Get Creative With Quikrete Concrete Products (Special Podcast)

Get Creative With Quikrete Concrete Products (Special Podcast)

Concrete projects — drawer pulls, pencil holder, resurfaced patio, concrete counter — made with Quikrete products
Think outside the box and use Quikrete concrete products for more than just sidewalks. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Concrete products have evolved over the years and now you can use them for more than just driveways and patios.

In this special-edition Today’s Homeowner Podcast, Danny speaks with Allison Hunt, social media director and marketing project manager for the Quikrete Companies, the event’s sponsor.

Once you learn about Quikrete’s innovative products, you’ll rethink how you can use concrete.

A before and after split view of a resurfaced concrete patio using Quikrete Re-Cap Concrete resurfacer product.
A resurfaced concrete patio looks just like a freshly-laid slab. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Concrete Resurfacer

Is your spalling, jagged concrete creating an eyesore outside? Or are your mismatched concrete slabs ruining your patio’s aesthetic?

You don’t need to pour a new slab — just use Quikrete Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer to give it a fresh face!

This product provides a new, durable and wear-resistant surface over worn or scaled concrete. Because it has such great bonding strength, it will hold together even if the concrete under it fails.

See for yourself in this stunning patio transformation.

An outdoor concrete counter
Concrete countertops can be used in more settings than outdoor kitchens. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Concrete Countertops

Want a one-of-a-kind countertop surface? Use concrete!

Quikrete Countertop Mix, specially made for casting concrete countertops, requires only a do-it-yourself attitude and the addition of water.

This concrete product, available in classic gray and a tint-based white for a monochromatic look, suits any style.

Concrete countertops aren’t just for the outdoors. Install one in your kitchen or use concrete in your office for desk space! It’s as simple as buying two file cabinets (to support the slab) and adding the slab on top.

Watch “Concrete Countertops: Advantages, How to Make and Pro Tips” for more information.

This iPhone charging station and planter was made by Trevor Yoshida as an entry for Quikrete’s One Bag Wonder Contest. (photo via Quikrete Facebook)

Unique Concrete Projects

The world of concrete spans much more than the surfaces.

Quikrete has seen hundreds of innovative projects, from a concrete guitar to Christmas trees!

Hunt says she’s most impressed by the breadth and depth of concrete products used to achieve them — from Quikrete’s Anchoring Cement to the Non-Shrink Precision Grout.

Here at Today’s Homeowner, we also get creative with concrete — making pendant lights, a fire bowl, and office accents!

For inspiration, check out Quikrete’s Facebook and Pinterest pages or visit their Project Profiles web page.

Get Help From Quikrete

Feeling inspired to create with concrete, but don’t know where to start? Quikrete has quantity calculators and how-to videos to help you with your concrete project, so you’ll be confident every step of the way. 

Further Reading

How to Remove Paint from Concrete | Ep. 176

How to Remove Paint from Concrete | Ep. 176

 how to remove paint from concrete
You don’t need to use a ton of chemicals to get rid of peeling concrete paint. (Katherine Jones)

Katherine Jones, in Cherokee Village, Ark., wants to know the best way to remove paint from the concrete on her 60-foot-long front porch. 

She doesn’t want to use a harsh chemical stripper that could kill the shrubs and grass around the porch. 

The freshly painted concrete looks great and easy to clean, but not long after it starts to blister or bubble. This is why we don’t recommend painting concrete.

Here’s how to remove paint from concrete.

For a porch this size, rent an orbital floor sander and choose a sandpaper that’s not too coarse. You want to remove the finish and not grind the concrete. This will be the easiest way to get the bulk of the paint off.

Then, you’ll have to use some elbow grease to sand the areas the sander can’t reach, like around handrails and columns.

There are citrus-based strippers that are non-toxic and aren’t harmful to plants. This type of stripper will help in the areas where the sander can’t reach.

Also, consider renting a soda blaster. It works the same as a sandblaster but uses baking soda instead. 

Skip to [23:12] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.

Also on this episode:

Best New Product

Get the same power as gas minus all the noise with Ryobi’s Whisper Walk electric push mower. Learn more>>

Simple Solutions 

Use a soda bottle to water freshly planted shrubs. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Improvised Lawn Sprinkler — The next time you need to water newly planted grass seed, trees, flowers or shrubs, and you don’t have a sprinkler, you have a few options. 

You can go out and buy one, borrow one from a neighbor, or you can make one from an empty soda jug. 

