I Tried Hypertufa But My Project Crumbled Apart!

A Frustrated Hypertufa Trough Maker Seeks Helpful Advice

I received an email this week asking me:

A friend and I tried one of your basic hypertufa recipes without adding the fiber mesh. Our results are very crumbly. I think we goofed by not using it, right? Where does one find fiber mesh? NewLearner

My reply:
Hi NewLearner:

I hate to say it, but I don’t believe the lack of fiber mesh in your basic recipe was the cause for a crumbly failure. Sounds like the amount of water you used and/or wrong proportions of ingredients was your problem.

You didn’t tell me the “basic” ingredients you used, nor the ratios. Too much or too little water is often the cause of failed hypertufa recipes. Sometimes too much of one of the dry ingredients can be the culprit. Since I wasn’t there to observe you mixing up the recipe, I can’t be more specific in figuring out the cause.

I suggest you (re)read this article: Hypertufa Recipe Mixing Guidelines.

About where to find the fiber mesh – you can check with commercial concrete companies if you cannot find it in retail stores that have a good assortment of concrete products. Fiber mesh can sometimes be hard to find in certain areas of the country. I also suggest you Google “fiber mesh for concrete” and many results will come up and you’ll find online sources.

Also read the blog post I wrote on just this subject: locating silica fume and poly fibers. I believe you’ll find it quite informative and helpful.

Remember … hypertufa “success” often takes a couple failed attempts. Really. Portland cement can be temperamental to work with. Most crafters really have to get the hang of the correct water ratio in relation to the portland cement, along with following proper curing methods. Keep trying your hand at small projects (less wasted materials) until you believe “you’ve GOT IT!” 😉


  1. SONAL BHAWSAR says:

    I just love your site – I seen some great stuff here.

  2. Carolann Glock says:

    Can I just say what a relief to find someone who truly knows what they’re speaking about on the internet – especially about hypertufa and the pitfalls and how to avoid them! I’ve had nothing but crumbling disasters of one sort or another since I’ve tried to make something from hypertufa. I’m going to read through all your articles and posts about working with tufa and hopefully my next project will be successful. Love your site!

  3. Hey Carolann:

    Glad you find my site of value – I do try hard to deliver quality information and is easy to read and understand.

    About your disasters. As you probably know by now, the ratio of water being used is the #1 cause of disasters. Either too little, too much and/or not incorporating it and the other ingredients thoroughly. So, I’m glad you’re going to read through my ‘tufa aticles. You shouldn’t have problems after that. And if I may give a shameless plug for my Hypertufa How-To Manual eBook … check it out, you might want to get a copy for yourself. 🙂

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