The use of artificial stone for the decoration of the facade walls allows creating original design solutions at low cost. Due to its high performance characteristics, the material is widely used among many developers; it is used both for finishing expensive exclusive facades and budget houses. Moreover, the cost of finishing is almost the same.
Artificial stone with your own hands
You can make an artificial stone from plaster and cement with your own hands. Each of the materials has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Do-it-yourself gypsum stone
It is distinguished by its low weight and quick production. Within an hour and a half, the products can be painted and used for their intended purpose. Disadvantages - relatively low indicators of physical strength, which does not allow it to be used for finishing the basement parts of facades.
Gypsum is a hygroscopic material, despite various additives that increase its resistance to freezing / thawing, professional builders strongly do not recommend using it for outdoor work.
The speed of setting is also considered a disadvantage - manufacturing work should be done very quickly, and all the material that was not consumed the first time has to be thrown away.
Artificial stone made of gypsum
Artificial stone made of cement
In terms of performance, the material is of universal use. Strength surpasses natural counterparts, it is recommended for cladding external surfaces. The disadvantage is that the hardening time is at least two days, you have to have many forms for manufacturing or waste a lot of time on this process.
Another problem is heavy weight. But in many cases, the amount of artificial stone used to decorate facades is small, which allows the weight of the structure to be ignored. It is on the second manufacturing option that we will dwell in more detail.
The stone can be colored to improve its appearance. This is done in two ways.
The dye is added to the entire composition at once. Powder colorants are used that are resistant to sunlight. The method is most often used in the production of large quantities of material or at the request of designers. The advantages of this method:
The dye was added while mixing the mixture
Surface painting is done after demoulding.
Sun-resistant paint types are used, painting is done with brushes, sponges or pneumatic spray guns.Advantages of separate painting:
Staining the stone
A variation of this method is powder painting of the inner surfaces of forms. A small number of different shades are applied with a brush to the inner surface of the mold, the place of painting does not matter, it all depends on the "artistic" abilities of the manufacturers.
Paint can be applied to the inner surface of molds
It is advisable to buy ready-made molds in specialized stores, but if for some reason you cannot purchase a ready-made silicone mold, you can make it yourself.
Forms for stone
Prepare the tool in advance
For manufacturing, you need to prepare even slats with smooth surfaces, for example, we took pieces of sandwich panels, they are even, smooth, not afraid of moisture, silicone does not stick to them. You will need a lot of two-component silicone with hardener. The quantity depends on the size of the forms; you can buy it in online stores or large building supermarkets. Sold in containers of more than one liter. Molds can be made to match a commercially available facing material or you can choose the relief of the front surface yourself.
We will indicate all other accessories and tools along the step-by-step instructions. The technology for ready-made stones or self-made templates is not much different, we will focus on the second option. It allows you to create any relief on the surface.
Step 1. Cut out stone patterns from the planks.
Thickness is enough 8-10 mm, length and width at your discretion. The standard dimensions are 20 * 5 cm. But this is not necessary, it all depends on which stela you plan to decorate the walls in and where exactly to put the artificial stone. There is no need to make it thicker, its strength is sufficient, and due to its small thickness, material is saved and weight is reduced.
On the surface of the templates, glue the appropriate pieces of embossed wallpaper or other elements to create a hill. If you find it difficult to come up with something on your own, then buy several ready-made artificial stones in the store and pour the form over them.
Step 3. Reinforce the walls of the mold box with self-tapping screws, there are gaps - cover them with liquid glue or seal with single-sided tape. The dimensions of the box are arbitrary and are selected taking into account the blanks.
Sealing of joints
Distance between individual workpieces 5 mm. Before installing, check the clearances, they should all be exactly the same.We do not recommend making a form for halves either. First, it is difficult to predict their required amount, and it is not recommended to use unnecessary halves instead of whole ones. Secondly, it is much easier to cut a piece of the required length during installation with a grinder.
In the photo there is a fastened box and stones laid in it for the template
The master model is ready to work
Step 4. Draw a horizontal line along the inner perimeter of the walls, it should be about 1-1.5 cm above the surface of the templates. This parameter is optimal to save polyurethane and sufficient to maintain dimensional stability.
Thoroughly coat all surfaces that will come into contact with the polyurethane with an intermediate coat.
Lubricate the surfaces with petroleum jelly or grease
You can take petroleum jelly or solid oil, buy special liquids in stores, etc. We advise dissolve laundry soap in water and spray the surfaces with a spray bottle. Simple, cheap, fast and reliable. The same solution can be used during the manufacture of artificial stones.
Soap has another indisputable advantage - it does not leave marks on the front surfaces, if necessary, it can be easily washed off with ordinary water.
Step 6. Prepare the polyurethane as instructed.
Mix the components very thoroughly, preferably using an electric mixer. It is difficult to ensure uniform mixing by hand, and the quality of the polyurethane largely depends on this.
