Hypertufa Project Disaster! Was It the Old Peat Moss?

After 13 Years of Hypertufa Success …

Disaster Strikes! Why??


Cinda emailed me today and asked:

My reply:


Hi Cinda:


Hey – first off – thanks for being such a loyal follower of my site! That’s nice to know. And, you’re not bothering me at all! This is a great learning situation for anyone reading this post. Especially newbies. I love trying to help others not repeat the mistakes myself or other hypertufa crafters have made.


On to your troubles. Well, I’m going to have to make educated, but perhaps some stab-in-the-dark guesses as to what the problem(s) might be. You have been working in hypertufa for so many years, so obviously you’ve got the hang of it! 🙂 (You could teach us a thing or two, I am sure!)


I see one BIG “clue” to the possible problem that you’ve given … the peat moss was “in storage for over a year.” 


This could be the “BINGO!!” we’re looking for. 


So I’ll ask … did you pre-soak the peat for a nice long time so it could really absorb water?? I haven’t experienced it, but have learned of others having crumbly ‘tufa problems when they used “old” peat moss. 


While we may not think “old” peat moss would make a difference — after all, water is added into the recipe — it can and very often does because it slowly absorbs the water, because it’s too dry to begin with, that’s necessary for the Portland cement to cure properly! 


So, this is my #1 guess to your problem.

Next … could it be the humidity level in the Oregon air? You just moved there, haven’t done any other hypertufa projects and “maybe” you just didn’t provide enough moisture during the curing process?


Or maybe you’re just out of the swing of things and it’s been awhile and well … you had a failure. But I doubt this. I’m going to wager the problem was the too-dry peat moss.


Last, I do not think using PAM is the issue, as many use it, myself included at times. Your problem, to me, points back to a recipe and/or curing glitch.

Does this make sense to you?? I’d say ditch the old peat moss and go buy a new bale. It’s pretty cheap, plus you can use some if you want in your garden as a soil amendment. 😉


Please let us know what the result is of your next project as it would be interesting and informative to learn what you decided the culprit was in this unsuccessful hypertufa project. 


Good luck next time around!

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