Rust-O-Lium Stoneffects

Rust-O-Lium Stoneffects

This tale is about our front porch woes over a 15 year period.

Our front porch has a solid cement base that is 4 feet wide, 20 feet long and 6 inches deep. There’s a ten inch step up to the front door that is awkward and not very safe, especially when stepping out of the house. The porch base is in excellent condition but the challenge has always been make the surface look nice.

When we moved to our house in 1997, the porch was covered with an ugly dark green outdoor carpet. Within a year or two I replaced it with a not as ugly light green outdoor carpet. A couple of years later I replaced it again with a brown outdoor carpet. It wasn’t ideal but it was what we could afford at the time.

A few years later we decided it was time to replace the now officially ugly carpet with something more permanent and nice looking. I noticed a product called Stoneffects advertised on television that looked interesting. It’s a decorative stone coating that’s a mix of coarse crushed stone and adhesive that comes premixed in a standard sized paint can. You spread it with a trowel over concrete and after it dries, it’s as hard as stone. The stuff looks great but it’s very expensive. Today it costs $50 a can (I can’t remember what I paid for it back then) and barely covers 6-8 square feet.
Stoneeffects Chipping
After a couple of years, the coating started to separate from the concrete base and produced air pockets in various spots on the porch. I could tell by dropping something small like a 25¢ coin on a bad spot and it would make a hollow sound when it hit the porch. If I dropped the coin on a good spot, the sound was deeper and solid. Eventually the air pockets got bigger and if I stepped on a bad spot, the coating would crack.

I found all the bad spots and chipped off any loose coating in the surrounding area. The stuff came off easy with a putty knife – not a good sign. The remaining good areas adhered firmly to the cement base. Now, two thirds of the porch had the original coat intact and one third had the concrete based exposed. It was time to make a decision: remove the remainder of the coating and do something else to make the porch look nice, or apply more Stoneffects to the patches.

I decided to apply more Stoneffects to the patches and purchased more cans. By patching the spots it was no longer possible to maintain a smooth, uniform layer over the entire porch. The material is made of coarse crushed stone and you can’t feather it out to a smooth finish like you can with drywall compound. Now the patches are all slightly raised and when it rained, puddles would form on the porch.

The other challenge, which really wasn’t a surprise, is that the colour of original layer of Stoneffects faded and the patched areas had a fresh new look. The end result is that the porch just didn’t look good anymore.

The Stoneffects product showed promise in the beginning but in the end it was a costly mistake. I followed the directions and applied the primer beforehand and the sealer afterwards. Weather is always a factor but if that’s the case, why did some sections of the Stoneffects firmly adhere to the porch and not the others?

A year later I removed the Stoneffects coating entirely from the porch. There were many sections that came off too easily while other sections were painstakingly difficult to remove. I had to chisel away inch-by-inch with a scraper and hammer. I ended up laying a basic cement coating on the porch base that we could paint to our liking. It lasted a few years but the porch never really looked good.

It was 2015 before we truly became happy with the look of our porch. See the results in my good tale about Dekora, the company that eventually made it look fantastic!