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CSA Aircrete Garden Boxes PART 3.7 – Lightweight Foam Concrete from CSA Cement

CSA Aircrete Garden Boxes PART 3.7 – Lightweight Foam Concrete from CSA Cement


Hi, its Kent from MAN about TOOLS and this
is yet another follow up video to Part 3 of my series on making garden box panels from
lightweight concrete. And this time I’ll make aircrete using CSA
cement. This is part 3.7 of my series on casting your
own reinforced concrete garden box panels. As you may have seen, these panels link together
to make rot proof long lasting garden boxes. In Part 3.6 I reworked my aircrete blend and
the results were really good. Many viewers wanted to know if you could make
aircrete from CSA cement. So this video is about doing just that. If you haven’t seen part 1 and 2 of this series
then you might get more from this video if you watch them first as I won’t be covering
all the steps needed to make the forms and prep them for casting. See the link in the upper right or in the
description below. I’ll be using the plywood forms I built in
part 1 of the series. These forms have a durable and smooth polyurethane
coating that seems to work well with aircrete. I have plans available on my site along with
a full blog post for this video with the ingredients and ratios for the CSA aircrete mixes. Okay, here’s how I made the panels. The CSA aircrete is made from only a few ingredients:
CSA cement, shampoo to create a foam, a little glass fiber for extra strength, and a plasticizer
to liquify the mix. I’ll also add some liquid colour too. I’ve covered the shampoo dilution steps in
other videos so I’ll just do a quick summary here. It’s 15 fluid ounces of shampoo to two and
a half gallons of water. I stir this with a paint mixer, on a low setting,
to dissolve the shampoo in the water. Then I store the dilution in jugs for later
use. This Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo works
really well for aircrete. To make the foam I’ll be using the large Foam
Mate that Darwin from The Honeydo Carpenter sent me. I pour the shampoo dilution in the tank, connect
my air hose, and it makes awesome foam. Link to Darwin’s channel and his Foam Mate
in the description below. I don’t have pure CSA cement so I’ll use a
product called Cement All. It has CSA cement mixed with fine sand. I use a digital scale to weigh my ingredients. I use 15 pounds of Cement All, 3 pounds of
water, 3/4 of a pound of foam, 1 teaspoon of plasticizer, and a pinch of fiber. I start by adding a teaspoon of the plasticizer
to the water. Then slowly add the Cement All to the water
while spinning the slurry with a paint mixing attachment on a drill. I don’t want any clumps or dry cement on the
bottom or sides of the pail. I use a dowel to hand stir the mix to prevent
this. I’ll add the glass fibre and mix that in. Now the slurry is ready for foam. I connect my air hose to the Foam Mate and
once it’s flowing well and becomes thick I add some to the slurry pail. I have a mark on my stir stick that approximates
the amount of CSA aircrete I need to fill one 36″ form. For a five gallon pail, I need it filled to
the 8″ mark as a minimum. I think on this first batch I added a little
too much foam. But I decided to go ahead with it anyways
knowing that the density of this first panel would be lighter. I pour the CSA aircrete into the form, giving
it a jiggle to settle the mix into the corners. Once it begins to thicken, I lay in a galvanized
wire reinforcing grid. Pressing it down so it settles right in the
center. Then I smooth the surface with a small trowel. As before I start by dissolving the plasticizer
in the water. In this second batch I’ll use the same amount
of water and Cement All as I did in the first. I’ll also add some liquid cement dye. About one fluid ounce. As before, I slowly add the cement to the
water. Then add the glass fibre. Hand stirring to free up any clumps from the
sides or bottom of the pail. Then add the foam and blend it again with
the mixer. I think I got the foam right on this blend. Just enough to bring the mix up to the 8″
mark on my stir stick. After the mix began to thicken I laid in a
double wire grid. I make this grid from a section of galvanized
fence. Folding it over to form a thin wire cage. In the third mix I upped the cement ratio. It’s now 20 lbs of Cement All, 4 lbs of water,
about the same amount of foam, 2 teaspoons of plasticizer, and a bit of fibre. And I’ll add charcoal liquid colour to the
water this time. Once well blended I add the foam and mix that
in well. And then pour it into the form. Shaking it to settle the CSA aircrete. After it begins to thicken I added the wire
grid. I pressed this in and smooth with a trowel. When the CSA aircrete began to warm, and the
surface dried with a white haze, I sprinkled water over it. I repeated this for an hour. Keeping the surface wet as it cured. I covered them with plastic and left them
overnight. The next morning I stripped the forms from
the castings. I remove all the screws from the form, gently
wiggle the sides to free them, then remove the panel from the base and stand it on one
side. And then remove the ends. The sand in the Cement All was noticeable
in these panels compared to Portland-based aircrete. And I had hoped that it would make the panels
more durable and impact resistant. All the panels came out of the forms well. They all felt sound and solid. Other than some surface blemishes around the
panel inset, there were no significant cracks or any signs of warpage. As in my last two videos, these panels where
also submerged in water in an improvised tank. They soaked for two weeks then were pulled
out and left to slowly dry in my shop for another two weeks. I then weighed the panels and lined them up
on the lawn and ran a line trimmer along them all. As a test for surface durability. The first two panels didn’t do so well. The line trimmer cut grooves in the surface. The third panel, with a higher percentage
of Cement All did better. It only had minor damage. The first two panels were very close in weight
and averaged 64% lighter than regular gravel and sand based portland concrete. The third panel was 52% lighter than regular
concrete. I used more Cement All in this one cause I
just had a hunch that this type of aircrete needed to be denser. The panels look good and the bubbles appear
to be uniform. I didn’t see any cracks forming or any warping
as they fully cured and dried. So the density of the cement seems to be adequate
so the panel can resist the internal stresses that build up during curing and drying. I had hoped that the stronger CSA cement would
make these panels more durable but they didn’t do so well against the line trimmer. The denser third one did better than the first
two. So I hope that was helpful. And I think it showed that aircrete can be
made from CSA based cement. I can’t say just yet that it’s any better
than a portland based version. There’s a possibility that the sand is actually
detrimental and weakens the tiny bubbles. I’d have to get my hands on some pure CSA
cement to see if that was the case. Drop any questions you might have in the comment
section and I’ll try to get to as many as I can. If you like what you see here then please
give this video a thumbs up and subscribe as that really helps the channel. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you next
time.

