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BUILD A BETTER LIFE! Get our New FREE PDF on How To Ferrocement!

 
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If you've ever wanted to learn how to Ferrocement, it's an incredibly beautiful way to sculpt durable, low-cost structures like patios, stairs, fire pits, underground greenhouses, retaining walls, cisterns, swimming pools and even entire buildings. It uses far less concrete than similar traditional structures and is a skill almost anyone can acquire. In this tutorial we will show you how to start with a simple project like stepping stones, and learn the same skills that apply to more complex structures.
Log into our site to post Q's, Comments or Share your own Ferrocement Projects with us.

Go to www.creative-oasis.com and sign in to get your FREE Download.





 
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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Great, just today the guys in charge of construction here were discussing a ferrocement project, and I realised we don't know quite what we're doing. We've had an irrigation pond for years, that has a plastic liner and blah blah blah and it keeps getting holes. So the guys are planning to just plaster the whole inside with ferrocement. Today they bought a whole lot of chicken-wire. It's a cold-winter climate so I'm afraid that normal cement will crumble due to freeze-thaw cycles, so they decided to spend a little extra and get waterproof cement. We don't have to keep water in it in winter since there's no need for irrigation then, but there will always be moisture and precipitation, I think.

What do you think? Will ferrocement using supposedly waterproof cement make a reasonably durable pond in a freeze-thaw climate?

And now I'm off to download your pdf, thanks!
 
Kristie Harper
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Hi Rebecca,

I've never used the "waterproof cement"- I'm not sure what the waterproofing agent is, but regular ferrocement is already waterproofed (especially when you finish it with a layer of cement wash- water + straight cement).

Here's a clip from Ferrocement Educational Network about freezing:

"...In some cold areas of the country people will leave water in their swimming pool over the winter knowing that it will freeze, at least for some inches or feet. You see, If they take the water out of the pool the ground will freeze on the outside and with no ice inside to resist it will crack the concrete pool. To be sure that doesn't happen they will throw a length of telephone pole or other large wooden object in the water before freezing starts and this relieves the stresses enough from the ice inside the pool that the pool doesn't crack..." I'm not exactly sure how the pole relieves tension- I've never had anything that big (that I would throw a telephone pole in it), but it's worth a try for the winter.

I would definitely lean toward keeping water inside it during the winter to balance the ground freeze force from underneath. Also, FOR SURE, I would use stronger metal reinforment than chicken wire if you are looking for durability! Hardware cloth, flexible items like fiberglass mesh, metal diamond lath, pencil rebar, etc. The cement binds to the Metal Armature, and the structure is only as strong as the Armature. They can definitely withstand freezing if done right.

Best to you with your project!
 
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I'm curious about three things regarding ferrocement:
-Would it work with a soilcrete mixture?
-Are there people using basalt mesh instead of metal?
-Are there examples of using aluminum silicate cement instead of Portland cement?

I'll be checking out that download, thanks for posting!
 
Kristie Harper
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Soilcrete appears to be more for a thick application like soil stabilization.

Ferrocement is all about a VERY thin application of cement to a framework (armature). The framework provides the strength and concrete adheres the whole thing together providing an impermeable (and extremely durable) barrier. I don't think soilcrete would hold up well in this type of application.

Basalt mesh would most DEFINITELY be a good armature.

I'm not familiar with aluminum silicate cement. A good trial would be to create stepping stones out of both and test durability. I'd love to see results of that if you do any trials!
 
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