Using Stainless steel in pond design

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I have a contemporary koi pond built nearly 4 yrs ago by converting a stucco covered concrete planter box. Over the years, with the splashes of water onto the top of the stucco, the stucco has begun to degrade and come off. Additionally, the minerals in the hard water are staining the front of the pond as well. I talked with contractors who told me that with the constant water exposure, there is really not much that can be done to prevent stucco degradation and staining of the wall from happening if I were to resurface the wall with new stucco. I am considering placing a stainless steel sleeve to fit over the interior lip of the pond, then snugly fitting over the top horizontal surface, and then making another 90 degree bend to fit snugly over the front (vertical wall surface). The two stainless steel fabricators I spoke with have told me that this idea is doable, and that it should work ok. They have recommended either 316 grade alloy as being a good choice, or powder coated stainless steel. I would have a "random swirl" pattern on the stainless steel like you sometimes see in elevators so it does not look so industrial. Additionally, they thought 14 gauge stainless steel would be a good choice to prevent denting in this exterior yard environment. Anyone with any experience, input on this idea? Thanks in advance. I have included photos showing the stucco damage, hard water staining, and using manila folders a crude example of how the stainless steel sleeve would fit over the front wall.
 

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Meyer Jordan

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Yes, stainless steel is safe for use in a pond. It may not remain 'stainless' however. Any part of this coping that extends below the water's surface will eventually discolor.
I would think that just repairing the existing stucco and then sealing it with a clear matte marine epoxy or urethane will retain the original aesthetics.
 

morewater

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I've used stainless steel many times, most often in waterfall weirs for wall-mounted falls.

Even stainless steel will "discolor" over time, but is easily cleaned with a stiff brush.

I'd think that there's a waterproofing product that can be placed over your stucco, or even a cement-board "sleeve" that can be covered in faux-stone or another applique that will complement your pond.

"True" stainless steel can be expensive and doesn't suit all garden styles.
 

peter hillman

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I've been told powder coating won't adhere properly to stainless. You're water feature is beautiful and worth spending some money to keep it so. If I had the dough I'd look at 'durastone'. They make epoxy pebbled walk/drive ways of all colors.
http://durastonenv.com/
 
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Just as an update, I have accepted a quote from a local fabricator. He recommended 316 grade (more corrosion-resistant) 14 gauge (unlikely to dent) stainless steel with clear powder coating. He stated that this would be easiest to keep clean, and thought that it will be durable. His company has done multiple outdoor water features with stainless steel. Additionally since each arm of the pond are about 15 feet, two sections will have to be welded and then sanded smooth for each arm of the pond, and I elected to have a random swirl added to the surface to try to reduce the industrial look of so much stainless. Anyway I will update when completed and post some pics. Thanks for all the input! Thankfully my pond is doing fine as the temperatures drop in Las Vegas.
 
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Photos of the stainless steel wall cap to hide/prevent additional stucco degradation. These photos were actually taken before the stainless steel was clear coated. The clear coat actually has a bit of a yellowish tint, but overall I think it looks ok and prevents the stucco staining/damage.
 

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My neighbor just took out her "cottage style" pond and put in a formal, rectangular concrete pond. She had terracing done with her landscaping and the walls are welded steel. Somehow they were intentionally treated with an acid-type substance so they would get a rusty patina. They made the waterfall come out of a box made of the same metal. All that to say -- I was skeptical a bit, because the contemporary look isn't really my style -- but it is SO COOL! It really looks great! I'm sure yours will be fantastic!
 
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Just realized you had pictures of the steel. WOW! It looks wonderful!
 
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Here are better photos of the completed installed stainless steel wall cap. Also included photo of cross section view of stainless with a nickel as comparison. I am curious to see how the powder coated stainless holds up to the constant water splash on the top of the wall.
 

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