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Old 07-09-2022, 10:22 AM   #1
Bill
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Default Educate me- making concrete wall caps

I have a prairie stone veneer over concrete-filled cinder block wall. Weve been waiting for months for cap blocks cut to size to finish the project with no definite delivery date.

Im retired in Montana. Yes, theres elk in those mountains. Griz, mt lions and wolves too.

Im considering making the caps from concrete myself, using concrete dye to get a contrasting color.

We will build a low wall under a window for a planting bed, Id match the stone and then the caps could match.

Has anybody done this? Hard/easy? Getting all the caps to match in color? Any lessons learned?

Thanks!

The wall





What I found on amazon





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Old 07-09-2022, 10:40 AM   #2
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sorry, I don't but love the view you have there. Why block it with those trees though?
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Old 07-09-2022, 10:51 AM   #3
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Never done it but I would think coating it in colored epoxy made for concrete would be easier to color match than dying concrete. Each stone could have its own tint to it therefore not knowing how much or how little you would need for each stone.
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Old 07-09-2022, 10:52 AM   #4
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I would go with precut bluestone or something similar. Pouring your own sounds like way too much work! Love the porch and view!

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Old 07-09-2022, 12:38 PM   #5
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Thanks on comments. The pre-cut blocks are what we ordered 4 months ago, and the supplier cant get a date from the quarry. Building, especially custom homes is outstripping supply of materials like stone here in Montana.

We planted the aspens to the left of the patio so they are out of the direct view of the mountains. I wanted some aspens because they look and sound great when the wind rustles the leaves.

Its beautiful here, some 20-40 acre parcels of land and 5-8k acre ranches as neighbors.


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Old 07-09-2022, 04:52 PM   #6
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Google concrete counter tops, would be about the same type of job, you can put a liquid dye in the concrete or you can use a dry shake color hardener, you can mix in a bucket or a wheel barrow, do enough for 2-3 stones at a time, nice place, I will be heading up that way in August, I could bring you some chocolate leuders stone for an elk hunt, lol, I kid.
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Old 07-09-2022, 05:37 PM   #7
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I made some 1'x1'x1.5" sample colored concrete squares. One red, one black, one brown and one a mix of red and black. I was thinking about building concrete countertops when we were getting ready to move to Iowa. The samples came out real nice, but even the small sample squares were a lot of work.

We went with granite.

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Old 07-09-2022, 05:48 PM   #8
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No help Bill, but I wish I were your neighbor.
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Old 07-09-2022, 06:20 PM   #9
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Why not a granite or wood top?
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Old 07-09-2022, 06:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdwinklr View Post
sorry, I don't but love the view you have there. Why block it with those trees though?
Trees will grow up.
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Old 07-09-2022, 06:32 PM   #11
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Why wouldn't you use the stone? Beautiful view

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Old 07-09-2022, 06:58 PM   #12
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No help Bill, but I wish I were your neighbor.

Thats why people come here to vacation. Or retire. The winters can get rough if you have to be outside or driving to work. Its so dry that the 20s and teens are not bad if youre dressed right. Below 10 it hurts.


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Old 07-09-2022, 07:02 PM   #13
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Why wouldn't you use the stone? Beautiful view

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Because to get the stone caps we ordered, were still waiting.

In hindsight, I should have had the guy who did a great job on the textured concrete patio and a step into the house form and do the top of the wall before the masonry guys who did that dry stack elsewhere outside and inside did the wall. Live and learn.


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Old 07-09-2022, 07:04 PM   #14
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I’d just slap
Some
Mortar
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Old 07-09-2022, 07:05 PM   #15
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Google concrete counter tops, would be about the same type of job, you can put a liquid dye in the concrete or you can use a dry shake color hardener, you can mix in a bucket or a wheel barrow, do enough for 2-3 stones at a time, nice place, I will be heading up that way in August, I could bring you some chocolate leuders stone for an elk hunt, lol, I kid.

How long do you figure it would take for the concrete to set up on the molds? I could do 2 at a time- 1 wide and 1 narrow.


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Old 07-09-2022, 07:07 PM   #16
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Ysode note - your view is awesome!!
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Old 07-09-2022, 07:59 PM   #17
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Ysode note - your view is awesome!!

Thanks. After all the crap I went thru in Cali for 27 years- this is my corner of heaven for the remainder of my natural life.

Heres the rest of the view- cooking burgers and on TBH!




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Old 07-09-2022, 08:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
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How long do you figure it would take for the concrete to set up on the molds? I could do 2 at a time- 1 wide and 1 narrow.


