Concrete Vs Fiberglass Water Features

Basic Types of Waterfalls

Waterfalls and fountains are an excellent source of peace and tranquility, which can create a relaxing environment around you. The reason people love to go to parks with fountains, beaches and natural waterfalls is it brings a sense of serenity and warmth around and within you. Research studies on the effects of trickling and flowing water has shown that it enhances your mood, reduce stress levels and acts as a white noise. Other studies on the impact of water on your health have shown that it provides humidity, purifies the air and improves overall health. And of course, it makes your garden more appealing and beautiful and provides a dramatic and well defined focal point in your back yard or garden.

Pondless Waterfalls

Waterfalls can be added to your existing pool or spa or can be designed as a stand-alone item, known as pondless waterfall. And if you are wondering where the water goes in a pondless waterfall, it flows down the rocks and gathers in a small basin hidden beneath the rocks and is carried back to the top via a hose. You can turn the waterfall on and off, as in a fountain, and needs nearly no maintenance after installation.

Material Used in Waterfall Construction

There are many different types of materials used in constructing waterfalls. Synthetic fiberglass rock materials can withstand the weather conditions, but natural materials blend better with the landscape. Man-made materials include fiberglass, ceramic, acrylic, stainless steel, concrete, GFRC, styrofoam, polyurethane, glass, plastics, and resin, while natural materials include wood, stone and slate, marble, and tile. Metals are also used such as brass and copper. The most popular types of material for large landscape waterfalls are discussed below: Rock and Concrete.

Rock Waterfalls

Rock waterfalls are the most popular type of waterfall feature because they create a natural, tropical, resort like environment. A rock waterfall is can be an amazing addition to a pool or pond, or you can install a stand-alone feature called pondless waterfall. You can choose natural stone or faux rock. The cost for a pool rock waterfall varies from company to company. There is no set budget and prices vary from region to region based on experience. Man made rock waterfalls are an art form that can take many years to learn. Prices fluctuate with supply and demand. Most rock waterfall contractors in Canada have prices that range between $40-$100 per sq/ft of shotcrete, GFRC, or other rock material. Companies that produce rock waterfalls with fiberglass such as WaterfallNow can do them for less than prices quoted for shotcrete. You end up saving more upfront and in the long-run.

Natural Stone

If you have a taste for authentic materials, you can explore local quarries. There is an option of shipping stone from distant locations, as long as you are ready to bear the shipping cost which is high. Natural stone is cheaper when bought in bulk, but the cost of freight and installation makes it as expensive as the manmade stones.

Artificial Fiberglass Rock

Faux rock is usually composed of Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) that is prepared from natural rock formations and is colored to match the grains and texture of different types of stones. GFRC is lighter in weight and very easy to install compared to shotcrete. WaterfallNow is one of the only companies in North America using a special rock panel which the company produces themselves in Surrey, BC, Canada. How much does concrete rock water features cost vs fiberglass rock waterfalls? Fiberglass rocks can cost around half as much with prices improving as you scale up in size.

fiberglass rocks

Concrete Waterfalls

Concrete waterfalls demand a considerable level of skill and expertise, but they make a permanent feature in your garden or backyard. They are most effective when used with rocks and stones.  The excavation for concrete waterfalls has to be waterproofed, preferably polythene. In case you want to add rocks or stones, you should do it while the concrete is wet. And the soil at the site should be compacted enough to support the weight of the concrete.

Concrete waterfalls allow a wide range of altering the dimension, such as length, width or shape. In addition, the basin can be made smaller as the space of the water is not taken up by the rocks. Concrete waterfalls are stationary – especially when you have kids there is no risk of movement, permanent, lifetime life expectancy, more economical to build and operate, easier to clean or maintain, safer and more natural looking. They are sturdy but also considerably heavy. You definitely want to ensure they are kept moist while setting to delay cracking. Shotcrete carved rocks will inevitably begin to deteriorate over time. Leaks can prove expensive as well as impossible to repair as they are difficult to detect especially if they are happening within the solid concrete rock formations.

In short, waterfalls whether an addition or stand-alone item can be an amazing addition to your garden or backyard. It is a great way to bring all the positive energy and health benefits offered by flowing water into your home.

