Pet-safe & waterproof concrete sealant?
July 12, 2010 8:08 AM   Subscribe

Are there any pet-safe, waterproof sealants/paints/etc that can be used to coat a flaking concrete/terracotta water fountain?

I'd like to get my cat a drinking fountain, and have an old mostly-for-humans-to-look-at bubbling fountain I was hoping to reuse. (I'm aware that pet drinking fountains exist but that's outside the scope of this question.)

It's made of concrete or terracotta, and has got a few layers of paint on it which are flaking off in decent quantities when filled with water. Obviously not good for the cat or the pump filter.

Searching for sealants or paints to use to try and coat this thing and prevent the flaking is proving difficult, since "is it pet safe" isn't really something the marketing material focuses on.

Can anyone recommend a product that will work for this particular application, or point me to relevant info? Bonus points if it goes on clear/transparent.
posted by cyrusdogstar to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Shellac will do what you want. Shellac is inert once the solvent evaporates which depending on concentration might be a few minutes to a day. (I mix my own shellac from flakes and ethyl alcohol, which vapour pressure is so high it dries close to instantly.) Alcohol solved shellac is considered food-safe by the FDA. Be careful of store-bought shellac; check the solvent.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:45 AM on July 12, 2010

Why don't you remove the flaking paint? A good scrubbing followd by a pressure wash should do it.
posted by fshgrl at 10:09 AM on July 12, 2010

Response by poster: Sean -- thanks, that's a good place to start.

fshgrl -- sorry, forgot to mention that we've been doing that but it's difficult to get all of it off reliably (and it seems like there's multiple layers which also start to come off once an outer layer has been removed for a while). We were hoping to avoid a long painstaking series of scrubbings and soakings :)
posted by cyrusdogstar at 11:10 AM on July 12, 2010

I can't speak to how well it will stick to terracotta, but once cured, Krylon Fusion spraypaint is safe* for use in salt water reef tanks. And since salt water reef tanks represent the most sensitive-to-any-chemical-change imaginable, it should be fine for any larger animals.

That said, I'd strongly suggest that you follow fshgrl's suggestion and strip as much of that old paint off as possible before doing anything. It'll give you a much more stable base for any paint/ sealant to adhere to if there aren't easily dislodged flakes to contend with.

*: "Safe" here being a relative term. For legal reasons, the people at Krylon don't claim it to be reef safe, but it is the most commonly used in the hobby, and is recommended by nearly everyone with experience.
posted by quin at 12:53 PM on July 12, 2010

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