Please Help Me Save Cracked Cement Statue

treehugger101May 2, 2013

I have a cement statue I really love. It has hairline and deeper cracks all over. It also has a challenge in that it is covered in some sort of brown moss that cannot be felt but has changed the color over most of the statue to a lovely brown. The cement statue repair suggestions online say to bleach and water the statue until you have bare cement. Well, I did that but it is still brown. So I cannot use a concrete filler or there would be grey cracks all over the brown statue. She is also extremely detailed so no chance of using a trowel of anything like that. I don't know if this is the right forum for this but I really need help in saving my little French Girl. Any ideas folks?

This post was edited by treehugger100 on Sun, May 19, 13 at 18:19

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lola-lemon(5b East WA)

Go to your hardware store (Home Depot, Lowes, Ace) and see what they have for driveway or foundation crack repair. There is probably a clear product, or even something you could tint (if it's like elmers).
But keep in mind it probably will show anyway. I used clear Silicon caulk to exclude water from a hairline crack in the parge coat on my foundation. It made a dark finger sized stripe (like vaseline) where it was applied-- so it wasn't perfect. Then the next year I had a mason reparge it- but he could not match it to the rest of the foundation. Erg.

I have thought about trying something they do on repairing antique furniture. If there is an obvious imperfection- like a burn mark or something-- they do not sand the whole table down (wrecking the value of the piece) but they repair the spot and they use PAINT to "fake" the wood grain. They paint the mahogany (or whatever) back on. You might be able to faux finish your repair when you are done- to hide it.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 7:24PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I had the same situation with my concrete statue of David and did something similar to what Lola suggests above.

It was made of white concrete which probably hadn't been mixed too well or made in the right proportions to start with. It had hairline cracks, some of the seams from it's being cast had sunk in and it had lots of discoloration.

So I went over the whole thing with a water proof filler pressing it in using my bare hands. I let it dry and then wiped it with off-white latex paint similar to the color of white concrete. It's not perfectly even, but I didn't want it to look painted; nor does it look like the white marble of Michelangelo's sculpture, but looks a lot better than it did. You sort of expect concrete statues outside to look 'antique' anyway.

Tomorrow I'll look through my photos to try and find a picture. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 12:04AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Oh about the 'brown moss; my angel bird bath had a horrible black streak across her face from black mold growing where the concrete was slightly porous.. I tried chlorine bleach and that didn't faze it.

I asked for advice on the Texas forum and Jolana suggested trying Biz bleach which contains enzymes. It comes in powder form so I made a paste, applied it to the spot, and layed a damp towel over the area to keep it from drying out too quickly. It worked like a charm and amazingly has never come back. Maybe using it might help in your case.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 12:23AM
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Thanks for the replies. Here is what I am going to try. This was recommended by a concrete restorer. First clean and bleach/hot water as much as possible. (I will then try biz bleach if I can find it here!) Then take some portland concrete and mix it with water in the ratio of the directions. like it says. Take 1/3rd of that to 2/3rds outdoor flat latex paint. (They say use white but any color can be used even like a cement grey. the cement will dull down the white of the paint). Paint that in the cracks and all over the whole statue. Let it air dry for 2 hours. Then cover with cling wrap. Every day for 5 days take off the wrap and mist (water). Put the wrap back on. After 5 days take off the wrap. Let it cure inside or in a garage or 28 days. Then seal with clear concrete sealer. I am going to try this after the Biz bleach. lola-lemon, this might work on any of your future foundation issues. Roselee, thanks for the Biz bleach tip. I will follow up and let everyone know what is working or not. Love my statues!!!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 12:35PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I'm copying and filing this method in case I get inspired to renew the finish on my three concrete statues. The only problem for me is the curing of them inside. They are so heavy to move. In a mild climate like Texas maybe wrapping in burlap in the winter might work.

Yes, do keep us posted as to how it goes. Maybe a picture tutorial as you go along might be in the offing?

Since I took a photo of David this morning I'll go ahead and post it.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 1:03PM
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Try Target for the Biz. I looked in a bunch of stores around here before I found it. It's great for soaking clothes that have poison ivy on them.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 1:20PM
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lola-lemon(5b East WA)

That's so cool you found a concrete restorer.
I'll be clipping this too.
My foundation is very old... I think I just need to find someone skilled in the old style parge coats. Hoping not to have to do the whole thing to make it match.

Let us know how yours turns out . Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 3:41PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Roselee, well planned photo- lol. Your frog seems to be holding his leaf at just about the perfect angle. ;)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 3:18PM
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cyn, I had the same thought! LOL

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 4:28PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Cyn and Sandi, I learned to be very careful about that after all the ribbing I got from the folks on the Texas Gallery. Once while I was focusing on some canna lilies in the foreground it seemed certain parts of David were perfectly framed by the foliage. Of all the online squealing you never heard the likes! LOL And I honestly didn't even give it a thought before posting.

What was even funnier is at a nursery years ago while walking down a path with some young salesmen carrying my plants my five year old grand daughter ran over and tweaked a David statue. The guys howled in laughter and I'm sure I turned red, but when my David was their last one they put him on sale and of course I had to buy him.

I dress him in a fig leaf when the preacher comes over ... ;-)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 4:47PM
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LOL roselee, that is just too funny about your granddaughter. And the fig leaf.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 5:12PM
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OK. Tried the Biz. No change at all. Now after hosing it off, I let it dry for 3 days. Tomorrow, I will paint it with the cement mix 1/3rd + 2/3rds white latex exterior paint. The curing takes a long time as described above but she is worth it.

Your David statue is really nice!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 12:07PM
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Yep, noticed the frog helping Dave too. lol Pretty funny, cute story about granddaughter.

Also saved the restoration recipe.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 5:47PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Sorry to hear Biz didn't work to take the moss off your angel. But maybe it will come in handy for something else. It's came in real handy to soften a thick layer stickery seeds I got in my socks one time. I soaked the socks overnight and they became soft enough to wash out with just a little pulling here and there. I also use it to take out organic stains in kitchen towels, etc..and clothes of course.

Schoolhouse, glad you enjoyed the little 'David' stories ... :-)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 12:45AM
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Biz is great! I did not work on my statue but for laundry? Oh, yeah. Thanks for the tip. Anyway, I just updated my original post with a pic. I am going to begin work on her tomorrow. As was requested, I will post pics during the process. Wish me success! I love my little french maid.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 6:21PM
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Someone broke the head off my much beloved concrete statue of a little boy reading. The statue looks just like my own son and I have treasured it for years.

After asking everywhere, I got the idea to contact a major public garden in my area, one with a lot of antique statuary. The garden curator gave me the name of a company that does such restoration work in our area. They use them all the time. Slow and expensive but worth it to me. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 12:05PM
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ginny12- Can you share the name of the restoration company? I looked up restoration companies and nothing came up within several hours of here. Perhaps your place might know someone down here.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 5:30PM
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Your best luck is to call a public garden or upscale cemetery in your own area and ask them. There are lots of them in Maryland. They are usually not in the Yellow Pages. You need a local recommendation.

But the name here is Skylight Studios, Woburn MA.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 7:04PM
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