  • Drill three or four 1/8-inch-diameter holes in the side of a plastic, two-liter soda bottle. 
  • Wrap some Teflon tape around the bottle treads and then screw on a female-to-female hose connector. 
  • Attach a garden hose to the hose connector, place the sprinkler in the yard with the holes facing up, and turn on the water. 

Watch: How to Make a Sprinkler for Your Lawn or Garden

Protest your fingertips with latex gloves. (eduardolopezcoronadophoto)

Rescuing Used Rubber Gloves — Before discarding used latex gloves, snip off any fingers that aren’t too badly damaged or dirty, and use them as slip-on fingertip protectors when spreading glue, smoothing caulk or spraying paint.

Some termite warranty companies don’t cover your house if you have spray foam insulation. (

Question of the Week

Q: My wife and I are building a new home. I was planning to use spray foam insulation, but after calling several termite-bonding companies, I was surprised that most were hesitant to cover homes with spray foam. Some flatly refused coverage. Why is that, and what other options do I have? 

A: Some termite-bonding companies don’t cover homes with spray foam insulation because of inspection issues.  

If you have fiberglass or Rockwool insulation, an inspector can just pull the insulation away to look for termite damage. With spray foam insulation, they can’t do that because it sticks to the wood. 

Some southern states have modified their building codes to require a termite inspection strip. This strip is installed above and below the foundation slab and allows inspectors to see termite damage in homes with spray foam insulation.  

Talk to a local building inspector and see what they recommend to do on a new home build.  

Skip to [31:59] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.

Further Reading

Ask a Question! (Podcast)

Ask a question and we could answer it on the “Today’s Homeowner Podcast!” We also may use it on our nationally syndicated radio broadcast or on

The Basics of Repointing Brick | Ep. 173

The Basics of Repointing Brick | Ep. 173

Historic brick home in Rochester, Ill.
Repointing the brick on this historic home will help the exterior upkeep for longer. (Photo by Scott Evans)

Repointing brick is the process of renewing the pointing, or external mortar joints, in between them. Over time, weather deteriorates the mortar, which could then cause water to leak inside the brick wall. 

Repointing a historic brick home requires a different type of mortar so it will last for years to come.

Scott Evans in Rochester, Ill., has begun repointing his 155-year-old brick home in Rochester, Ill., but the mortar is popping out.

So, what’s the solution?

Scott’s problem has to do with the type of mortar he used.

When repointing an older brick home, you don’t want a mortar that will cure harder than the brick itself.

Older bricks are soft, and they tend to expand and contract more in temperature and humidity changes than newer, harder bricks.

Use type O mortar — a high-lime mortar with low compression strength. It contains less Portland cement and more lime, which makes it softer and also more waterproof.

Here are the basics for repointing brick:

  • Use a chisel or handheld grout saw to remove the mortar. 
  • Wet the bricks and let them soak overnight. Keeping them hydrated will prevent the bricks from soaking up too much of the water in the mortar mix.
  • Next, mix the mortar. The general rule for mixing mortar is to use three parts sand to one part mortar mix. Combine the mix with water until it reaches the consistency of cake frosting. Work in small batches so the mortar doesn’t dry out before you apply it.
  • Work the mortar between the bricks using a pointing trowel. Use the flat end of the trowel to scrape away any excess on the face of the brick.
  • For the next three days, mist the mortar daily so it dries slowly and won’t crack.

Skip to [9:35] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.

Also on this episode:

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Simple Solutions

Adding Epsom salt to your tomato plant soil will improve its health and taste. (pixabay)

Epsom Salt in the Garden — Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, which is rich in minerals that plants need. 

By adding Epsom salt to your garden, the plants will absorb much more nutrients from the soil and fertilizer. 

Here are three ways to grow healthy plants with Epsom salt:  

1) Plants in the nightshade family — tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes — need magnesium to produce greater yields and more flavorful fruits and vegetables. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt around the base of your plants. Or, mix the salt with a gallon of water and water the plants with the mixture. Repeat every two weeks. 

2) Is your lawn looking dull? Add three pounds of Epsom salt for every 1,250 square feet of grass and then water your lawn. 

3) Want robust roses? Sprinkle Epsom salt at the time of planting and when the flowers are in bloom. The salt encourages the rose bushes to produce larger flowers with deeper colors. 

Hanging tools on screw hooks keeps them off the floor and out of the way.

Storing Garden Tools — Here’s an easy and effective way to store long-handled garden tools in a shed or garage: 

  • Drill a pilot hole in an overhead joist and twist in a screw hook. 
  • Then, drill a pilot hole in every end of the tool’s handle, and twist in a screw eye. 