Fiberglass Vs Concrete Pools

 

Fiberglass Rock Tradeshow Booth

WaterfallNow builds custom made display booths and tradeshow booths.

Custom made on-site or built and shipped out.

These are lightweight and reusable for future displays.

Smaller popup stand displays can also be custom made.

Larger display booths come in multiple parts that can be assembled on-site. (slots)

We build them indoors, outdoors, and anywhere else you need.

We can work with the mold you provide for more unique designs or build one from our shop.

We also have our own selection of rock panels which you can inquire about at [email protected]

Everything we build is done on-site or shipped. Endless possibilities. With water feature or without.

1413 sandhurst west vancouver waterfallnow golf tradeshow pga vancouver waterfallnow indoor aquarium style rock wall water feature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trade Show fiberglass rock display booths are built in BC, Canada and shipped globally.

We’ve built rock water features for Korea, China, UK, USA, Canada, Dubai, and more.

[email protected]

Artificial Rock Advantages And Benefits

Any Shape Or Size

One of the many advantages of artificial rocks or man-made rocks is that they can be made to can be made to any shape or size.

Where real rocks often come in random shapes and sizes, they are often not as easy to manipulate as artificial rocks despite a mason’s best efforts.

There are many different types of artificial rocks. The most popular being shotcrete, GFRC rock paneling, polyurethane foam, styrofoam, plastic, or fiberglass panels which is what WaterfallNow specializes in.

Natural stone can only stack so high and comes in limited supply depending on where one is located. It requires a lot of manpower as well as heavy machinery.

While we appreciate the beauty of natural rocks, we noticed over 30 years of landscaping, that many water features made with natural stone tend to operate for 2-3 years until they run into ongoing maintenance issues.

Artificial rocks can be designed as pondless waterfalls to reduce maintenance and maximize uptime.

Weight

Artificial rocks weigh less than natural rocks which can require heavy equipment and machinery to maneuver.

Fake rocks such as foam or fiberglass rocks can be lifted by a single person with ease.

Shotcrete rocks are sprayed on-site into a rebar structure and then carved. One of the major disadvantages with concrete is their tendency to crack.

It is often common for most swimming pool water features to be constructed using concrete.

This because most concrete contractors specialize in building swimming pools already.

This isn’t however to say that a swimming pool water feature is always best built with shotcrete.

There are instances where due to large size, it is better to use a hollow structure that is far more cost efficient and affordable.

Weight is not an issue with fiberglass rocks so a special permit is not required.

The creation of large overhangs is much more affordable and safer overall when using artificial rock (hollowed out) as opposed to natural stone which can crack, fall, and potentially crush whoever is underneath.

Color

Artificial rocks can come in any number of colors. Special paints and coatings can be applied to create realistic rock surfaces that you cannot tell apart from real rocks.

Another advantage of artificial rocks is that you can change their color from one year to the next. Tired of brown? The contractor can simply paint over top to another desired color.

WaterfallNow uses a special compound that allows algae to form on the rocks which creates a more realistic appearance over time.

Durability

Fiberglass for example is an extremely durable material. When hardened it is pound for pound many times stronger than steel. It is very water resistant and not prone to cracking due to freeze-thaw action in freezing climates. It also lasts in hot climates.

When built to a commercial thickness, water features made using fiberglass can last for many decades without need of repairs.

Plumbing is protected and easily accessible with pondless waterfalls built using fiberglass. An access to the inner workings can always be made available. On the other hand, internal plumbing issues can be costly to remedy with shotcrete rocks should there be a hidden leak somewhere inside the structure. Once the concrete hardens, it is difficult and costly to repair.

Any Location

You can put artificial rocks anywhere. They can even go in small doorways where natural rocks cannot pass through, rooftops where you can crane up the lightweight artificial rocks, in malls, amusement parks, theme parks, hotels, and anywhere else you can imagine would be suitable. They can be made to be hollow and used as covers for electrical or manholes.

