Frequently Asked Questions

1How many molds can I fill with an 80 lb. bag of premix concrete?
The easiest way to figure an approximate yield per bag is to multiply the approximate width of the mold, by the length of the mold, by the depth you will be pouring the mold. That will give you the cubic inches of concrete needed to fill the mold. An 80 lb. bag of premix concrete yields 1,036.8 cubic inches of concrete or 0.6 cubic feet. How much water and the brand of concrete you use may affect the yield results, but these figures should give you a yield that is pretty close.
2How many 6" x 6" x 1/2" tiles can I make with an 80 lb. bag of premix concrete?
To find the yield from an 80 lb. bag of premix concrete for this, or any other size mold, use the following formula: Length x width x depth of mold. In this example of a 6" x 6" x 1/2" tile mold, (6 x 6 = 36 x .5) = 18 cubic inches. Divide the cubic inches into 1,036.8 (Cubic inch yield in an 80 lb. bag of premix). That will yield 57.6 tiles that are 6" x 6" x 1/2" from each bag of premix. To take that further... you can divide that number of tiles by four to get the square foot area covered per bag. Since there are four 6" x 6" tiles per square foot, your square foot coverage yield per bag at 1/2" thick would be 14.4 square feet. If you are pouring stone that is 1" thick, it would yield you just over 7 square feet of area, depending on the spacing.
3How will manufactured stone and concrete tile hold up outside in very cold climates?
The proprietary mix formula includes air-entrainment agents to help prevent product breakdown under freeze-thaw conditions like those found in northern climates. The formula can be adjusted for extreme conditions and special applications as well. The use of concrete sealers helps seal out moisture also. The use of our #219 and #253 Additive allows you to use less water, thus making a stronger denser mix and denser, stronger stones. Water in concrete is the enemy...the less...the better.
4What are the molds made of, and how long will they last?
Most of our molds are made with a special high-impact, .060, virgin, rubberized ABS plastic for strength, flexibility and durability. If cared for per our instructions, they will last hundreds of pours, depending on the style and size of the mold. Should they start to crack in the corners, they can be repaired. In many cases, as with stone molds, any small cracks will enhance the appearance of the stone. While rubber molds may last longer than plastic molds in theory, the rubber molds wear faster, losing their finer textures. The initial cost is quite a bit higher, which could equate to costing up to thirty or forty times more money to get started in a commercial business scenario. We may be adding rubber corner molds shortly, but currently offer a corner "wedge" that allows you to make corner stones with flat molds, saving you a lot of money on initial costs.
5How much does concrete tile weigh, and how thick is it?
An average 12"x 12" tile weighs about four pounds. That weight for tile is based on the recommended thickness of between 3/8" and 5/8", with 1/2" being the ideal standard. The tiles can be poured thinner or thicker, depending on the application. (Vertical walls vs. stepping stones). Stone is proportionately more, unless a light-weight or medium-weight concrete formula is used by using light-weight aggregates in the mix. Those formulas are readily available on our "Instructions and Training" website.
6How many styles, sizes, types of molds are available for production?
There are currently over 200 different styles and sizes of molds for both stone & tile, and new styles and sizes are added constantly. We also have the ability to make custom mold styles for our Producers, should they get a special request for a specific style or size of tile or stone from a customer. The cost may be waived if the item is something that can be marketed to our other customers.
7What is the life expectancy of concrete stone and tile products?
The expected useful life is one-hundred years plus. Stone products have been used for thousands of years, with many of the mortared stone roads of ancient Rome still being used. We recommend that our Producers offer a minimum twenty-year warranty on their products produced to specification.
8Is a kiln or other heat source needed to manufacture concrete stone or tile?
No kiln or other high-energy heat source is needed. Concrete stone and tile is cured via a simple method that you will learn in your training manual for commercial applications. For the do-it-yourselfer, you just cover the poured mold with plastic to retard the drying, and maintain the moisture needed. You want the concrete to stay hydrated for as long as possible, as it makes the concrete stronger.
9How is the "glazed" look achieved if there is no kiln used to fire the tile?
The various finishes are created after the raw manufacturing process through the use of various sealers. The "sheen" is determined by the sealers used, and range from a flat "stone" finish (StoneKote), to an ultra-glazed finish (GlazeKote). The installation and customer preferences determine which sealers are used.
10How much does concrete stone and brick weigh?
In the case of our stone, the weight can be anywhere between four pounds per square foot, down to about a third or less of that. We teach you how to make a number of different stone formulas, depending on where they will be used. We normally will use a light-weight aggregate to lessen the weight when the stone is being used for a vertical application like walls. When it is to be used for a walking or driving surface, we use our standard 4,000-6,000+ psi mix for added strength.
11What are your future plans for molds?
We plan to continue to add stone facing, paver, steppingstone, and veneer molds to the line. This will allow our producers to continue to offer new styles of stone for fireplaces, walls, walks, and any number of other different applications. The difference in the "value added" versus "actual cost" of the stone to builders and homeowners is staggering! And the stone or tile will still be there for their great-great-grandchildren to enjoy and admire. The stone made by dad or grandpa could be his legacy.
12Why are your plastic molds so inexpensive compared to some other companies?
The main reason is that we have very low overhead. We purchase our materials in large quantities and have had long, ongoing relationships with most of our suppliers. We are a small, self-funded company... which means we owe no one anything. We own our equipment and all inventory and are family run. We keep our profit margins very conservative and grow and expand only as we can afford to. Thus...we are able to remain extremely competitive in our pricing while offering a superior product. We do business the old fashioned way...or should I say "Olde" way. We are one of the few companies that can honestly say that "our success is truly based on our customers' success." The more successful they are, the more molds they will need, and the more molds we will sell. That's one of the reasons we work so hard to help you succeed. And let's not overlook word of mouth referrals since we started in January of 1992.
13Why do you use the word "Nominal" when referring to your stone and tile sizes?
We use the word nominal, meaning "in name only," or "approximate" due in part to the varying sizes in some mold shapes. In the case of many of our molds which are various shapes, where should we measure without misleading people, or throwing them off? If I were to measure to the "outside" of the mold, where would that be... the absolute widest part of the mold, or where "most" of the mold falls if you were to draw a straight line along the edge? The accepted method is where the bulk of the outside line is. For instance, with the P-972 Paver mold, it's fairly cut and dry because the edges are fairly straight. We do offer outside edge measurements for some stone molds.

Basically, the use of the word "nominal" makes descriptions easier and is why in the industry it is normally used and accepted. Unfortunately, in the lumber industry, they have taken advantage of the time-accepted term and used it to benefit their profit margins instead of out of necessity. As an example, a 2x4 wood stud used to actually be 2"x4". Now it is closer to 1.5"x3.5". They reversed the reasoning...not to make it easier to describe, but for the purpose of getting more saleable lumber out of each tree. The 2x4 started out as 2"x4", and they've slowly shaved it down to 1.5"x3.5" to make more money. So the consumer actually gets "cheated" out of a full 2x4.

We provide FREE basic instructions in the various techniques used to achieve a custom-colored tile or stone. But other than base colors, you will have to experiment a bit. Though we would love to be able to... we cannot provide a formula for a color that is in your head. Color is subjective. As such, what you might refer to as a "pink" color, we might perceive as a "rose" color. Our "powder blue," might be your "light blue," etc. For that reason, we can only give you some "base" color formulas and guidance. You will have to make adjustments and changes from those formulas to get exactly what you see in your "mind's eye." Sorry, we cannot be of more help than that. Be sure to take notes, and use actual "weight" not "volume" when measuring colors.