Oops! You failed to bring the concrete birdbath into the garage for winter storage, and the freezing and thawing weather has resulted in a cracked and leaky bowl that won’t hold water.
Now what? You hate to throw the whole thing away and start all over by purchasing another birdbath, and it doesn’t really look that bad, anyway, just a few visible cracks in the bowl that allow the water to seep out. There must be some way to repair the damage and salvage one of your favorite garden structures.
There is! And it’s not all that difficult or expensive a procedure to complete. Basically, what you want to do is to re-seal the interior surface (top) of the birdbath bowl with some sort of material that won’t allow the water to escape. So, just what should we use to repair this great little concrete birdbath? I’ve got an idea; how about more concrete!? That’s right; all we really need is a nice thin coating of fresh moist concrete to fill the cracks and seal the surface.
Several products are available at your local home improvement store or hardware store that will do the job. Quikrete® and Sakrete® are brand names of products made by companies that manufacture and sell a variety of cement, concrete, and adhesive products.
And, in the case of our damaged birdbath, we’ll actually be repairing it with a thin coating of cement rather than concrete. Concrete is generally assumed to be a mixture of cement, sand, and small gravels that help strengthen the hardened product. Since our coating will be quite thin, we don’t need the gravels, so we’ll use a mixture of dry cement and sand to which we’ll add just enough water to create a goopy paste-like consistency.
Be sure the surface you are planning to coat is clean and free of dirt, rotted leaves and sticks (after all, you did leave the birdbath outside all winter!), and free of any loose and broken pieces of old concrete. Wash the surface and brush off all the debris with an old paintbrush or scrub brush. This should leave a slightly moist, but not wet, surface for the new wet cement coating to adhere to.
Scoop your well-mixed cement goop onto the surface of the birdbath, a small amount at a time, using a garden trowel or a small cement trowel. Use the tools to spread the mixture, making sure the entire surface is well coated (even the areas that show no obvious cracks). Pay particular attention to the places where cracks and breaks do show and be sure these areas are especially well coated and that the mixture seals down into the cracks.
After the top of the bowl has been well coated, use a wetted paintbrush to even out the entire cement surface, rubbing in a circular motion and extending over the outside edges of the birdbath. This seals the whole thing nicely and gives it a slightly abrasive, but evenly finished appearance.
It won’t take long for the newly added cement to dry since it’s such a thin coating anyway, so the newly refurbished birdbath can be pressed back into duty pretty quickly. The birds will love you! You might enjoy reading: Doves In The Flowerpot
Remember to keep your birdbath filled with clean water, and to periodically wash it out with the force of the garden hose to remove leaves, sticks, bird feathers, and other debris. And most importantly, please remember to bring this most functional of garden ornaments into the garage or storage shed before the freezing, concrete-cracking, weather of winter strikes again!