Personally, I’ve always been attracted to stonework of all kinds. Whether it’s a cobblestone driveway, a fireplace made from river rock, or a ledge stone wall, I think that stonework adds beauty and interest to a home. Given that stonework can cost upwards of twelve dollars a square foot, however, I’ve never been able to afford to remodel my home using the stones, rocks, and tiles that so attract me.

Then I ran across an article about concrete paver molds, and discovered that there’s a new trend in home improvement: making your own, custom colored, concrete stones, rocks, tiles, and bricks. I’ve tried it, and with the right preparation and instructions, have found that I can make my own building materials for just pennies. In a nutshell, here’s how it works….

Concrete Molds

First, you need to start with high quality concrete molds (although some people call them cement molds or plaster molds). There are companies that make concrete stone molds, patio molds, concrete paver molds, stone veneer molds, and brick veneer molds. Depending on the type of stone or tile, the mold may cover an area ranging from about four square feet to about seven square feet. A ledge stone mold, for example, may produce 16 ledge stones, while a river rock mold may produce 12 river rocks. Ideally, you should buy several molds so that you have a rocks or stones with a variety of appearances. Keep in mind, though, that you can use different colors or turn stones in different direction so that it doesn’t look like you’re using duplicate stone or rock shapes.

Preparing Concrete Molds

Once you have your concrete molds and are ready to begin your project, you need to apply a mold release product so you can easily take out the stones, tiles, or bricks when they’re finished. While some companies recommend using motor oil, the run off is bad for the environment. Some of the newer mold release products can be sprayed into theconcrete molds with a spray bottle – a much preferable method.

Mixing Colors

The artistry in making your own concrete rocks, tiles, and bricks is in finding and mixing the colors you like. Initially, you mix a base color into a concrete and sand mixture. Once you have this base color, you can add additional amounts and combinations of color to give you the variety you seek. Indeed, you can create an infinite variety of colors simply by adjusting the color densities. The best colors are made from synthetic iron oxides, although some people have had success with natural oxides, ceramic stains, and even latex paint.

Concrete Pouring and Curing

Your concrete mixture should be relatively stiff and not soupy. Using a scoop, you pour the concrete mixture into theconcrete paver molds and fill the mold to the top. If you simply want a veneer stone or tile, you can partially fill the mold.

If you’ve ever worked with concrete, you know that it’s important to get all of the air bubbles out after a pour. This can be accomplished by bouncing the concrete stone molds up and down, or by purchasing and using a vibrating table. Next, cover the mold in plastic and let it rest out of the direct sunlight.

The longer you let the concrete cure, the stronger it will be. The concrete molds and be unmolded after 24 hours, but it’s best to wait longer. Once you release the stones, tiles, or bricks, you should rewrap them in plastic to preserve the moisture and let them cure for an additional two weeks. Then, you simply have to apply sealant to your creations, and they’ll be ready to install.

As with any do-it-yourself project, you may decide ahead of time or worse, realize along the way that you may need local Raleigh, NC concrete professional to help you out. Just call and let them know what you need and if they can’t help you out they will point you in the right direction.

I’ve discovered that able to create a beautiful stone pathway, tile entryway, or river rock fireplace is incredibly rewarding. And to think that it all started when I read an article about concrete paver molds.

Electricians working together to install a breaker panel. Models are actual electricians - all work is performed according to industry standard code and safety practices.

Have you been thinking of getting your property totally rewired? By replacing your electric wiring, particularly if you’ve got an older house, which I personally am working on right now, you can save a bit on your actual electric bills andd are able to make your house safer. Occasionally, even newer houses may reap the benefits of going in and redoing some wiring. This can actually be a fairly beneficial mod to make to ANY home – young or old.

Enhance security. Old wiring includes numerous challenges. While you can maybe turn your head to an electric short, this is NOT a good thing to do. I remember in a few different houses over the years growing up, we knew not to touch certain things – or get that little twinge. Having grown up in farmland, and experience a good jolt from an electric fence more than once, I knew exactly what the little twinge meant. I didn’t know enough in those days to know it really SHOULD have been fixed, but I did know enough to not go and touch it LOL. Electric shorts frequently cause harms that are serious and house fires. Occasionally, bad wiring can destroy your electric appliances and parts inducing you to spend far more cash on replacing them. Light bulbs going out far too frequently? That’s often one of the indications that you’ve got some issues with your wiring. The last rental home I lived in had some sort of issue with the range and range light – it would last about two weeks.  Kept thinking it must be just bad bulbs, but after replacing the bulb a half dozen times in just a few months, it became evident that there were issues there.  I just gave up replacing it.

wiring in your unpermitted space

wiring in your unpermitted space

Many times, people don’t really spend much effort on wiring in their unpermitted space projects. Now, just because you don’t have an inspector breathing down your neck on these things, does NOT mean that you should ever cut corners on electric.  You SHOULD be bringing in a certified electrician regardless.  Yes, it might be cheaper to to do it yourself – it’s not exactly rocket science, but… Doing it right can be the difference between safe, efficient power and a smoking pile of “used to be” house.

Update to a system that is better. The kind of electric wiring which was in use years past may not be safe now. Updating your wiring can allow you to stay informed about safety standards. Actually, there are laws that regulate the kind of wiring that’s okay in commercial and residential properties. Updating your house’s wiring to a modern system can allow it to be much more efficient and safer.

Foster electric efficiency. Electricity is electricity is electricity, BUT… If you have shorts, or weak connections, you could definitely be losing energy efficiency as well as setting yourself up for a nasty little electrical fire. Many dwellings will have problems with energy losses due to old, defective and/or worn out wiring. While it may sound expensive to to rewire a house, in a good number of cases, overall home efficiency can be improved and savings realized not too far down the road. You can find good electrical contractors in your area. Taking a step to update the wiring of your house is one solution that is simple to turn your property more energy efficient, as well as overall greener for the environment.

Foster property worth. No one desires to stay in a house which has electric parts and old wiring. Having an electrician replace the one which is worn out and install appropriate wiring can make your house more appealing to possible buyers. You’re capable to supply an efficient and much safer property to anybody who’s interested in purchasing your house.