Decorative concrete finishes are a great way to personalize your space while providing a durable, aesthetically pleasing product. Long gone are the days of plain, gray concrete; today's new trend for patios, driveways, floors, backyard landscapes and more include concrete design. Dressing up your concrete area doesn't neccessarily have to break the bank either, it can be as simple or elaborate as you would like. Today's advancements in concrete stains and dyes, tools, patterns, and textures have continued to make concrete the most versatile, durable construction product in the world. The following information will provide you a brief overview of the endless decorative options:
- Concrete overlays are a great way to cover up exsisting slab imperfections, giving your surface a face-lift without having to remove and replace what already exists. Today's polymer modified overlays allow you options to achieve your desired look with the long-term durability and wear resistance. Overlays can be applied as thin as a credit-card to a few inches thick depending on the rehabilitation needed. It is important to note that your underlying concrete needs to be in sound condition for an overlay to be used.
- Concrete polishing can be done on new or old concrete flooring. It provides a high-gloss surface that never has to be waxed. Polishing has quickly become popular in the commercial building world due to its inherent durability and low maintenance. It is a multi-step process that allows you to choose your level of sheen, therefore allowing it to be used in multiple areas depending on aesthetic requirements.
- Stained concrete is a popular option when it comes to enhancing your concrete surface. Acid stains chemically react with the in-place concrete to create earth tone colors on the surface. Stains become a permanent part of the concrete and the color produced will vary depending on the color and condition of the surface of the concrete. The downside to acid stains is the limited amount of colors to choose from. If you would like a wider range of colors, then water-based stains and concrete dyes might be a better option. Water-based stains are similar to acid stain with the exception that they bond with the concrete surface instead of causing a chemical reaction. Concrete dyes come in a variety of colors and new technology is helping to enhance their use outdoors. Mainly used in interiors because of fading sue to UV rays, manufacturers are finding ways to increase the penetration of concrete dye.
- Stamped concrete is a common application for driveways, patios, walkways, and many surfaces. It is a great way to get the natural look of brick, slate, flagstone, coblestone and other patterns, with the durability of concrete and lower maintenance. To install, a contractor will press a mold in the plastic (wet) concrete to stamp the surface leaving the texture and/or pattern behind.