Nichols Bros Stoneworks Cast Stone Installation & Care

Installation of your cast stone urn or vase

Nichols Bros Stoneworks’ cast stone urns and vases can be quite heavy. Upon delivery, make sure to have ample personnel available to unload and install them. Medium to larger vases will require a forklift vehicle for installation. Nichols Bros Stoneworks’ cast stone is very durable but damage can easily occur if not handled properly. Make sure to not mishandle during installation. Remember, they are a cast stone product and not a natural stone. Whence installed, they are typically safe from any possible damage but there are a few common sense measures that should be considered. For example, the cast stone products will not hold up to skateboard trauma and this sort of activity will void its warranty.

It is important that the container(s) be placed onto a flat level surface with some attention to where the excess water will flow. Matching saucers for many sizes of the urns and vases are available (please inquire). The cast stone urns and vases are supplied with small square cut rubber spacers (rubber feet) to elevate it and allow water to drain correctly (see figure 1).

If you are planning to install your vase on top of a column or wall pylon, that has not yet been constructed, then you have the option of incorporating a drainage pipe into the column or wall design using a PVC pipe drain (see figure 2).

Many of the Nichols Bros Stoneworks’ cast stone urn and vase designs, are made up of 2 to 3 sections. For example, many of the Frank Lloyd Wright urns and vases have a cap that is separate from the bowl or base. The base can also be separate from the bowl section. During assembly, the sections should be secured together using a standard mason’s waterproof mortar, epoxy, or landscape adhesive. The sections can be heavy so this may require more than one person. Some customers prefer not to use an adhesive when assembling the top or cap in the event that the vase may need to be moved in the future. Sometime its sheer weight is enough for securing into place.

Cleaning

Nichols Bros Stoneworks’ cast stone products are manufactured using a dry-cast stone material that ages and behaves much like cut sandstone. You will find that it will age or patina naturally over time. Due to its natural porosity, mosses, lichen and algae’s will find the material a great place to live and within just a few years, the container will look like they are quite old. If this is a look you find desirable or compatible with its environment, then you can accelerate the process by applying a wash of yogurt, beer, or moss to the outside surface of the stone and keeping the stone wet for some time. If you prefer to keep your container(s) looking as new as possible, then applying a clear stone waterproofing sealant to the exterior of the stone (when new) and periodically cleaning it with a bleach and water solution will prevent the growth of vegetation on its surface. The use of a “low-pressure” pressure washer can be used but with much care. Do not hold the pressure washer wand nose close to the surface. A very high-pressure washer of commercial grade is not advised. Acid based masonry cleaners should be tested in an inconspicuous location of the container before its full use. An acid based masonry cleaner, if used full strength, can dissolve the cast stone material. If concerned about cleaning the surface of your cast stone product, then first try using a mix of baking soda and water with a soft brush and rinse. This may work for you just fine.

Be aware! We have noticed that some of the new premium potting soil mixes, which contain high levels of fertilizer, have a tendency to stain the outside of the cast stone products in a brown stain.

Additional Care Considerations

Nichols Bros Stoneworks’ cast stone products are capable of withstanding freezes without damage provided some measures are taken. It is possible for water saturated root and soil balls to freeze, expand, and fracture the container from the inside out. For this reason care should be taken in geographic areas where temperatures become very cold to prevent this from occurring. Consider removing any root balls from the container during dormant winter months. Many of our customers who do not decorate the planters will create covers for them and decorate on top of the cover as a precaution.

In cases where the cast stone is subjected to wide extremes in temperature, you may notice the development of small hairline cracks in the stone. These cracks are normal and due to expansion and contraction within the walls of the container. Some of this can be minimized from placing the cast stone container(s) in areas where they are not in direct sunlight (and heat up) or near sprinklers that can cool them down rapidly when hot. Care should also be taken to not wet the cast stone container down with cold water when the cast stone is extremely hot as cracking can possibly occur from thermal shock.