cure. When dry, spray on a clear finish.

  • 16 years ago

    Thanks for that helpful link,
    Best how to link for newbies ive seen so far.
    Maybe not adding peat affected my consistency? The more I worked with it the more the sides wanted to slump and the more the top lip dried out and the water headed down towards the bottom of the sides.
    Wow even with my 2/1sand/5 perlite I have no perlite showing compared to those pics in that link. I like my look better. Those pots look like foam. I have nice sloping sides too. I am down to the bottom half of this hay bale sized bag of perlite maybe that is why it is so fine.. I use it to add to my potting soil also. I have lots of latex paints from about 30 different browns and tans we tried before painting the house.
    Can I just add the left over quarts in as admix??
    My plan yesterday was to make the main batch of tufa and then split it up 3 ways in homer 5 gal pails and add the colorant. the problem was that I had to pour it all back into the wheel barrow and add more dry stuff to stiffen it up and only ended with red with some brown streaks.. I think I liked the color. How come I never read that you don't need admix for small pots?? as thick as my walls are they didn't need any for sure.. Look like real natural tufa's to me.
    Not sure how to post a picture here and I don't do pic hosting sites if thats what it takes??

  • 16 years ago

    Elkski,You don't need to add peat moss, you need NOT to add so much water and don't overwork the mix. The more you pat and work it, the more water will be released as it starts to cure.
    Do NOT add paint as an admix! I said to use it on the outside of the container.
    "How come I never read that you don't need admix for small pots??" You haven't read what I've written. See above about paint. lol!
    For the containers, lanterns, birdbaths, stepping stones that most people on this forum make you don't need admix or fibers.
    Regarding fibers, these are used by construction companies for large piers, abutements, etc. If any of you are making these items add fibers. If not don't waste your time. Billie

  • 16 years ago

    If hypertufa was expensive I wouldn't be doing it. I really like to keep it simple and only use portland cement, peat moss and perlite. I don't use admixes, concrete colorants, and rarely use fiberglass fibers (only if the project is really big). Portland cement is usually under $10 a bag, perlite averages about $17 for a big bag and peat moss averages about $10 a bale, depending on the size. For an investment of under $40 you can make alot of garden decor. And, believe me, I have.

  • 16 years ago

    I agree!! No need for the color or admix. A typical mix is equal parts cement, perlite and peat moss, and I am sure my cost for the 12x12x6 planter would be less than four dollars.
    When you build up around a form put a layer about two inches thick all around. Squeeze it together quite well, the add other similar layers all around, etc. until reaching the top (bottom of finished piece).
    When you add a new layer, put a trowell ful in place, hold it in position with your fingers while packing it down with your thumb. That way allows you to be sure that the wall thichness remains the same all over the piece.
    When you form the top (bottom of the piece) make sure you maintain the thickness at the edges and all over the bottom--pat it down with a board, add a dowell for drain hole.
    Water always migrates to the bottom. If the mix slumps too much, trim off some and add it to the top. I keep a spray bottle of water handy because I often have to wet spots that are too dry as I build up the layers.
    elkski--It sounds to me like you are trying to perfect you technique and have perfect results before you have done a lot of practice. Practice and don't be afraid to experiment.
    If you want to see more perlite in the finished piece, wire brush it.
    I think you are using too much perlite. I have made many pieces using many different ingredients and have never had a real failure because of the materials used. Some do look better than others, but all of my true failures have been my own fault for being too impatient or for mishandling when unmolding.
    I can't imagine some of the situations mentioned--like "Fibers make the mix hard to work with". I only use a small handful of short polyester fibers which are not hard to work with. They are not "prickly" and they add only a couple of minutes time. I can't say if they really prevent cracks or not, but I have always used them and have no cracking problems.
    I've never had a problem with peat moss--sifted or unsifted, and I usually use more of it than perlite.
    I have used ground bark, sand, vermiculite, potting soil, and sometimes powdered coloring. I have not found an admix necessary. Practice and you will soon discover what works for you.

  • 16 years ago

    fleur, just followed your link above, lots of good info' here, thanks a bunch, Wendy

  • 16 years ago

    Lots of good advice here!
    I agree with fredw10, your Portland/sand/perlite ratio is off. Try more equal parts of your ingredients.
    I too only use fibers for large projects. And I mean large! When I do use them I mix them in with the initial water.No mixing problems. I also use fiberglass drywall tape on large projects.
    I've never used admix, never found the need for it.
    Without knowing what effect it would have on the chemistry involved, I would not add paint to a cement mixture. I have had good luck using wood stain to color 'tufa.
    To bring out the perlite look, gently use a wire brush on the green cured 'tufa. Cement leaves a greyish film on everything, the wire brush will remove it.
    Wall thickness is often determined by planter size. However because of the ingredient used 'tufa walls are usually fairly thick. That being said I think that 2" walls are a little thick for the size of planter that you're making. Too much 'tufa can also cause slumping just from the weight. I'd reduce them by at least 1/2".
    Question: Are you using your 'tufa as soon as you've mixed it or do you let it sit for a few minutes? I let mine "rest" for a few minutes after mixing it, it seems to help the texture and workability of the stuff. I aim for a "meatloaf/meatball" texture. Don't worry so much about being able to squeeze out water. Look instead for a cohesiveness to the 'tufa. You want it to hold together but not be oozy/sloppy or too dry.
    Practise, practise, practise and have fun! 'Tufa isn't hard to work with but it does take getting familiar with the medium.

    Valolson1- great planters!

    For inspiration: I love wandering around these sites!

  • 16 years ago

    I add my voice to the chorus that sings "This is a CHEAP activity" and I also echo the 1-1-1 ratio of portland/peat/perlite. Nothing more. It is SO easy, so uncomplicated - and if you have been around here for more than a few years, you will come to know and trust billie ann's advice.

  • last year

    Googled cost of hypertufa vs concrete and wow. I'd gladly pay the cost from when this thread started 😊