Concrete rocks are recommended for walkways whereas fiberglass rocks are recommended for decorative elements such as to build the caves, overhangs, and rock walls. The versatility of fiberglass allows contractors to add in custom elements such as LED lighting and other features even after construction has finished. One can simply cut into the fiberglass, add the elements, and then re finish the area.

Patterns

Artificial rock contractors can imitate natural rock patterns to add onto existing natural rock features. With a fiberglass molded rock, you essentially have a rock face that is identical to that of real rock. Shotcrete does not have this advantage and the rock texture is really up to the individual artist to carve out realistic patterns which is not always easy to do.

This is apparent on larger rockwork where one portion may look completely different from another and inconsistent as different workers have different levels of talent.

Sometimes, it is recommended to have a concrete contractor working with other contractors (polyurethane foam or fiberglass) where one focuses on the paving and the other focuses on creating the rock caves and walls.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both concrete and fiberglass but they balance eachother out when combined.

Special resins and paints are available to reduce the shine from fiberglass rocks.

There are definitely great instances of shotcrete used for decorative purposes. Many of the world’s most famous amusement park water features (Big Thunder Mountain @ Disney Land) were designed using shotcrete.

Cost

Real rocks would be financially unrealistic or impossible as a solution for most largescale projects. The biggest advantage of artificial rocks is their lower cost in comparison to real rocks.

For the same price you can expect a rock that is over 50% larger if you choose to go with artificial rock at a lower price. This is because there is less need for heavy machinery, labourers, and manpower.

Fiberglass is one of the most cost effective solutions that we currently offer and specialize in because of the competitive pricing and due to the fact that there are very few competitors. Nearly 90% of all of WaterfallNow’s work is made using a special fiberglass reinforced rock.

Cave rock or custom pool rock waterfalls always range in pricing and there is no real set standard pricing. It is up to the contractors experience, labour costs, material costs, time, overhead, and more to determine what they need to charge in order to make a profit.

Fortunately WaterfallNow has this all figured out and operates with small but highly skilled crews that works year-round. Our simple yet effective process allows us to cost 50% less than the next leading competitor for artificial rock projects.

Turn a boring landscape into something extraordinary with the addition of a custom artificial rock water feature. There are no limits to the possibilities and custom options. Except maybe your budget – Let’s be real here. Call WaterfallNow for your free estimate today.

 

Some photos to show you why most companies do not touch fiberglass. It is a VERY messy process to create the rock panels.

WaterfallNow’s designers have manufactured over 90% of the fiberglass rock panels used, locally, in Surrey, BC for many years. We can attest to the difficulty of the process and how damaging it can be on ones health. For this reason we do not employ entry level workers and prefer to do all of our manufacturing ourselves which is also a factor in our competitive pricing.

 

We purchase resin and fiberglass materials from China and manufacture our rock panels locally according to specific needs of our local clients. On any given day we can produce dozens of artificial rock panels. Each panel weighs less than 80lbs.

WaterfallNow – local and global artificial rocks

https://www.facebook.com/waterfallnow/photos/ms.c.eJw90NsNRCEIBNCONiDv~;hvb6yD8mJwwEMFcJcktKJJFfwZbwspw5JFrCR9~;jxrpWZMyB9WzEfK65lv3PGv0s42t8~;rsCsvU3dDv~_RwOW6y~;eVpFz~;fDn1PXmMeTL0J996nej9aF~_TL9Fcj77FPZzs13P8390K8x93Tq~_9b4dJ3Hcuclybrz~;gf851To.bps.a.564378223745044.1073741837.226337624215774/564380657078134/?type=3&theater

waterfallnow home 2575 marine drive water features burnaby
waterfallnow 1 artificial rock panel vancouver Water Features Aria Surrey - Copy

1413 Sandhurst – Water Features Construction Underway

WaterfallNow was recently referred to construct multiple rock water features for this beautiful custom built home in West Vancouver  at 1413 Sandhurst Place intersecting at Chartwell Drive in West Vancouver, BC, Canada.

1413 sandhurst place WaterfallNow 1413 sandhurst vancouver1413 sandhurst place1413 sandhurst place West vancouver

Sample Photos During Construction Process. The final product always looks completely different once attention to detail, water, lighting, touch ups, and coloring are added.