Now you can simply suspend the tools from the overhead hooks.

Watch: Tip for Storing Lawn and Garden Tools

Question of the Week

Q: I live in north Georgia where the soil is comprised almost entirely of red clay, so it’s nearly impossible to grow flowers and vegetables in my gardens. I tried tilling the soil and using fertilizers, but nothing seems to grow, except weeds. Do you have any suggestions? 

A: Clay soil has poor drainage and is compacted tightly, so roots won’t hold well. 

Typically, tilling the clay soil and adding a layer of topsoil is enough for grass to grow. However, for plants with deeper root systems, like vegetables and flowers, you’ll need to do a fair amount of work to make that clay soil suitable.

First, till the soil and aerate it as much as possible. Then, sprinkle about an inch of expanded shale over the soil. 

Till the expanded shale into the clay soil, and then spread two to three inches of compost over it. 

Finally, till the compost into the shale and clay soil mixture. 

Once your soil is prepped, make sure the pH is correct for whatever plants you choose.

Skip to [33:50] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.

Other Products and Links Mentioned

Further Reading

Ask a Question! (Podcast)

Ask a question and we could answer it on the “Today’s Homeowner Podcast!” We also may use it on our nationally syndicated radio broadcast or on

Quikrete Calculators: Get Concrete Answers and More

Quikrete Calculators: Get Concrete Answers and More

Quikrete’s calculators eliminate any guesswork when purchasing building materials for home projects. (Photo provided by Quikrete)

Concrete is a cornerstone element for any home project.

For many homes, it’s literally the foundation upon which they are built. Concrete is also a key ingredient of hardscape elements to enhance your backyard; it provides a solid entrance with driveways and walkways; and it securely sets posts for fences or mailboxes.  

Here’s how Quikrete’s calculators do the math for you and make home improvement projects easier.

For concrete slabs, big or small, Quikrete’s concrete calculator tells you the precise amount you’ll need.
For concrete slabs, big or small, Quikrete’s concrete calculator tells you the precise amount you’ll need.

Concrete Slabs

Whether you need a slab for a concrete driveway or shed foundation, Quikrete’s concrete calculator tells you how many bags of mix you’ll need to get the job done — eliminating any worry of being short a bag or buying too many. 

First, choose the desired product — popular options include Quikrete’s Concrete Mix (for larger slabs) and Fast-Setting Concrete Mix in the red bag (for smaller slabs). 

The calculator determines the amount you need for a 4-inch or 6-inch slab. Just enter your slab’s square footage and it will tell you how many 40-, 50-, 60- or 80-pound bags you’ll need. 

Don’t end up shorthanded when setting fence posts! Quikrete’s concrete calculator ensures you’ll have enough Fast-Setting Concrete Mix to get the job done.
Don’t end up shorthanded when setting fence posts! Quikrete’s concrete calculator ensures you’ll have enough Fast-Setting Concrete Mix to get the job done.

Posts and Mailboxes

Installing a mailbox or fence? Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix makes setting your posts fast and easy. 

Calculate how many bags you’ll need here. All you need to do is enter the depth of the hole. The calculator will generate the number of bags you need for various post and hole diameters. 

Use Quikrete’s concrete crack sealant calculator to ensure you’ll have enough sealant to fill every crack and gap. 
Use Quikrete’s concrete crack sealant calculator to ensure you’ll have enough sealant to fill every crack and gap. 

Cracked Concrete

Over time, cracks and crevices will creep up on your concrete. To maintain your concrete surface’s structural integrity and prevent additional damage, repair those cracks with a concrete crack sealant.

Use Quikrete Concrete Repair or Quikrete Advanced Polymer Concrete Crack Sealant for a flexible, elastic bond. 

Simply enter the approximate length of the crack you will be repairing in feet, and Quikrete’s Concrete Crack Sealant Calculator will tell you how many 10.1-ounce tubes you will need for your project.

When building a paver patio, don’t end up short on sand. Quikrete’s paver sand calculator tells you how many bags you’ll need to fill every square inch.
When building a paver patio, don’t end up short on sand. Quikrete’s paver sand calculator tells you how many bags you’ll need to fill every square inch.

Paver Patios

Laying a paver patio? Quikrete has a calculator to determine exactly how many bags of paver sand you’ll need.

Just enter the size of the area you need to cover in square feet. The calculator will tell you how many bags you will need to cover the area at a 1/8-inch, 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch 1/2-inch, 3/4-inch, 1-inch or 2-inch depth.

