You can make your own concrete tiles, this is a great DIY project. It does not require a lot of physical labor, and would make a great family project. You could even sell your excess tiles for a nice profit.
Tiles can be made for 25 to 50 cents each and could be sold for up to $8, that is a nice profit.
With the right pigments you can make your tile resemble travertine, marble, or natural stone, this is only limited by your imagination.
This project is a simple one to start, there are suppliers on the internet that sell the molds and coloring you will need. You can pick up the concrete at any local hardware store. And have a nice work area in a small space in an out building, garage, or basement whatever works for you.
What you will need to get started:
- Pre mix concrete
- Concrete floor tile molds in the shape and size you desire
- Concrete dyes I like the dry pigments
- Mixing bucket and tools I bought a hardly used concrete mixer on eBay
- Concrete vibrator table only if you have a very large quantity to make.
- Shelves for drying racks
- Release agent for molds
- Gloves and eye protection
- Some way to measure the pigment; this could be a postal scale or maybe some different size cups.
- Plastic wrap
- Face mask
Measure your room to see what size tiles will work the best. You may want to sketch this on graph paper to see what patterns will work the best for the room. If you are not sure what size tiles look best, cut cardboard templates and lay them on the floor to see what they will look like. You could also try different patterns with your templates.
Decide where you will do the concrete mixing- in a well-ventilated space is best. Set up some shelves or tables to lay your tiles on after pouring. Cover with plastic for over night or the first 24 hours, this will make your tiles stronger. Keep them covered even after you take them out of the molds.
Set up your vibrating table. I made my own by building a square frame with two by four material and put a piece of half inch plywood on top. Then I bought a used reciprocating saw and mounted it to the bottom of the table. I load the table with filled molds and turn on the saw for about 30 seconds. This will vibrate the concrete so that air bubbles will come to the top and burst. This will ensure the tiles are solid and strong. If you are making a small batch of tiles you could use a hammer under the table and tap the air out of your molds.
Spray the molds with release agent there are some water based release agents on the market, do not use motor oil. This allows the tile to be removed without breaking. Mix the concrete, and coloring. You can add color to the concrete and sprinkle it in the mold if you desire. Practice with the colors to get the effect or color you want.
The mixture should be about the consistency of smooth peanut butter. Don’t use too much water, the tile will be weak and crack. Fill the tile to at least 1/2″. Tiles will shrink a little when they dry. Fill your tiles at a consistent level.
- 1/4″-3/8″ thick for wall or countertop tile
- 1/2″-3/4″floor tiles
- 2″ + for patio tiles
Cover the tiles and let harden and then carefully remove the tile from the mold and place on the shelf to continue curing, 30 days is the magic number to make concrete as hard as possible, keep the tile covered in plastic wrap. Keep the temperature of the curing room above freezing- warmer is better, but heat is not needed unless it’s freezing outside.
After a couple of weeks, the tiles can be painted with sealant for their protection. They will still be curing for another couple of weeks.
Your molds can be reused once the tile has been released. Clean the molds with a plastic brush and some water and then make your next batch. With proper care you can use your mold to make many pours.
Properly sealed, the tiles can be used indoors or outdoors. You will save a bundle by pouring your own tiles and you can make them a custom color to match your décor.
Check out part 2 of this article for installation tips.
Post time: 04-18-2017