Completed – new photos to come. Custom fiberglass rock waterfall feature in Zero Ave, High Point, Langley, BC, Canada.

zero ave water feature Langley high point water features langley

Also see

2575 Marine Drive West Vancouver

2575 Marine Drive West Van

 

3d Aquarium Rock Background (Fiberglass)

Due to several requests, WaterfallNow has recently experimented with different 3d rock backgrounds for freshwater and saltwater fish aquariums and reptile tanks.

I looked at a few sites online to research whether or not regular epoxy resins (the kind used to seal boats).

One concern is whether or not non specific resin could potentially leak chemicals into the containing water and kill the fish.

 

When resin mixed with hardener that is properly mixed fully cures, it will not leach and basically becomes similar to a hard plastic. To be on the safe side, a hot curing process can create a stronger fiberglass product. In most cases direct sunlight on a hot day can do in a pinch however a hot box with a higher temperature will also create a much stronger bond.

A specific resin I came across that is specifically designed for use in aquariums is Sweetwater Epoxy made by Aquatic Ecosystems Inc.

Another resin is Max ACR resin which can be purchased on Amazon.

While general purpose resin is used for the construction of many aquariums, it is also sanded down and in some cases painted.

The worry with a 3d rock aquarium wall made with fiberglass resin would be that since natural rock sediments are mixed in, there may be some potential for leaching.

In the coral video below, one fellow claims to have tested his fiberglass coral for 12 months without incident.

I have not yet tested  this out myself with real fish but have begun with putting a fiberglass rock in a water tank and will run a few tests in several months to see if the water quality has been affected.

Because most people will change out an aquariums rock wall background or fiberglass corals out every year or so, the chances of leaching are likely very small when the correct ratio of hardener to resin is used.

There is very low risk of leaching when used for reptile tanks as there is no water in the tank. However, you could risk creating a toxic environment for your lizards if there was to be humidity combined with improper curing techniques. In general, once fully cured, the resin can be assumed to be safe for use. To be on the safe side, you could opt to use a foam or rubber type material instead which can also be found and purchased on Amazon.

Sample of some of our fiberglass faux rock panels. The panels made using concrete GFRC are much heavier and thicker.

Making a small intricately designed rock mold and 3D rock background is not a difficult DIY project however it will cost more than simply purchasing one online.

Retrofit artificial rocks to an indoor aquarium. No limits to how you want it made!
Made by WaterfallNow in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Faux Rock Panel Faux Rock Panel waterfallnow waterfallnow

How to measure aquarium in order to get 3d aquarium background – short video tutorial

NEW 3D BACKGROUND REVIEW – YOUR FEEDBACK NEEDED

Aquarium Decoration Tutorial: How to Make Custom Foam 3D Aquarium Backgrounds

DYI – 3D aquarium coral reef background (using fiberglass)

How To Make Imitation Rock

WaterfallNow will show you the gist of how we create imitation or mock rocks. These are the rocks that we use to create our water features. There are different materials we use for different applications to achieve different textures. We also employ different materials to get a different weight, sound of water, and natural color over time through the growth of moss. There are many people searching for ways to make homemade imitation rocks. The do it yourself (DIY) videos online are teaching methods that will crack, chip, and break easily. WaterfallNow has tried virtually every method and can say that the method we employ has been tested thoroughly and is employed by all the biggest companies in the world. Why make small boulders when you can make mountains?

Click here to view how most do-it-yourselfers are doing it

This is what people think of when they hear the words faux rock or imitation rock. Not very appealing.

Styrofoam is nice indoors but doesn’t last outdoors.

Chips, leaks, and cracks are a pain to deal with

Video on how imitation rock panels are used to make a small fountain. Made using a lighter panel for this application.

Get a gist of how to make realistic imitation rock panels here using GFRC/fiberglass. These artificial/faux rocks look better than the real thing in some cases. In many cases they can even cost less than the real thing.

