Concrete and vitreous enamel: can they go together?
August 30, 2008 2:40 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to make concrete slabs and coat them with vitreous enamel, but concrete breaks down at high temperatures. Is there anything as long-lasting and beautiful as vitreous enamel that could be applied to concrete? Or is there anything with the properties of concrete that can withstand the application of vitreous enamel?
posted by Joe in Australia to Technology (7 answers total)
I'm not clear about exactly what you're trying to do, or which properties of concrete are important to you, but the usual way do do something like this would be to set glazed ceramic tiles on a concrete substrate.
posted by jon1270 at 3:07 AM on August 30, 2008

Could you seal it (if needed?) and then put on high gloss epoxy resin, like this etsy artist did on this wooden stool? (Here's another by the same artist.) There are also a lot of google results for high gloss concrete, so a little more detail about what you're looking for would help.
posted by daisyace at 6:45 AM on August 30, 2008

Clay is the most obvious substitute for concrete. If the slabs are thin & dry enough and you're willing to experiment, you can do it all in one shot, without bisque firing.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:07 AM on August 30, 2008

FireRok high temperature concrete. Good up to 1800 F. Vitreous enamel is fired at about 1500 F.
posted by JackFlash at 10:29 AM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm not clear about exactly what you're trying to do, or which properties of concrete are important to you [...]

I'd like to be able to pour concrete into a mold, and then coat the finished slab with beautiful shimmering enamel. I want to hang the slabs on a wall outside, and I'm worried that paint won't be as long-lasting. Also, I really like the way that vitreous enamel looks. The FireRok looks interesting - I'll check that out. Any other suggestions? Is there a way I could melt enamel onto a slab without letting most of it get hot? Or is there something like enamel that melts at a much lower temperature, but is still long-lasting and UV resistant?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:13 PM on August 30, 2008

My materials-tester husband advises you to take a look at this link:

Also, google "refractories," he says.
posted by thebrokedown at 7:50 AM on August 31, 2008

You can pour clay into plaster molds. Many shiny glazes are available. Recommend you coat the top edge with glaze if outdoor temps drop below freezing.

Lest you have gotten the idea that clay isn´t durable for outdoors because plant pots don´t hold up well, clay holds up much better if not filled with materials that expand when frozen.
posted by yohko at 11:01 AM on September 2, 2008

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