Once you have your pavers in place, you’ll need to secure them with some polymeric jointing sand. You guessed it — Quikrete also has a calculator for that.

Quikrete’s mortar mix calculator gives you the peace of mind to know you’ll have enough mortar to build a brick wall in one go.
Quikrete’s mortar mix calculator gives you the peace of mind to know you’ll have enough mortar to build a brick wall in one go.

Mortar Mix 

Mortar is the glue that holds bricks together. Whether you’re building a retaining wall or a privacy concrete block wall for your garden, you’ll need some.

And Quikrete has a mortar mix calculator to tell you how much you’ll need. Just enter the number of bricks or concrete blocks you plan to use for your project.

The calculator will tell you the number of 60-pound or 80-pound bags of Quikrete Mortar Mix you need to construct your project with a ⅜-inch mortar joint.

filling toy buckets with sand in a children's sandbox
Building a backyard playground for your child? Quikrete has a calculator to tell you how many bags of sand you’ll need to fill a sandbox. (pixelshot)

Other Material Calculators

Still have a question after you’ve calculated how much material you need? Quikrete has a live chat function on its calculator webpage, so you can talk one-on-one with an expert, ensuring your project will be completed to perfection.

Further Reading

Concrete Garden Bench: Attractive, Easy-to-Build Seating

Concrete Garden Bench: Attractive, Easy-to-Build Seating

A concrete garden bench adds a hardscape element to your backyard’s lush green landscape.

This simple seating lets you stop and smell the roses — literally! —  and can serve as a monument to honor a family member or remember a beloved pet.

Design is all about the details, and I love this garden bench for its simple, clean lines. Here’s how to create it.

Creating a Concrete Garden Bench

Chelsea Lipford Wolfe sits on a concrete garden bench.


1. Size Up the Concrete Garden Bench

First, determine your garden bench’s dimensions. Keep in mind that you’ll need to make one slab for the seat and two slabs for the legs.

To calculate how many bags of Quikrete Concrete Mix you’ll need, enter the bench’s dimensions into Quikrete’s Concrete Calculator

For this bench, I used five 80-pound bags of Quikrete Concrete Mix. Here are the dimensions: 

  • Bench seat: 48 inches long by 16-1/2 inches wide
  • Legs: 16 inches tall and 15-1/2 inches wide 

2. Build the Forms

Next, build forms for your concrete garden bench with pieces of melamine. 

Melamine is an ideal material for concrete forms because it’s slick, releases well from concrete and leaves a smooth surface. 

Cut the melamine to the dimensions you want for your concrete garden bench.

Use drywall screws to attach the sides of each form to the base. Your forms should look like an open box — the large piece will form the seat while the two smaller pieces will form the legs. 

Next, seal the inside seams with caulk, cut reinforcement wire to fit into each form, and set the forms aside.

3. Mix the Concrete

For this amount of concrete, use a wheelbarrow and a garden hoe for mixing. Mixing in a wheelbarrow also makes it easier to pour the cement into the forms.

To get a deep gray finish for the concrete garden bench, add a 10-ounce bottle of Quikrete Liquid Cement Color in Charcoal to the water before mixing. 

When mixing concrete, always use impervious gloves to protect your hands. 

For each 80-pound bag of Quikrete Concrete Mix, add about 6 pints of clean water. Work the mix with the garden hoe and add water until it’s a stiff, moldable consistency. 

Be sure there are no dry pockets of material and don’t leave standing puddles of water.

4. Pour Concrete Mix into the Forms

Pour the concrete mix into the melamine forms until half-full, and then add the reinforcement wire. 

Fill the forms and screed off the excess with a 2-by-4 piece of wood.

Tap the forms on all sides to release air bubbles from the mix. Air bubbles would make the surface of your concrete bench look foamy once it’s dry, and nobody wants that!

Let your concrete dry for at least five days in warm weather at 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher or seven days in colder weather at 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Remove the Forms and Assemble

Unscrew the drywall screws from the melamine forms to remove them once they’re dry. 

Set the legs upright and drill a hole in the top center of each leg. Then, drill two holes in the middle of the concrete seat to match the legs.

To secure the seat to the legs, hammer steel rebar pins into the leg holes and add Quikrete Advanced Polymer Construction Adhesive to the surface. This adhesive will keep the seat in place and prevent wobbling.

Now, attach the seat by lining up the pins with the holes in the seat. Use a level to make sure the bench is even.

Use a sander with 120-grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges. 

Finally (and this is my favorite part) enjoy your new concrete garden bench!

Further Reading