Outdoor project BBQ-Nook

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Old 08-20-15, 03:04 PM
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Question Outdoor project BBQ-Nook

My husband built a BBQ-Nook for our Grill last weekend. I HATE the bare gray cement blocks. Instead of tile or whatever (which is way more money than my husband wants to spend to beautify it) I want to cover it in whole seashells and white rock (super cheap price right now at our Lowes).

What do I use as a bond (or bed) between the cinderblocks and the rock/seashells?

Might sound super dumb to ask, but does that then have to be something like "grouted" the day after setting it, like with tile? (I got the ideas, just no How-To-Knowledge)

What can I use as. Glossy clear seal over the finished thing to give it extra protection!?
 
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Old 08-20-15, 05:09 PM
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And how would anyone know without a picture of what your talking about?
Tile can be dirt cheap, easy to install and a whole lot easier to grout then what you suggest.
 
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Old 08-20-15, 05:29 PM
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For what it's worth here's what I would do... It's an idea for quick and easy and hopefully fun. Grouting will really make your project a lot harder so I'm thinking of covering the surface with your decorations and not worry about grouting in between. Grouting also adds expense so I'm thinking cheap.

Get a bag of mortar mix. Get the type that has the sand in it and all you have to do is add water. Don't forget that you have to mix it up in something and with something and you'll need a trowel. If you only want to get one I'd buy a small rectangular one.

If the grill nook is over a finished patio or anything pretty cover the ground with a tarp. You will make a mess and drop blobs of mortar.

Rinse off your shells, rocks, pieces of broken tile or flower pots, marbles and Barbie doll heads or anything else you want to stick on. You want to remove any dust or dirt that will prevent them from sticking.

Mix up a batch of mortar. I'd start small and use about 10 pounds of mortar mix (you can move up to larger batches once you get the feel of it). Spray or sling water onto the cement block to get it good and damp. If there is water sheening on the surface or dripping down just wait a minute.

Pick one area on the back side (where it will show less) to start so you can hone your skill. Then trowel on a layer of mortar. At first push really hard trying to push it into the nooks of the block. You're pushing hard and getting a base of mortar really stuck. Then come back and smooth on a even layer of mortar about 1/4" thick like icing a cake. It doesn't have to be perfect. You're not plastering a wall.

Now's the fun part. Start sticking your decorations into the mortar. If they are porous getting them moist is a good idea. I'd try to fill every gap with shells or stone bits so hopefully you don't have to get into grouting.

Give it a week and come back and look at it. Over time the grout will get lighter. When everything is done you could come back with a wet look sealer that would darken everything, seal it and make it appear wet... or just leave it natural.
 
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Old 08-20-15, 08:09 PM
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Thank you so much, your tips where exactly what I was looking for, thank you!!!
 
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Old 08-21-15, 06:38 AM
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Just don't expect to have a professional tile job with grout. You'll end up with something more "artsy" and creative.

It's very much the sort of thing you just need to get a feel for. That's why I think it's important to get your practice in on the back side and it will give you a chance to see if you like the look before going further.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 11:29 AM
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Would thinset work for this? The reason I'm thinking that is that it's much whiter than mortar and may give a better look to the project.
 
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