Concrete is not only used to build houses and other structures, innovations in the construction industry had allowed us to appreciate the beauty of decorative concretes. Decorative concretes are made by adding other materials while curing the concrete or after it has dried up. There are different types of decorative concretes you can choose from. In this article, you will find the different materials used in decorating concretes and how they are used.
- Stamped concrete
Stamped concrete can resemble the color, texture and image of natural products like shells, fossils, wood, cobblestone, brick and slate at a lower cost. This is done by pressing molds to the concrete while it is still under the process of curing. Colors can also be added with the use of color hardeners, liquid releases and acid stains. All of these add sophistication to the design of the concrete.
This kind of decorative concrete is usually employed in driveways, patios, parking lots and sometimes even inside the home. However, colors may fade as time goes by which makes the concrete look old and patchy. Contractors have many ways to restore or to renovate this in order to make your floors look good again.
- Concrete dyes
Concrete dyes can be used to add life and beauty in walls, floors, countertops and other residential or commercial concrete. The first concrete dyes that were used are made of ink that needed to be diluted with alcohol, because of this; colors slowly fade as they get exposed to sunlight and rain. Nowadays, there are different solvents used to dilute dyes in order to address instability issues and to make the dye penetrate better on the concrete. Some of these solvents are lacquers and acetone.
- Acid staining
This is a decorative concrete technique which uses chemical reaction in order to come up with beautiful and natural earth tones. This is done by mixing water, mineral salts, muriatic acid with the concrete which also contains minerals, usually lime. The mixture is place on the concrete for an hour to 4 hours, after which, it is scrubbed and treated with a basic solution of water and baking soda in order to remove the excess acid and to neutralize the pH of the concrete.
- Water based staining
Water based staining is almost the same with acid staining. It will also allow the home owner to achieve a natural-looking concrete. The only difference is in acid staining, chemical reaction is involved to alter the chemical properties of the concrete, while in water based staining; the concrete is coated with desired color. Some of the coatings used are epoxy, acrylic and other polymer based compounds.
Overlaying was discovered in 1960’s by a group of chemical engineers when they researched about acrylic paint resins as a tool to modify cements and sand mixes. They came up with thin cement which can be used as a topping material for concretes. It was then used to cover and to restore worn out surfaces of concretes. Acrylic resin overlays provided UV protection to the concrete, however, they are not regarded as long term solutions for damaged surfaces because they are not water resistant and their adherence to the concrete cannot last for a long time.