Guide to Manufactured Concrete Stone Finishing Techniques Made with Molds, or Moulds

Concrete Finishing and Coloring Techniques for Stone, Tile, Pavers and Bricks Made with Moulds


Olde World Molds:
The molds that we offer are of a special, .060, high-impact ABS rubberized plastic which adapts well to this process, and is designed to last for over 100+ pours. The mold release or oil used with these molds doesn't always release evenly when used with this particular kind of plastic. Because of that, we've been able to create a technique that allows slight discoloration within each tile… this is normally desirable and is what gives our stone and tile the natural, hand-made qualities. This lets you to create a variation in the shades of color, which aesthetically, can be very unique and beneficial to the “custom” look of the stone or tile.

Safety Measures:
Please wear safety glasses, rubber gloves, and a dust mask when making stone or tile, or handling additives, colorant, sealers, etc. If you get cement splashed into your eyes, even though it is not an acid, it is highly alkaline and can burn your eyes, so also keep eyewash around. The gloves to wear should be chemical resistant and 18" long, to the elbow. The glove fingers should fit snugly. The facemask is basically to prevent breathing in concrete and colorant dust.

Mold Release Spraying Technique:
We have found that inexpensive "pump" sprayers (plant misters) work well and offer control of the over-spray. They can be purchased in almost any “dollar” type store inexpensively. Just fill the bottle with your mold release oil, spray and wipe. Hold the sprayer bottle at a 90-degree angle to the surface that you are spraying, so it sprays straight ahead onto the molds interior surface. Generally, spray twelve inches from the mold surface, hitting all four corners of a square 12" mold. When doing sculpture molds, 4" x 4"s or any of the smaller molds, line them up flat on the table, over-lapping all of the edges. This way you will not spray the excess on the table. Spray these rows with one short squeeze for each mold. The same is true for stone molds, depending on their size.

Wiping the Mold Release From the Molds:
We recommend using a "tee shirt" type of rag, or a fine-mesh sponge, similar to that used to apply water-based sealers, to wipe out your molds. These are also available in your local “dollar” type store for $1.00 a package of ten or so. Tee shirt rags have the proper absorbency to them and they leave a nice even coating of mold release after wiping. When you wipe, put the rag over the whole of your hand. Have your fingers pointing out toward the corners and the edge of the tile mold. Wipe around the interior perimeter, and up the sides of the mold. Wipe in a circular motion, ending with a stroke in the center. When using a sponge, make sure you do not leave too much of the mold release in the corners of the molds. If doing a number of molds, periodically squeeze any excess oil out of the sponge or application cloth.

You don't really pull the rag… it's more of a dabbing motion. If you leave an excess amount of the mold release (puddles) in the mold, not only will it possibly leave holes or voids on the perimeters or the face of the stone or tile, you can also end up with a darkened orange peel kind of a surface that you can see the next day when you remove the stone or tile from the mold. By wiping with the rag down to the right thickness, you can be a little sloppy when spraying. Better to have too little oil left in the mold… than too much. If you don't spray enough mold release initially, the faces of the stone or tile, or the corners and deeper depressions in the mold, may start to stick after awhile. It's better to spray too much oil and wipe the excess out, than to spray not enough.

Bubbles on the Face of Your Stone and Tile:
Suppose everything went great the day you made your stone or tile. But the next day, when you pulled the finished product from the molds, the surfaces all along the perimeter and around the corners have bubbles on the face! In the case of “stone”… this is not much of a concern. All man-made stone, and some made by Mother Nature, have bubbles or voids on the surface. Trust me, no one will even notice the minor voids on stone.

In the case of tile… there can be several reasons for the bubbles. Consistency of the mix - it may have been too thick. Not enough vibration - bouncing of the mold. Too much vibration - you bounced bubbles into your tile. Too much mold release - you didn't wipe into the corners and edges to make sure you got it all out. You left your molds too long between applying mold release and pouring your stone or tile. The release settles into the low parts of the mold. Too cold a mix temperature can also cause bubbles. Another possible cause for bubbles on the face of the tile is that your aggregate size doesn't have enough fines in it, (very seldom the problem).

Accelerated Drying Will Crack Your Tile:
Under no circumstances should you force dry tiles or stone by blowing a fan on them, putting them in the sun to dry, or use any other artificial drying method. The stone and tile needs moisture for curing. The only method for accelerating the curing process is through steam curing, which involves expensive equipment, etc. Also, be careful not to place your filled molds where there are breezes present. Always cover your filled molds, and new stone or tile that has just been demolded, with plastic. DRYING IS NOT CURING.

Demolding Your Stone & Tile:
Put your thumb on the bottom side of the mold, your four fingers on the mold's top, turn it over onto a table or other flat surface very gently. Put cardboard on the surface as a cushion. With a rocking motion, hold the right hand on the right corner and the left hand on the left corner of a mold, and rock it back and forth. This should free the tile or stone from the mold. If need be, slight pressure can be put on the center of the mold.

Care should be taken when you peel the mold off. The corners will eventually break down, and the center along the edge of the mold will start bowing out if you de-mold improperly.
Never "bend" or "twist" a mold to get the stone or tile out.
Never place one mold inside of the other and press down, or pile a lot of other molds on top.
Never touch the face of your tile with your fingers if at all possible, as It may leave an oil mark on the tile.

Color Shifting and Framing Technique:
If you wish to have more of a shift in color between tiles or stones, or within them, there are a number of ways to do this. One method is by varying the colorant in the mix; (up to 20% in either direction will give the same general color but will be darker or lighter in tone). Another method is to seal the stone or tile immediately upon demolding. This will lock in, and give you more variances in the existing shading.

The third method is “aesthetically” the most pleasing to the eye in many peoples opinion. It can be used with most tile, and many of the flatter surface stones. Rather than putting the stone or tile aside to cure in the normal fashion, (covering with plastic), stand them on their edges, face-to-face, back to back. Try to have as much of the facial surfaces touching each other as possible. This technique is called "framing" because of the picture frame effect you get. It works best with a smoother surface stone or tile. You'll get a random shading effect from the middle out. You still want to be sure to cover the rows of stone or tile that are on their edges with plastic sheeting to retain the moisture and aid curing.

IN ALL CASES, WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU ALWAYS TEST A PRODUCT YOURSELF!
SPECIFIC CONDITIONS MAY VARY FROM LOCATION TO LOCATION.

Remember… This is a hand-made, custom product. It is desirable to have a certain amount of what some might consider “defects”. These add character to your stone, bricks, pavers, or tile. Just be sure that the “character” you are getting, is within your guidelines. Don't be too anal. Look at other hand-made products… the unique nature of the individual pieces is what makes the product unique!

Should you need molds or moulds, colorant, concrete sealer, stains, or other concrete, cement, or plaster supplies for your handyman or home improvement project, please visit our catalogue website at www.TheMoldStore.com or our shopping cart website at http://www.TheMoldStore.us  to get ideas.  If you are interested in starting a concrete stone and veneer, or concrete and cement paver, brick or tile business, visit our Olde World Stone & Tile Business Opportunity website at www.Oldeworld.com for full details, instructions and various stone making and other concrete product making packages.  We also offer D-I-Y Packages in our catalogue and on our shopping cart websites.

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