Disguise a concrete well cover with a thin hypertufa "millstone"?

lceh(7)January 31, 2014

We have a 36" diameter concrete well cover right next to the house and path, and it's boring and ugly. I've racked my brain for several years to think how I can disguise it but I can't come up with anything. I've seen lots of hypertufa millstone projects, and it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I could disguise it as a millstone. Would it work to put a thin coat of hypertufa on it and carve grooves to make a faux-millstone that still allows the cover to be lifted off if the well needs to be serviced? How thick of a "skim coat" of hypertufa would that require? I'd have to fake the hole in the center but perhaps an indentation would be good enough. Has anyone done this? I'd love any and all advice, I am a newbie but I'm excited about the possibility of dealing with this ugly thing in an attractive way.

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billie_ann(6b PA)

Thanks for being smart enough to post what zone you are in. People don't realize that it helps in giving suggestions.

I've never done this but have added a thick covering to a friend's retaining wall. It can be done but don't know how well it would hold up. It can also add considerable weight depending on the mix you use. If the cover has to be removed there's the possibility of cracking. I thought maybe tiles in your zone but that could have a cracking problem if you have to remove cover. I think even weather (after the Winter cold we've had this year in southern US) could cause tiles to pop off in your zone.
What about painting or staining the cover a color to blend in or standout and top with a planter. You could make a planter yourself from hypertufa or buy a fiberglas one and plant with a tree, shrub, perennials or annuals. The planter could easily be removed if you have to remove the cover. If you go with a planter make sure it can stand your winter's. All cement based planters in a freeze/thaw zone either need to be planted with a tree/shrub or left in place, dry soil completely and covered with heavy plastic to keep out water or emptied of potting soil, turned up side down.
One of my neighbor's made a small wooden wishing well and placed on top of his well cover. He plants annuals in the wishing well bucket. Hope you find a solution.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 9:35AM
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Hi Billie_ann,
Thanks for the advice! I've toyed with the idea of a (big) potted plant/tree or maybe even a waterlily pool in a tub that could be emptied and moved if necessary. Do you have a favorite stain product I could use to at least age the thing a bit? Your thoughts about the weight and possible cracking of a hypertufa coating are well taken, perhaps it's not such a great idea after all. That's just why I posted in fact, so thanks for your input!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 9:12PM
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billie_ann(6b PA)

I use a commercial stain but someone (Dena I think) on this forum.........a long time ago had suggested using exterior latex paint. You can thin it with water. It's also less expense then some of the specialty concrete paints and stains. Some concrete artists that are banned from this site use(d) exterior latex paint. Make sure your well cover is clean and dry before painting. I'm pretty sure there's a great thread still on the hypetufa site about "color" or "staining" or "painting". You may want to search here.
Just had a thought, what about a stencil job on the top and sides. You could paint overall then apply a different color to your stencil area.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:01PM
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