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You can take the forms or mold off the next day.

I found a picture of the sample squares I poured. I used melamine forms. The bottom side (the side you can't see) is actually the finished side. I used concrete mix and color pigment from Home Depot. I added some Portland cement to make the mix creamier to get a good finish without honey combs or bubbles.

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Old 07-10-2022, 10:10 AM   #19
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How long do you figure it would take for the concrete to set up on the molds? I could do 2 at a time- 1 wide and 1 narrow.


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Probably just over night, that wall could easily be capped with stone, you could cantilever it out on both sides and have about an 18 inch wide cap or bench. I bet the mason that did the original work could fix you up with stone or concrete, you do not have to pour individual stones, you can pour the entire cap in one pour and tool the joints in however you like, you can put a texture on the cap like the patio has.
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Old 07-11-2022, 10:26 PM   #20
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Default Educate me- making concrete wall caps

My wife shot down the formed concrete idea.

I need opinions- I have a bunch of extra veneer stones I over-ordered quantity for multiple projects around house (fireplace, around front doors) including this wall.

I put sone out on top. I have others to substitute and enough to do the 1 block high planter wall. If I due the mortar a brownish color, what do you think about this top instead of a cap? I never thought wed be sitting on the cap.

BTW I saw my first badger the other night going out of my property crossing the road. Ive heard what mean sobs they are- Ive been out looking for it with my 45 and a dozen rounds of Buffalo Bore griz loads. If I could spot it from the house Id use the 7 Mag.






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Old 07-11-2022, 10:51 PM   #21
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That’s a great option.
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Old 07-11-2022, 11:09 PM   #22
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That looks really good with the stone on top, imo.

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Old 07-12-2022, 06:23 AM   #23
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To me that veneer stone looks awesome! The only thing I might ponder adding would be square concrete pavers at the ends with a couple spaced evenly between the end caps. They would make for a perfect place for some of those flower baskets your wife is growing.

Those aspens look awesome and will provide a very nice sound as you mentioned…

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Old 07-12-2022, 06:57 AM   #24
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The veneer on top looks good. Another option would be to get some live edge cedar planks and cap it with them. Would give it a nice contrast
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Old 07-12-2022, 07:20 AM   #25
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Not much help, but I think a regular brick cap would look nice and give it great contrast.
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Old 07-12-2022, 08:14 AM   #26
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Beautiful place and the wall looks great
I would go with a smooth top ‘cause we sit or stand on mine all the time.

Unless that badger is giving you an issue
I see no reason to bother him.
Nocturnal and I don’t mind them around. Part of the system
This is from the guy that kills every nest busting and fawn eating critter I see.
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Old 07-12-2022, 08:18 AM   #27
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The one thing I'd be worried about with the stone cap would be water infiltration and the freeze/thaw cycle over the years. Looks great though!
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Old 07-12-2022, 08:19 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill View Post
My wife shot down the formed concrete idea.

I need opinions- I have a bunch of extra veneer stones I over-ordered quantity for multiple projects around house (fireplace, around front doors) including this wall.

I put sone out on top. I have others to substitute and enough to do the 1 block high planter wall. If I due the mortar a brownish color, what do you think about this top instead of a cap? I never thought wed be sitting on the cap.

BTW I saw my first badger the other night going out of my property crossing the road. Ive heard what mean sobs they are- Ive been out looking for it with my 45 and a dozen rounds of Buffalo Bore griz loads. If I could spot it from the house Id use the 7 Mag.






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That's what I was thinking. Glad she shot you down

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Old 07-12-2022, 10:32 AM   #29
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The one thing I'd be worried about with the stone cap would be water infiltration and the freeze/thaw cycle over the years. Looks great though!

Great comment. I had not thought if that. Our winters do get cold and daily temperature variations are wide. Once the sun sets it can go from ok temp to awful.


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Old 07-12-2022, 10:33 AM   #30
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Beautiful place and the wall looks great
I would go with a smooth top cause we sit or stand on mine all the time.

Unless that badger is giving you an issue
I see no reason to bother him.
Nocturnal and I dont mind them around. Part of the system
This is from the guy that kills every nest busting and fawn eating critter I see.

My concern with a badger is our yellow lab getting injured by it.


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Old 07-12-2022, 10:35 AM   #31
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Not much help, but I think a regular brick cap would look nice and give it great contrast.

We dont have any exposed brick on the house so it might look odd. Or different and ok. Good idea to think about.