Comments (32)

  1. i'm with you on the sand probably weakening the mix. i am hoping you can find pure csa for a part 3.8 :-). when you add the fibers, i think i would be tempted to add a lot more, maybe 10x, as i doubt what you put in is enough to help, and don't think more would hurt the mix. you probably mentioned it in previous videos, but what it the plasticizer and where do you get it. is it the flow additive?

  2. You're really putting your forms to good use! Good to see they're holding up after so many pours.

  3. I think Aircrete Harry's experience with sand would bear out your suspicions. For him, it made the Aircrete brittle and crumbly. Thanks for the informative videos.

  4. Superb video
    A bit of info: the wire mesh & the fibermesh act in the same, supporting the strength of the concrete.
    Using both gives no added benefit.
    When using just fibermesh, you fold it into your slurry mix. No power drill used, with a large stick, gently folding in trying not to break the fiberglass strands. A handful of fiber should be enough for this project.
    Suggestion, next sample might be with plastic cement. This has plastsizer & lime in the mix.
    Other suggestion; try using bleach & peroxide. A chemical foaming reaction, in stead of soap foam.

  5. brilliant and useful what does 54% lighter mean ? ( standard x 0.54 = ) or ( standard x [ 1 – 0.54 ] = ) ?

  6. You can get pure CSA cement. CTS sells it as DOT Cement. The big box stores don't carry it but a contractor supply house may have it

  7. Have you thought about reinforcing the surface of the aircrete with a cement slurry and/or conrete sealer?

  8. Wait a sec … there's more?!?

  9. Would you ever mix CSA with Portland? How much lime would you add? What are the physical characteristics of the various cementitious materials? Would Portland with lighter weight mortar be a good mix?

