need some help with a bird bath

ellagraceAugust 3, 2008

Hi everyone, I'm new to this site, and after browsing the web for about 6 hours, I thought your site had some of the best information i found on the web.

I own a pottery studio and am just getting into mosaics, and have done indoor mosaics with out a problem. BUT I have a school that wants me to mosaic a bird bath with the kids.

I bought a great basin and stand from lowes for a great price! My question is what do I seal the concrete with before I mosaic on it? some sites I've seen mixtures of wellbond but I'm not comfortable with that. If you can give me a specific brand of concrete sealant that would be great.

Also we are in freezing climates, so we were going to use vitrious glass tile and pool grade porcelian tile so it would hold up during the winter months. So what kind of glue should i use, thin set? What brand is best?

Lastly....this thing should be sealed after grouting what kind of sealant do you recommend?

I so appreciate any advice you can give me! This is going to be quite an undertaking. We are also doing a mosaic poker table....that's going to be really interesting! Talk about time consuming stuff!

Thanks again!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

G'mornin' ELLA: You don't really need to seal concrete to mosaic it - only spritz it w/water while you're laying on the THINSET. I use Lowes Mapei polymer-modified mortar (UltraFlex 2) for adhesive and also the same for the grout for all outside pieces. DO NOT USE WELDBOND. The only disaster I have had was in my early days of mosaicing. I sealed a terra cotta pot w/Weldbond. The first winter, I took the plants out of the pot, but forgot to do that last winter, and all the pieces fell off. Everything I've used the mortar on is still intact. IMO - sealing after it's grouted isn't necessary either on the concrete and the concrete-based mortar. I only seal to change the look of the grout from dull to glossy. IF you feel more comfortable w/sealing your concrete, Quickcrete has a sealer - or DryLoc. Check w/your tile store for other advice. You can also call Mapei's 800 number to get info. I did, and they were great. As long as Lowes carries it, that's my favorite cuz it already has the admixture in it - just mix it w/water to cake-batter consistency - it's a wonderful adhesive. I use it for grout to ensure adhesion to sort make it all one unit. Hope this helps, and WELCOME to the forum.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 9:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What about changing the color of the thinset/mortar, for grouting purposes, is there any colorant you can add to it? I'd like the grout to be black.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 9:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lowes has liquid colorant is several colors - charcoal is the one I've used. It is very dark, and I used it last, I think, on my Riana birdbath. You can use lots of it to make it almost black. cuz it's very strong. Delphi has powered colorants, Tints All has colorants - Google for other places.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 1:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you live in an area that freezes, you really need to bring the birdbath inside for the winter. No matter what you do, the tiles can pop off as the piece expands and contracts in the cold.

That being said, I did a birdbath last spring and it is holding up great. I did mine on a terra cotta saucer, but the process should still be the same.

I started with a 14" terra cotta saucer like the ones that go underneath clay pots. I rinsed it out and made sure it was free of debris. After it dried, I applied three coats of a penetrating sealer for tile and grout. The one I am using has a 5-year warranty and is a matte finish. There are many products on the market that have a 20-year warranty but they are much more expensive and since I am new to this, I didn't want to go to the extra expense right now.

A couple of days after I applied the sealer I adhered the tiles with a pre-mixed concrete patch. Since I was working in the house I didn't want to try and mix my own mortar or thinset. I used the indirect method by designing it on contact paper first then laying it in the bottom of the saucer after I put a thin layer of the concrete patch on the bottom. I used vitreous glass tiles with some light blue glass nuggets in the center. I kept the design very simple as I was not in the mood to cut a bunch of tiles.

After three days of letting the adhesive dry, I grouted it with a gray sanded grout using Admix as the liquid. I sealed it with the same matte finish penetrating sealer after the grout cured for several days.

I think the most important thing is that the adhesive and the grout have sufficient time to set before use. Good luck with your project.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 2:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Glad to have you about! You'll always get good information with some smiles here. Welcome!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 3:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't want to be disagreeable, but I'm inclined to think that if your birdbath is concrete, and you use cement-based adhesive/grout, it should withstand the cold climate. We learned in Riana's workshop that her sculptures are made of the wire mesh and concrete, and she says it w/hold up in ANY climate. She lives in Wisconsin, and I think that's the ultimate test.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 7:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Slow, do you also just use the Mapei on terracotta, for base and grout, like on the chimney liner or pots ..ALL outside things? I'm in FL, so HEAT is the issue here, and rain..I need to go to Lowes tomorrow so thought I'd check before I buy..thanks Debbie

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 9:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, DEB: I use it on ALL ouside things, including terra cotta. The tower in my "Tower Installation" is made of chimney liners. The only thing I've had to lose it's tiles was the pot on which I used Weldbond to seal. DON'T use Weldbond on ANYTHING for outside. The cement-based mortar and grout is the ONLY thing, IMO, to use for outside use. The pots I mosaiced near my swing patio were not sealed at all - inside or out, and they've held up almost two yrs. My advice to you now b/f you buy is to get Mapei's 800 no. off the net, call them and discuss their mortar and grouts. You CAN use the regular sanded grout for outside, I just like to give things an extra insurance by using the mortar as grout too.
Check out my album "My Queendom" to see the two patio pots.
Link to my album

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 8:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Silly question... when you seal the grout in a birdbath,,,, do you seal the tiles also? or must I be
careful not to paint the tiles, only the grout?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 10:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Slather on the sealer, and w/some sealers, you wipe it off the tiles. It'll soak into the grout. I use Tile Lab, and leave it on everything.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 8:10AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Wonder Horse... getting started!
A couple weeks ago I introduced myself to you all and...
Help! Newbie Ballchain
Hi everyone new here! I want to incorporate ball chain...
Gold Kinky Boots
Now I'm blinging out the master bath. My poor hubby...
Outdoor Thermometer
Did this to go on our porch next to the kitchen door....
Sponsored Products
Aquatica Pool Solo-Wht Freestanding Lucite with Microban Acrylic Tub, Wood Panel
Modern Bathroom
Small Tiffany Accent Table Lamps for Bedroom
Safavieh Handmade Moroccan Cambridge Silver Wool Rug
Bover | Amphora 03 Floor Lamp
Grill Daddy King Tong
$34.95 | FRONTGATE
Swiss Alps Art Print
$28.99 | Dot & Bo
Vintage Robe Hook
Signature Hardware
Set of 2 Victoria Style Ghost Dining Chair Smoke Color
eModern Decor
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™