Adding a water fountain to a backyard, garden or even inside the home adds a beautiful attractive feature to the space. Water fountains come in a variety of materials including stone or concrete along with resins and plastics. Homeowners can choose between solar powered fountains or electrically run water fountains. Proper care and maintenance help to make the water fountain last for a long time, but they can still develop small cracks and tiny pinhole leaks due to erosion and exposure to constantly changing weather conditions. While plastic and resin water fountains offer nice details and designs, exposure to the rays of the sun can weaken the material and make it brittle. Once the plastic becomes brittle it is more prone to cracking. Stone and concrete fountains are much heavier and oftentimes more expensive, but offer a higher degree of durability. Although they are more durable they can still crack or crumble without the right type of care. One of the biggest reasons for stone or concrete fountain failure is from water left in the fountain when the outdoor temperature drops below freezing. As the water turns to ice, it expands, puts excess pressure on the fountain and causes it to crack.

Leaving the fountain cracked with water trickling out not only looks bad, but can ruin the fountain. The longer the crack or pinhole leak remains, the wider or larger it will become, making repairs more difficult than if it was repaired as soon as the leak was noticed. Do it yourself type homeowners can make repairs to their fountains and restore them. Repair methods differ based on the type of material from which the water fountain is made.

Preparing to Fix a Leaky Water Fountain

Always disconnect the electric power from the fountain either by removing the plug from the receptacle or shutting the breaker at the main box. Do not attempt to work on a water fountain that is run by electric because water and electric do not mix. You can get a severe electric shock or even die.

Examine the fountain hoses and the connections between the hoses and the fountain and pump. Many times the hoses crack or the connections are not tight and cause the leaks to occur. If you find a leaking hose, remove the hose, bring it to the store, match the size exactly and put the new hose on.

Drain the all of the water from all parts of the fountain. Use an old towel or thick absorbent rag to get rid of any remaining water.

Add water to a bucket along with a generous squirt of dish soap. Dip a scrub brush into the soapy water and scrub the inside and outside of the fountain to remove all dirt, debris and algae, which will expose any hidden cracks, holes or imperfections.

Thoroughly wash off the soap.

Examine the points at which the sections of the fountain are joined because they are the most likely to crack and leak.

Use a clean rag to dry the water fountain.

Repairing a Concrete or Stone Water Fountain

Brush the cracks, holes or other damage with a stiff wire brush to loosen and remove crumbling weak bits of the concrete or stone.

Vacuum the debris off the surface of the water fountain with a shop vacuum.

Mix equal amounts of two part epoxy repair putty on a disposable plastic plate or clean piece of scrap wood.

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Dip a thin, flexible putty knife into lacquer thinner to prevent the epoxy putty from sticking to the knife’s blade.

Scoop up the epoxy repair putty with the putty knife.

Press the repair putty deeply into the crack or hole. Add a second layer of repair putty over the initial repair, straddling the crack or hole by 1 inch on each side. Feather the edges of the repair putty as you move away from the damage. Feathering means to make the application thinner and thinner.

Let the patch dry for two to four hours.

Apply a coat of masonry primer and two coats of masonry paint that matches the fountain color to completely disguise the repair.

Repairing a Resin or Plastic Fountain

Load a caulking gun with a tube of exterior grade, silicone sealer that is paintable.

Lay a bead of the silicone sealer over the hole or crack to cover it.

Use a flexible putty knife to force the silicone sealer into the gap or hole.

Run a second bead of sealer over the crack or hole.

Spread the sealer equally over the damage away from the crack or hole. Press the sealer firmly over the cracks and gaps and on the undamaged parts to create a watertight seal. Feather the edges to create a seamless repair.

Allow the sealer to dry for four to six hours. Feel the patch with your fingers. If the sealer feels sticky, let it dry for another hour or two.

Match an exterior grade latex paint to the base color of the fountain.

Brush a thin layer of paint over the sealer and let it dry for two to three hours.

Apply a second coat of exterior grade latex paint over the first and let it dry for two to three hours.

If the water fountain has more than one shade of color, match another paint color to another shade of the fountain. Dip a small natural sea sponge into the second color and lightly dab the paint over the repainted repair. If the patch is too noticeable for your liking, find a third color and sponge it on to disguise the repair.

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Concrete, Stone, Plastic or Resin Water Fountain Tips

Always drain any water out of the water fountain before the weather changes. Never allow water to stand in the fountain when the air temperatures are likely to drop below freezing.

Lightweight or small water fountains – drain the fountain and move it to a garage or shed during cold months.

Large or heavy water fountains – Drain the water from the fountain and place a tarp over it that extends at least 12 inches on to the ground. Secure the tarp with rope and place heavy rocks on the section of the tarp that lies on the ground.


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