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Hi All,

I am doing some searching for fake rock/ waterfall backgrounds that do not need a ph balancing period.

So far I found just a little info on Durhams Water Putty over Styrofoam with Drylock coating it.

Has anyone tried this with success and pictures (& a step by step) or found a better method of making a convincing rock background without all of the hassle of traditional concrete methods?

Thanks,

Jesse
 

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Durhams water putty is a plaster material. Its made from Calcium sulfate hemi-hydrate and a few other addatives to give it strength. My guess is a PVA. If you drylock it then it might be better to use, but its not ideal for this situation as water will find a way behind it and weaken your structure. (Plaster looses much of it's strength when wet.)

If you are trying to make an artificial background that isn't cement/grout based, which does require curing, then you need to go with an epoxy material. I'm not a big fan of the drylock idea personally as it both contains organic solvents (which smell bad and are toxic if not fully fumed out) and its a latex based material which I've never been fond of using. Its no where near as strong as an epoxy.

People use grout/cement because its cheap and it drys to a matte texture that looks like rock because it is rock. (sort of) However as of right now there is no quick easy curing material that can be cured in a few days. It usually takes weeks to get the pH balanced out when using portland cement or grout.

If you want instant results as a material to layup over foam, you want a true 100% solids (this is important so you don't get any of the solvents) epoxy. You can either tint this by using various dyes or you can paint it afterword.

There isn't a real quick fix for realistic fake rocks YET. I'm working on it though. In the mean time, I'll have resin replicas available soon through my website Vivarium Works. But this is a few weeks out still. I need to finish a few last things before I put them for sale. (Please excuse the website chaos. Its a bit unfinished at the moment...)
 
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