  10. You give percentages with the comparison but how about listing the weight itself in pounds

  11. A neat trick if you ever make a panel that you want to have sunlight or other source come through is to have fiber optic glass lined up to be through the sides of the slab. You will need to clean the ends but you get light-through walls.

  12. Thanks for the additional testing. Are you putting all of the panels you have made to use in the garden? It would be great to see them again in a year.

  13. Thank you for this great series

  14. Nice presentation as always. I will be pursuing tests with rammed earth pavers. My early tests with wall miniatures have shown to be weather resistant. I may increase cement from 10% for the walls to 20% for the pavers. Garden pavers would look nice around your raised bed sections.

  15. Curing concrete underwater really produces a superior product. Concrete cured underwater for 7 days is 50% stronger than air-cured concrete. Curing concrete for 28 days underwater produces concrete that is 125% stronger than its air-cured counterpart. That's near 7000 PSI, my friends.
    Do you feel that the lightweight concrete is worth the extra trouble? Once my raised beds are in place I can't see moving them, certainly not often

  16. Please do a video on putting together a raised bed garden using these panels. I'd like to see them in use. If only you could purchase something similar to these at the local garden shop to do a raised bed with. Might have to break out the tools and make some! Thanks for sharing

  17. This series has been really fun to follow! I noticed how light the panel was when you easily moved it with one hand at about the 8:57 mark. Such a smart design. It's like watching "behind the scenes" of product development. We are all eager for you to WIN this competition you challenged yourself with. Can't wait – in it to win it! 😀

  18. From what I read about plasticizers, soap/foam serves the same purpose. Is it possible that using both resulted In too much water?

  19. I have been following your garden box videos as they are published. Thank you for taking the time to make the panels and publish the results, it should save a lot of people a lot of wasted time. The thing that I have been considering, since your first video, is to encase foam board in the cement panel. This would allow for a hard, more dense surface, and a lighter weight added in the interior where it would be less likely to affect the durability. From my research, it is suggested that the foam be perforated at several spots where the cement can connect through the foam and join both sides. I saw this in a counter top video where they used foam board as a core. If you are looking for another option, this is one I would like to see. Again, thanks for your time and diligence in making this information available.

  20. Make a comparison chart showing all your tests and rank them

  21. I wonder if you lined the casts with a light fibreglass cloth, then poured the cement mix in whether that would allow you to really reduce the cement or CSA cement ratio to foam ratios and still survive the line trimmer test?

  22. Just came across your channel. Great idea and well presented. Have you tried using 2 mixes. Adding small amount of more durable mix then topping up with lighter mix. Thanks for the inspirational videos. Will have to try this.

  23. Another well done exercise on the "Panel Project". I'm kind of surprised you did not make one with perlite however with the sand n the mix it would appear to be pointless at first glance.

  24. have you thought about tryin to pour 1' of you light weight perlite mix into each frame and then finish them off with the air create
    you might get a stronger surface for the face but still get the light weight frames

  25. Have you considered creating a spreadsheet?
    In cold climates how do you think these will fare from cracking due to ground heaving or Expansion.

  26. Thanks for doing this one! It's the version I was most interested to see

  27. can make heavy duty ones for ground level and lighter ones for higher up

  28. Do you follow Modustrial Maker❓ He builds things out of fiber-reinforces concrete. First, he sprays a layer of white Portland cement based c-crete, followed by a more traditional mix. If you do something similar, leave the core c-crete an 1/8" or so shy of the form, and level off with the whatever you use for the "skin".
    By using white PC, you could pigment it any color you wish. Rainbow tie-dye garden boxes, anyone❓

  29. Add aluminum/steel/plastic/etc shavings?

  30. Does that tiny amount of glass fiber really make much of a deference?

  31. Thanks for doing these videos – they are very well presented and instructive.

    I think any erosion at all from the trimmer would be an issue in the medium to long term. Would it be possible to make some panels with a hard lower face of regular concrete to resist the trimmer and then a light areo mixture for the rest which would not be subject to the trimmer. You would then have durability just where it's needed on the lower outer face with the remaining 70-80% made of an even lighter mix. It would be like face hardened steel. I wonder if it would delaminate or warp.

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