Filling is best done in two stages, with this calculation prepare the material.
Preparing the mixture
Step 7. Align the box strictly horizontally, use a level for this.
Step 8. Slowly and very carefully pour the polyurethane into the drawer.
Pouring and distributing the mixture
Pouring mortar into the mold
Track how much material was needed, this will make it possible to orient yourself with the size of the second portion. When filling, pay special attention to the space between individual templates, do not allow gaps. After the first step of pouring polyurethane is over, tap the edges of the box slightly with a rubber mallet or other non-metallic object to remove air.
Bubbles can be removed with a blow dryer
Step 9. Prepare a second piece of polyurethane and pour it into the drawer .
.. Pay attention to the horizontal line around the perimeter of the walls. If a little polymer is left, pour it all out, you still have to throw it away, and the thickened bottom will not hurt during the direct manufacture of stones.
The polyurethane should cure for approximately 4-8 hours, but the exact time depends on the brand.
Practical advice. To prepare large quantities of polyurethane, an accurate electronic scale must be used.The proportions of the components must be controlled to the gram, the physical characteristics of the finished form depend on this.
If possible, make several forms in the same way. After each hardened groove, all surfaces should be covered with an intermediate layer.
The molds are ready, you can start making the artificial stone.
After the polyurethane has cured, disassemble the sides of the box and start taking out the mold.
Dismantling the formwork
Dismantling the walls
If you followed our recommendations carefully, there will be no problem. The mold is removed with great effort - try to cut the polyurethane a little with a sharp assembly knife in the places of gluing. If you find shells and mechanical damage to the front surfaces, do not be discouraged.
Problems can be easily repaired with silicone, buy one tube and repair sinks and damages.
Form for making stones
We have already mentioned that gypsum stones are recommended for interior work. Facade decoration is best done with cement-based materials. To make the mixture, use only clean sieved sand, increase the amount of cement by about 30% in comparison with ordinary masonry mortar. As for the consistency, here the decision should be made individually.
If you have a vibrator, then the solution can be made thicker. The vibrator is easier to work with, and the stone grasps faster. But it is not economically feasible to prepare a special vibrating table for making small quantities of stone. In such cases, the solution must be made thinner, in consistency it should resemble fatty sour cream. You will have to remove air from the stones manually, but the quality will not suffer from this.
Of course, if all the work is done responsibly and not in a hurry.
Cement and bases for mixtures
Practice shows that to ensure the smooth production of artificial stone from a cement-sand mixture, it is necessary to have shapes for approximately one square meter of product.
Step 1. Before pouring, lubricate the inside of the mold with soapy water. Prepare a solution of 1:10.
The concentration of soap can be increased, but not decreased. Use an ordinary household spray bottle to get the job done.
Step 2. Prepare the solution, determine the amount yourself.
Preparation of the solution (with the addition of dye and a pinch of citric acid)
To increase the strength of the artificial stone, it is recommended to add polypropylene fiber to the solution; one or two small pinches are enough for a bucket of solution.Fiber not only increases the strength of the stone, but also minimizes the risk of air pockets, makes the mortar more plastic, and easier to work with. It costs a penny and has no noticeable effect on the final price of the product.
As we said above, the consistency of the mixture depends on the presence of an electric vibrator.
Pour the thoroughly mixed mass into molds. There is a vibrator - turn it on. No device - tap a little with a hammer from the bottom of the desktop. Remember to align the molds horizontally before pouring the mortar. We recommend making a special table for pouring and placing it in the desired position.
Form tinting with pigment
Filling the mold with solution
Leveling the mortar with a spatula
Leave the form until the solution hardens
Practical advice. Don't get carried away by vibration. If the mass is liquid, then during this operation the sand goes down, and this is an extremely undesirable phenomenon.
Step 4. Place the filled molds on prepared racks for mortar maturation.
The number and size of racks depends on the "capacity" of your production.
Step 5. After setting the mass, begin to release the forms.
Freeing stones from shape
Gradually move it to the edge of the countertop, fold down the polypropylene and take out the artificial stone one by one. If the stone is long, then place the form on the table in an upright position, bend the edges and release the stone.
Complete drying can be done outdoors or in any utility room, it all depends on the season and weather conditions. Remember that stones made of this material cannot be dried in direct sunlight; concrete must have time to complete chemical processes in a favorable manner.
There are two ways: add powder dyes in the composition or apply paint to the surface of finished stones. Use iron oxide paints to paint surfaces.
In the photo - powder paint
Iron oxide red pigments
In terms of quality and price, they satisfy users.
If you make a small amount of stones, then you can use multi-colored acrylic pigments, they can be diluted in any primer. The paint adheres well to the surface and has good performance characteristics. It is better to paint with a pneumatic spray gun, if not, work with a brush. Observe three rules:
Paint the base of the stones first, then the seams, the surface decor is done last.