How to make imitation rock

How to make imitation rock with WaterfallNow. GFRC/fiberglass

Pondless Waterfalls: Artificial Rock Features

Pondless waterfalls

These are a fascinating addition to most yards that address the problems with pond waterfalls. Not everyone has the natural landscape and slopes to work with in creating a regular waterfall. Pondless waterfalls on the other hand can be built anywhere. Moreover, the lack of a pond means less maintenance. Less to clean, no requirements to leave it running all the time, safe for children, and more uptime. Premade pond kits are available at most stores. Alternatively you can do a local search for waterfalls, water features or landscaping companies.

When constructing a pondless waterfall the two major things to consider are the size of the water reservoir and the dimensions of the cascading waterfall. Once those two things are determined the rest is history. A method WaterfallNow recommends for getting ideas is to do a search online. WaterfallNow is in the process of creating ready to order waterfalls for the garden. Those that have a project requiring on-site custom work can request much larger features.

How Do Pondless Waterfalls Work?

Pondless waterfalls require water but not the traditional pond. By now most people know how the evaporation process works in nature. A pondless waterfall works in a similar way. One way to picture the process is to imagine a giant hose that sucks water up from the earth up to the rain clouds which  sends rain back to the earth and gets sucked up again – repeat. The same water that comes down the waterfall and into the water reservoir gets sent back up to the top of the waterfall through a hose which then sends the water back down.

Pondless Waterfall

WaterfallNow’s rocks are hollow making them portable. First the hole is dug, second the pond liners (EPDM) are added, and third the rock and plumbing are installed. Additional steps depend on the level of customization depending on the lighting or plants used.  Most of the work is in the preparation of our rocks.

Pondless Waterfall Artificial RockJust add plants

The Benefits Of WaterfallNow’s Pondless Waterfalls Include:

  • Attractive year after year: Only light cleaning to the water reservoir is needed once every few months.
  • Less that can go wrong: If there is a problem with one of the parts repairs or replacements are within reach.
  • Not a permanent feature: Can relocate, take down, move, sell, use as a cover, or be upgraded to something larger.
  • The beauty of a large water feature in even a small space: Scalable both vertically and horizontally.
  • Not prone to freeze-thaw action or hidden leaks within the rock.
  • No forming prep-work.
  • Safe for small children: No fear of drowning in a pond.
  • Less green bacterial mess: Higher upfront cost than other applications without the ongoing maintenance fees.
  • Only need to turn on when in use: Cost on average $3-6 per month when used a few hours per day.

Many landscape designers use natural rocks to create cascading streams. This is the method that most people are familiar with and one that WaterfallNow no longer employs. In this situation it is most common for the landscape artist to work with the land as opposed to against the land. In some cases they re-create the land itself by adding large boulders or more dirt. This is done to achieve the desired height (dimensions) for the water feature. The benefit of pondless waterfalls for those that simply want a nice sized realistic miniature waterfall in their yard is that the land does not dictate what you can or cannot have.

Making The Pond

As always, contact BC ONE CALL before you dig to avoid hitting any plumbing).

WaterfallNow creates the water reservoir for indoor applications as well as for outdoor applications. All that is required is very light digging. WaterfallNow’s pondless waterfalls usually go only 3 feet deep for the larger projects and less for smaller ones.

Creating the pond sounds easy and often gets overlooked. Doing it right plays a role in ensuring that the water level will not decrease on a daily basis. This means you don’t have to constantly fill the pondless waterfall with more water on a daily basis. As long as the water that goes up falls back onto the pond liner and into the water reservoir you won’t risk damaging the water pump. Water pumps last many years when properly maintained. A water pump that is not fully submerged in the water will not operate as long as it could due to the damage caused on the motor.

Dig the hole, remove sharp objects and rocks, lay down a few layers of pre-liner (carpet/tarp) and the pond liner (EPDM) on top. These are the essentials.

Pondless Waterfall Pond Liner

Making The Artificial Rock Features

WaterfallNow employs a fibreglass/natural stone combination to create rock faces that look like the ones found in nature. These pieces are assembled either on location for custom work or premade (ready to ship). There is relatively low demand for artificial rock made using fibreglass as the majority of the population is unaware that such a thing exists. Most people are however familiar with styrofoam which isn’t as durable or concrete which is prone to cracking.

Making artificial rock waterfall

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