Many people like to make stepping stones for their garden or even for a sidewalk. There are a few things you need to remember so your stepping stone project goes well.
1. Only buy fresh sand mix or Portland cement. If the bag you are about to buy has a hole in it, or feels hard, or feels lumpy – don’t buy it. Cement mixes with water and becomes hard as stone. There is nothing you can do to reverse this process. I recommend calling your supplier and asking when the next shipment will be in. Then I would be there to get the freshest bags.
2. Remember to wear a face mask or at least a bandana over you nose and mouth when you mix cement or sand mix. There is moisture in your lungs, mouth and nostrils. I don’t know if the cement dust will harden inside your lungs or not, but I do know it can irritate these tender tissues. Read the precautions on the bag and don’t take short cuts that can impair your health. Also, get the dog out of the area when your mixing – same reasons.
3. When you make your form, make sure the sides are either completely vertical or sloping outward at the top. If the bottom of the form slopes outward, you will have a hard time getting a good fit in a walkway or patio. For an individual stepping stone it won’t matter as long as you can take the form apart to get your cast out.
4. After the forms are filled, jiggle them to get trapped air bubbles to come to the surface. After the water has come to the top and evaporated, make sure there are no holes left from these exploded air bubbles.
5. When you are finished filling and jiggling, and all the water has evaporated or been mopped up, and you are covering your molds with plastic to retain moisture – make sure the plastic doesn’t touch the concrete. There will be an odd spot that will spall easily if this happens.