Making a Bold Statement

Protecting A Concrete Garden Statue From Mildew

If you've just bought a bunch of concrete statues and ornaments for your home's garden, take the time now to protect them from mildew. Concrete looks very solid and hard, but it's actually quite porous. The surface of a concrete object is also filled with little pockmarks and hollows that allow moisture to sit for a long time, which is a perfect environment for mildew if the concrete is in the shade. Rather than waiting to see whether your concrete statues develop mildew, take two steps now -- three, if it's already too late and your new statues have spots -- to protect them in the first place.

Get Rid of Mildew

If the statues are already showing signs of mildew, you need to act fast. The mildew won't crack the concrete, but it will make the statues look and smell terrible. Mix up a bleach-water solution with 1 cup bleach for every 2 gallons of water, per Reader's Digest. Apply the solution to the concrete and the scrub away at the mildew. When the mildew is gone, rinse the concrete with clean water.

Clean the Statue in General

Whether you've just cleaned off mildew, or whether the statue is brand new and not yet affected by mildew, you have to give it a good general cleaning all over. Put a few drops of mild dish detergent in warm water and clean the statue all over, using a soft toothbrush in areas with a lot of detail. Rinse the statue with clean water. It will dry best in the sun, so try to time the cleaning for a day when no rain is forecast for a while.

Seal the Statue

Just as sealing helps protect a concrete walkway, using a water-repelling sealant on the statue will help keep that mildew off the concrete surface. Be sure the statue is completely dry before sealing, and again, apply the sealant when the weather forecast is for dry days ahead. If the weather isn't cooperating, keep the statue inside or at least covered up in a water-tight tarp.

Two Other Steps You Can Take

After you've gotten the statue sealed, use these two strategies to help keep it in good shape. Try to place the statue in the sun. While the sealant will help protect the statue, if the layer of sealant is breached -- say, a hailstone hits the statue and creates a pockmark -- then mildew can form. Keeping the statue in the sun reduces the chances that mildew will get a chance to grow.

For larger statues that rest on the ground, place the statue on a hard surface, like a little base or platform. Keeping the statue separate from moist soil can protect the bottom portion from developing mildew, too.

If you want to find materials for that base or platform, or you have other questions about protecting concrete statues, talk to concrete companies (like Unit Step Company) and garden centers to see what they use.