Bird baths add value to a garden. The bird bath itself is a nice piece of decoration to any yard. But with the birds swooping down into it, it makes the yard more beautiful. What makes a bird bath not valuable? When it leaks. And if it is made of concrete, that is quite the headache. In this post, I will show you how to seal a leaking concrete bird bath and still maintain its value. My techniques ensure that the repairs will last, bringing back the bird bath to its former glory.
Bird baths tend to crack after going through a freezing then thawing cycle. The cracks form because concrete is porous – it has pores or holes. Water gets into the depths of the concrete. Then, it freezes come wintertime. When water freezes, it expands until it strains the concrete to its limits. Come springtime, you will notice the cracks on the concrete bird bath.
First things first, gather all the materials you will need for your work.
The concrete cleaner will ensure the efficacy of the sealants you will use for the cracks on the bird bath. I suggest getting an acidic concrete cleaner to get the best clean for your bird bath. An acidic concrete cleaner will take care of stains, dirt, and substances that may have seeped into the pores of the concrete. Its acidic contents will dissolve substances.
With an acidic concrete cleaner, you are hitting two birds (please don’t hit birds) with one stone. You are cleaning the bird bath thoroughly in the process of repairing its cracks.
Warm water activates concrete cleaners. Also, the hotter the water is, the more effective it is at cleaning concrete bird baths. However, since you will have physical contact with the water, don’t make it too hot.
A scrub brush will take care of unwanted dirt in the concrete bird bath that the concrete cleaner can’t dissolve. A scrub brush is also ideal for removing the barely-holding on bits of concrete around the cracks. It is better to remove those bits of concrete that let them compromise the integrity of the whole bird bath after the repair.
Sealing or Epoxy Paint and Paint Brush
The concrete sealing or epoxy paint will take care of hairline cracks on the concrete bird bath. You can get sealers or epoxy paints from any home remodeling center or hardware store. I will advise you to check the toxicity of the paint you will use. Keep in mind the health and safety of the birds which will use the bird bath.
Polyester Resin and Cream Hardener
These final materials are not always necessary. If the concrete bird bath has a large gaping hole, then you will need it. Instead of using concrete to cover up the hole, you can use polyester resin and hardening cream. They are cheaper and easier to use but no less effective.
How to Seal a Leaking Concrete Bird Bath: A Step-By-Step Guide
Clean the Bird Bath
First things first, drain the bird bath of all its water contents. Then fill a bucket with warm water mixed with the appropriate amount of concrete cleaner. The concrete cleaner container should tell you how much to put into how much water. Some concrete cleaners will not require water.
Pour half of the bucket’s cleaner mixture into the bird bath and scrub the bath clean. Dump the mixture out, then use the other half of the cleaner mixture to wash the bowl again.
Rinse the bird bath thoroughly with water and let it dry for two days. You have to wait for two days so that the water that seeped into the concrete will also dry out. They will compromise the efficacy of the sealants if they do not dry.
Paint on the Sealant or Epoxy Paint
Brush on a light coat of concrete sealing paint or epoxy paint to cover the entire bowl. Make sure that they don’t puddle on the bottom of the bowl – that will create a weak site. Brush a second coat of the paint on the bird bath and let it dry for 24 hours or however long the paint instruction says.
Make sure that the paint is dry before introducing the bird bath to water. A totally dried-up sealant bonds the concrete most effectively.
Repair Big Cracks
To repair big cracks, mix a golf ball-sized amount of the polyester resin and a dime-sized amount of cream hardener. Use a plastic spreader to mix the products.
Use the plastic spreader to scoop the resin mixture and spread it over the cracks. If the resin sinks into the gap, apply another scoop to the gap. Be quick about applying the resin mixture to the cracks, though. Once you mix the resin and cream hardener, your time to use the mixture is limited.
Let the mixture dry on the cracks, then use sandpaper to smoothen it out. After smoothing out the kinks, you can apply another layer of concrete sealing paint or epoxy paint for good measure. Applying sealants prevent more cracks from forming in the future because water can’t seep into the concrete.
Fill the Bird Bath with Clean Water
The final step is to fill the bird bath with clean water. If your repairs are done right, there should be no leak in the concrete bird bath.
Here’s a summary of how to seal a leaking concrete bird bath. Clean the bird bath using a brush and a mixture of acidic concrete cleaner and warm water. To repair hairline or small cracks, coat the entire bird bath with concrete sealing paint or epoxy paint twice.
Make sure to avoid a puddle forming. If you have to repair large gaping holes, use a mixture of polyester resin and cream hardener.