Handling your concrete item
Since concrete is a very hard material, it is also brittle and can be chipped or broken when dropped on a hard surface or struck with a hard object. Though YOC concrete is poured containing a fiberglass mesh - which binds the stone as it hardens - and reinforced with steel rebar in a variety of product, the ultimate life of YOC concrete when kept in a favorable environment is infinite. Use caution when handling and transporting statuary and choose the placement location carefully to make sure it has solid footing. Try to avoid spots where water can accumulate and absorb into the statuary.
If concrete could be made absolutely waterproof, moisture wouldn't be an issue, but all concrete will absorb a certain amount of water. When water freezes, it expands, even if it's inside of concrete. Over years, the expanding and drying of water causes concrete to eventually disintegrate.
The rate of absorption in ornamental concrete varies tremendously from one manufacturer to another. Concrete producers in more temperate climates don't have to worry like we do in the midwest where freezing and thawing is a typical winter season. Statuary that is shipped in from those temperate areas often will not survive more than a winter or two.
YOC has done extensive research throughout the years to combat water absorbtion and we are happy to say that the concrete we produce absorbs VERY little moisture. Durability is a term used in the concrete industry to indicate the ability of concrete to resist absorbtion. Compressive strength is an indicator of strength, as the name implies. YOC test results on this strength has consistently been 5,000 lbs. or more, which is virtually unheard of in the ornamental concrete industry.
YOC ships in approximately 10% of statuary from other producers and are very selective about where it comes from. To be safe, use every possible precaution to protect your statuary from the elements for years of ornamental enjoyment.
Filling your Bird Bath
You can add water to your bird bath at any time except when it's completely empty on a hot day. When cool water is poured on hot concrete, the sudden change of temperature will create stress that may cause a tiny crack within your bowl. This crack may not be visible until some time later. The best way to prevent these possible hairline cracks is to get in the habit of always filling your bird bath in the morning or evening when its cooler.
Winterizing your Fountains
Unless you use a bird bath or fountain heater to maintain water temperatures, YOC recommends to empty all water in autumn before the freeze of winter. For fountains, remove the pump before freezing temperatures come. DO NOT LET WATER FREEZE in the bowl, spill, or shell bowl. Sponge out all moisture and stuff the basins or bowls with absorbent material such as shredded paper if possible. Covering the fountains with a canvas or plastic wrap is also recommended. If you plan to use a water heater, be sure to use one with a thermostat to prevent overheating. A hot spot in your concrete bowl can cause the same stress on concrete as pouring cold water onto hot concrete.
When you choose the final location for your statuary, be sure you pick a place that has good drainage. A rock garden that has large enough rocks to allow for air circulation underneath the statuary base is best, but you can also use YOC stepping stones, bricks or additional means. It is not recommended to place any YOC product directly on the ground or in sand which traps and holds moisture.
TIPS ON PAINTING
YOC statuary has been hand finished and is very attractive with it's natural stone look and many customers prefer to leave it that way. While some prefer the raw look, others enjoy detail in paint. There is always a variety of painted product to choose from but if you have a "do it yourself" mindset, we love our artists!
There are a few rules you should observe if you paint. Be sure the concrete completely dry, at room temperature and free from dust or dirt. Applying two primer coats - let dry between layers - of good ordinary latex house paint is recommended for best results. Once the primer coats are completely dry, just paint your choice of colors over the primer. Just about any type of non-oil based paint will work. Most acrylic paints will have more resistance to the harmful side effects of ultra violet rays from sunlight that cause most brighter colors to fade. Also, any paint you would use for painting ceramics - except glazes - will work. Do not fire concrete after painting.
Dry Brushing Method
A common technique used at the YOC is our dry brushing method. Once your raw statuary is prepared, paint the entire piece with two coats of a dark color - for example a pure black satin finish enamel. After dried, take a lighter color of your choice and put a few drops of paint on a palette board and rub your DRY brush into it until the paint has been absorbed by the brush. The briskly rub the brush on the dark colored statuary until it has the desired color intensity. You may have to experiment and practice a little until you get it the way you want it, but you can create some beautiful and interesting colors by experimenting with two or more different dry brush choices.
If you don't like the outcome the first time around, just repaint your piece again with the desired dark color and start over. You may want to practice on some bricks or rocks first to save time and paint.
When painting a bird bath or fountain with latex, or house paint, be sure to let the paint harden for about a week to ten days before adding water so the paint will be less likely to soften. After painting any item it is always a good idea to further protect the paint with a good acrylic sealer. Once paint has thoroughly dried, give it several coats of an acrylic fixative or sealer from a spray can. If you do this several times a year, it will keep your painted statuary looking great much longer. Acrylic sealers help to shield harmful ultra violet rays from reaching the paint.
Be sure to use caution when using waxes or silicon protectants such as "Thompson's Water Seal, Armor All, or Son-of-a-gun. If you should decide to paint over any of these protectants later, you may have trouble getting paint to stick.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are you in the town of Yoder? Nope! Yoder is our family's last name.
Where are you located? You'll find us on HWY 50 in BURRTON, KS. Our physical address is 110 N. Dean, Burrton, KS 67020. We're the Yoder's in the town of Burrton.
Do the bird baths need to be painted? No, it's just artistic preference if you would like color or the natural "raw" look. YOC can paint almost anything we sell, but if you are a "do it yourselfer," you can read our TIPS ON PAINTING section for recommendations and suggestions.
Do unpainted items need to be sealed? You can if you would like, but it's not necessary.
How do I care for my bird bath? Please see the sections above on FILLING YOUR BIRDBATH and WINTERIZING YOUR FOUNTAINS in Care Tips.
How do I clean my bird bath? Just use a cloth and water. The best way to keep it clean and free of muck and algae would be to rinse it everyday and put in fresh water.
Do you paint everything at YOC? Yes.
How do you prepare your statuary for painting? Before our painting process, we clean the items with a high powered air blower and a brush. We sometimes use a damp cloth to clear concrete dust off smooth surfaces.
What kind of paint do you use? A good exterior latex water base paint. Base coat is a concrete sealer, then second coat is exterior latex paint. For more information see our TIPS ON PAINTING section above.
What is Dry Brush? Dry brush is a technique that applies brushing lighter paint over darker base coat paint for an antique type look.
What does painted "antique" mean? It's another name we use for our dry brush colors.
What does painted in "detail" mean? It's what we call our items that are painted using an airbrush. Painting figurines and animals in detail, for example, is a bit more involved process than a dry brush technique. By using different colors for clothing and decor along with skin, eyes, shadowing and hand painting are all involved in the process.
Are the items you paint already sealed? There is a sealer mixture within the acrylic paint we use, however for maximum color life, we recommend sealing items every 6 months that are detailed and set in an area that has direct sunlight. Bright colors like reds, yellow, skin, blues will begin to fade over the years if left untreated. See our TIPS ON PAINTING section for more info on sealer.
Do you pour everything here? Almost. We pour about 90% of all our concrete items.
How long does the product last? It depends on how it's taken care of. It should last many years. For recommendations and suggestions on how to get the most life from your YOC item, see the HANDLING YOUR ITEM and MOISTURE section.
Does the YOC make custom items? No. We do not sculpt our concrete. Our statuary is created using molds.
What are the yard lights made of? Cast Aluminum
What is a pump housing? A housing is the hollow part of a fountain where the pump sets and allows the pump to recycle the water. For recommendations on how to care for your fountain, see WINTERIZING YOUR FOUNTAINS.