Decorative Concrete Systems and Options
Stamped concrete can replicate stone, tile, brick, and even wood. It is well suited for most flooring applications, most commonly found on patios, driveways, and pools. Contractors use specially designed tools to imprint these textures in fresh concrete. This is what most people think of when they think about decorative concrete.
Staining concrete can create truly unique effects and where your contractor’s artistic side is let loose. There are two primary types of stain. Acid stains, sometimes called reactive stains, are enjoyed by many due to their unique mottled or marbled appearance and permanence. Water based stains are more versatile and easier to use. Ultimately, the type of stain used is determined by what your contractor prefers and is most comfortable using.
This is one of the oldest and most prolific types of decorative concrete for a good reason. Exposed aggregate is a simple, understated, and utilitarian concrete treatment where the upper layers of cement are removed to expose the aggregate. Generally, decorative aggregates, such as river rock or crushed granite are used. Many different exposure levels, aggregate choices, and coloring options exist for exposed aggregate concrete.
There’s numerous ways to color new and existing concrete – each with its own benefits, limitations, and best applications. For new concrete placements, it is most likely your contractor will rely on integral color or color hardener. Existing concrete is colored using other products that will be discussed in the Concrete Restoration section. Concrete colors can be used with other decorative treatments and products or completely standalone depending on the desired appearance.
Stenciled concrete is a suitable alternative to stamped concrete, for both new and existing placements. Contractors use premade or custom stencils and patterns to apply materials, visually simulating stone, brick, or tile. Because it is flatter, stenciled concrete is often preferable to stamped concrete when accessibility for, walkers, wheelchairs, or wheeled carts is a priority.
Overlays and Resurfacing
Sometimes concrete gets damages or worn. Other times, it just needs a new look. In either case, an overlay or micro-topping might just be the solution. These are cementitious products that functionally create a new surface on the concrete. The new surface can be stamped, stenciled, textured, stained, or left plain - all while retaining the strength of the original concrete. The only limit is your imagination.
Refreshing concrete doesn’t need to be difficult or costly. There’s two primary ways to restore concrete – by resurfacing or recoloring. These cementitious or polymer-based coatings are used to recolor existing concrete or cover blemishes and discoloration. Higher build overlays and microtoppings can resurface the concrete, hiding more advanced scarring, damage, and evidence of repair work. By repairing concrete, you save time, money, and hassle while reducing waste.
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