What are some recipes or mix designs for making hypertufa?

stella1952January 1, 2013

Mix Designs & Recipes

These mix designs and recipes were kindly submitted by members. Thanks to all who contributed!

There are numerous recipes! The heavier your ingredients the heavier your final project. When reading a recipe for concrete or hypertufa, cement should be the first ingredient listed, e.g.; 1:1:1:1 for a hypertufa mix would look something like this 1 part (cement) 1 part (peat) 1 part (perlite) 1 part (sand). In general, most recipes have a 1:3 ratio. They can be as diluted as a 1:7 ratio (I would not recommend this) and can be as rich as a 1:1 ratio, depending upon the application.

To clarify and to prevent purchase of an unwanted ingredient because the name was misunderstood, remember the following: Portland cement is NOT concrete it is an ingredient of concrete. Concrete, loosely defined, is mortar with gravel aggregate added. When in doubt, read the ingredients listed on the label.

The first recipe was submitted by several members, so it is listed first.

Recipe #1
1 part Portland cement
1½ part peat
1½ part perlite

I personally like the results of this hypertufa recipe when I want to be able to carve fairly soon while the form is still "green" (not dry and certainly not cured). I use grey Portland cement in most of my mixes; you can certainly use white if you wish. Turns out looking like granite provided the perlite used is small to medium grade.

Recipe #2
1 part Portland cement
1½ part peat
1½ part vermiculite

Nice fawn coloring without adding any colorant. Vermiculite adds a sparkle. Still very carvable, this mix is heavier, as vermiculite is denser, so a part will weigh more.

Recipe #3
1 part Portland cement
1 part peat
1 part perlite or vermiculite
1 part sand

Much more durable; heavier, yet still lighter than concrete. This will be lighter in color than any of the above, dependent on what type sand is used.

Recipe #4
2 containers Portland cement
2 containers perlite
1½ containers peat moss
½ container coarse sand
1 large handful fibre mesh
1½ 2 containers water

Recipe For Hypertufa Using A Pre-Mixed Sand Mix

The use of a pre-mix allows the beginner an opportunity to try hypertufa without a large investment in materials. Portland cement comes in 94 lb bags. Quikrete, a concrete product manufacturer, does sell a smaller bag of Portland cement, but few stores carry it. Some home improvement stores do, however, carry small bags of pre-mixed concrete mixes, such as sand mix, mortar mix, high-strength concrete mix, etc.

I encourage anyone who is STRUCK by the hypertufa bug and unsure if this is for them, to seek out the pre-mixed sand mix. Lowes (in my area) carries the Quikrete sand mix in the smaller 10# bags; they also carry a 60# and 80# bag. If you get the smaller size, you can try it without a huge investment in supplies. Dependent on the size of the bag, you may actually be able to carry it!

Once home with the bag, put the mix (still inside the bag) into a heavy hefty bag and push it around a bit. Mixes do tend to settle and you want the ingredients evenly distributed. Then take the pre-mix bag out of the hefty, and follow the directions below.

Recipe #5

1 part pre-mixed sand mix
1 part peat moss
1 part perlite or vermiculite

Mix the dry ingredients first, then slowly add water so that you can gently squish the mush with little water coming out. Now add a little bit more water and walk away for about 10 minutes. Check your mold set up or think about your next project. Then, back to the mix. Check it with your hands (of course they are gloved!) and add a bit more water, if needed.

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