That's all, the material is ready, you can start laying it on the surface of the facade walls. Always remember one rule: there is no practice without theory, and without practice there is never a quality product.
How to paint an artificial stone
Practical advice. Until the paint is completely dry, wipe the surface of the stones with a slightly damp hoe. Due to this, the front side will take on a more natural look, minor mechanical damage will become less noticeable.
To complete the work, you will need a level, a mixer, a grinder with a diamond disc, a rubber mallet, a metal brush, a spatula, a trowel, a tape measure, a container for glue and a primer, a grout gun, wedges to maintain the same width of the joints and a tool for their joining. From consumables, you need to buy glue, primer and grout. The stone is fixed to the plastered facade walls.
Step 1. Clean the surfaces and level them if necessary.
There is no need to level too much, irregularities of several millimeters will be eliminated by glue directly during the laying of the artificial stone.
Step 2. Prime the surfaces thoroughly. Do not skip this operation, a properly selected primer significantly increases the adhesion of the adhesive to the plaster. And for a heavy artificial stone made of cement-sand mortar, this is very important.
Applying a primer to the brick wall
Step 3. Lay the stones on a flat surface in the order in which you plan to record them. During masonry, do not allow abrupt color transitions, select stones taking into account the color scheme and shades. Take the measurements and transfer them to the wall surface.
Lay out the stones before installation
Make a mark on the wall where the stone will be installed. Use the level, carefully check the horizontal lines.
Make the markings
Step 5. Check the back of the stones for laitance, if any - remove with a wire brush. Cement laitance causes poor adhesion.
Step 6. Prepare the glue according to the manufacturer's instructions, mix it thoroughly with a mixer. After stirring, let stand for 5 minutes and stir a little again.
Mix the glue
Step 7. Start laying the stone from the corners.
Apply the glue with a comb trowel. If the surfaces have large irregularities, then increase the thickness of the glue and apply it with a spatula around the entire perimeter of the stone.
Applying adhesive to the wall
Formation of grooves
Start laying the stone from the corners
Practical advice.If the walls are finished in very hot weather, then moisten the back side of the artificial stone with water. Use an ordinary wide brush.
Step 8. Beat the position of each row on the wall, use a blue rope. Lines provide an opportunity to control the process of stone laying. Place or nail planks under the bottom row. The first stones should lie on them, otherwise they will gradually sink down under their own weight.
Try to apply glue to the entire surface of the stone. This is necessary to prevent the appearance of condensation in the voids or the ingress of atmospheric moisture. In winter, the water will freeze, causing individual stones to fall out.
Step 9. Check the position of the tile with a level, press it firmly into the mass.
Laying artificial stone
Do-it-yourself installation of an artificial stone
Practical advice. It is very easy to check the quality of stone laying. Tap it with a wooden mallet or the handle of a screwdriver; a "drum" sound indicates voids. And this is marriage.
Remove the mortar that has appeared in the seams with any available device. If it gets on the front surface, then immediately remove it with a damp cloth. The stone is laid with jointing - remember to use spacers to control the width of the joints. The stone can be laid without seams, but this requires solid practical skills. We do not advise beginners to choose such a complex way of facing the facade walls, put it with gaps.
They allow you to discreetly fix nuts and trim rows of stone.
Wall before jointing
Step 11. After finishing the laying, begin to join the seams. This is an equally important stage, it requires care and accuracy. It is difficult to get to the seams of the artificial stone with your hands; you need to use a special gun.
Such a gun is used to squeeze silicone out of tubes. Buy a cement grout that simulates masonry mortar, insert the tube into the gun, cut the nose at an angle. Apply the grout carefully, avoid gaps, the amount depends on the size of the joints. If you want to visually emphasize the masonry, then use colored grout. The depth of filling the joints is at least five millimeters, this is the only way to guarantee their tightness.
Cooking and putting the grout in a pastry bag
We fill the joints with grout
Step 12. After about an hour, the grout will begin to harden a little, level it with special construction narrow trowels. You should not buy them, make them yourself from a piece of sheet metal, plastic or wood. The main thing is that it fits in width, is flat and easy to use.
Sweep away excess mixture with a brush
After the completion of the work, it is recommended to cover the surfaces of the artificial stone from the cement-sand mixture with a water repellent. After drying, it forms a thin silicone film on the surface, which protects the stone from the effects of atmospheric precipitation, chemical compounds, dust, etc. Treat the surfaces until they no longer absorb the solution. If the surface of the stone is fragile, then cover it not with a brush, but with a spray bottle. You need to know that some protective coatings can slightly change the shade of the stones, carefully read the manufacturer's instructions before purchasing.
Application of water repellent
Application of the solution with a brush is acceptable
This completes the installation work, wash the tools and enjoy the beautiful view of the facade wall.
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