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Old 07-12-2022, 10:36 AM   #32
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The veneer on top looks good. Another option would be to get some live edge cedar planks and cap it with them. Would give it a nice contrast

I dont know how a horizontal piece of wood would last with cold winters and all the sun on the south side.


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Old 07-13-2022, 04:46 PM   #33
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Well- an update.

The stone supplier called today and said the caps would be there in a week. A mason came over today and said the cap prevents water infiltration and prevents freezing water from popping off the 2 thick pieces.

Were going with the original plan.

Ill post pictures when its done.

Thanks for ideas and comments!


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Old 07-13-2022, 04:47 PM   #34
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In for the finished pics
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Old 07-13-2022, 04:53 PM   #35
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Quote:
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Thats why people come here to vacation. Or retire. The winters can get rough if you have to be outside or driving to work. Its so dry that the 20s and teens are not bad if youre dressed right. Below 10 it hurts.


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Yeah, I spent a year just across the border from you in Williston. The winters are rough, but the summers make up for it.
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Old 07-13-2022, 07:50 PM   #36
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Yes the summers do. And fall with elk in those hills and otc resident tags. I just moved a bunch of cinder blocs, and waiting to cool down before starting to dig out for the foundation for the 1-block high garden wall well use the same frontier stone on.


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Old 07-13-2022, 07:52 PM   #37
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Default Educate me- making concrete wall caps



They are about 2 thick slices.

Yes Im getting a neighbor. I would have bought those 27 acres except land prices has more than doubled since we bought our 30 in the summer of 2019 pre-Covid.


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Old 07-17-2022, 09:10 AM   #38
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While waiting for the cap stones, we started a 1 block high wall under the windows for a planter bed. Poured a 4 x 8 foundation with rebar. It may be overkill. The box has the 3 irrigation zone valves connected to a freeze proof hydrant mounted in the foundation.

These Marvin Ultimate windows are awesome, the room is warm in the winter at sub zero temps. Were at too high elevation to fill at the factory with Xenon gas so they have capillary tubes between the glass panes.




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Old 07-17-2022, 11:56 AM   #39
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Bill, we will be in Island Park, ID Aug 1. I am going to make a special attempt to meet up this time. It may be our last chance!
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Old 07-18-2022, 01:49 PM   #40
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You make it sound so final!
PM sent with my phone #.


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Old 08-03-2022, 12:09 PM   #41
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We set the cap stones yesterday. Now on to the next project(s). Finding 1 sandstone for the window garden cap and installing a split mini ac.

Elk season cant get here too soon!




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Old 08-03-2022, 12:18 PM   #42
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That’s a clean looking finish Bill.
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Old 08-03-2022, 10:14 PM   #43
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Thanks.


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Old 08-03-2022, 10:54 PM   #44
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Looks good
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Old 08-04-2022, 07:37 AM   #45
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Very nice

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Old 08-04-2022, 09:53 AM   #46
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Cap stones look great Bill.
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Old 08-04-2022, 09:47 PM   #47
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Thank you. Im going crazy trying to find 1 to 1 1/2 sandstone to do the low wall under the window. Apparently it breaks on pallets when trucked to stone retailers.

I may have to do 4 hour drive each way to Harlowton MT where the sandstone quarries who have it are located.


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Old 08-31-2022, 07:56 PM   #48
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Default Educate me- making concrete wall caps

After a lot of looking, I finally found some 18x12 by 1 1/2 thick sandstone at a masonry supply place in Bozeman. It was meant as pavers to be butted together, so the tops were good but the sides smooth from the cuts.

After cutting to 8 1/2 x 18, I loaded up the stone and met a fellow we both know in Virginia City. He has an oxy-acetylene torch in his workshop that looks 100 years old.

Virginia City was the original Montana territorial capital and lost the vote when Helena was selected the state capital. I cant believe this is 10 miles from where I live!



We wet the stone edges with water and hit with a flame. The sandstone would pop (explode) off leaving a rough surface. Heres the finished product showing smooth cuts in joints and finished edges.






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Old 09-16-2022, 07:19 PM   #49
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I worked with the mason today and got the caps on the low wall. Im happy with how it turned out.






I ordered a 25 flagpole yesterday to go on the rise beyond the wall, about 70 feet from the house. Time to rent s jackhammer to dig a foundation in all the fractured gneiss we built on top of.




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Old 09-16-2022, 08:39 PM   #50
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Perfection, Bill!

Virginia City is a cool little town for sure.
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